“Thank God for what you have. Trust God for what you need.”
(This post is a part of my “B” series which I’ll deliver once a month! Continue to B Kind. B Silly. B Inspired. B Imperfect.)
I’ll keep it real with y’all as I always try to do. I have a problem with being grateful for what I have because I always think ahead of what else I want. (Notice how many times I used the word “I” in that last sentence?) I can be very self-centered, and, even when I am blessed with my needs and wants, I want more. We all get that way from time to time, right?
I believe that we should have goals that we want to achieve and consistently pray and work to make them happen. So often though, I’m so focused on what may lie ahead for me that I don’t take enough time to see what’s staring me right in front of my face. I want a newer, nicer car, but don’t take the time to show gratitude for the car that gets me from A to B with no problems. I cried and whined about my former job but failed to thank God regularly for the fact that it allowed me to pay my rent and bills.
The problem isn’t in having goals. It’s fine to want a new car or a new job. I don’t think that any of us should be complacent or settle for less than what we can be or do. The problem is getting so wrapped up in those goals that you forget to be content and grateful for what you already have. We lack perspective. Our current blessings get pushed to the back of our minds. We always want more instead of seeing that what we have right now is still something to be happy about as we work towards a new level. We also fail to see that there truly are other people that would LOVE to have what we have.
Another thing that really throws us off with our gratitude is comparing ourselves to other people. Everything from our finances to relationships to other material stuff. Case in point, I prayed, saved, and worked for YEARS to be able to move out completely on my own. No family, no roommate. Just me, myself, and I. That dream came to pass last year, thank God. While I was so excited and happy to have reached that big-time goal, the novelty wore off. I started looking at homes that others I know had or had just purchased, and thought, “Man, I want that. I need to get that by my 30s.” It was a goal, but one I became a little obsessed with. Soon, my cute little apartment that I loved and JUST GOT became an afterthought.
After more self-reflection, I realized that, for one thing, my behind is nowhere near ready for the responsibilities of a house. Two, I just wanted a house at that moment because it looks nice and others had it. Later on down the road, I want a house for my future family. For right now, I’m comfortable and happy with my apartment where, if anything breaks, I can call our maintenance folks to help me without adding on extra money. I had to learn to maintain a good perspective on my life, and not worry about what others have going on. That will trip you up.
It’s okay to work for better things, and they will come, trust me. Keep in mind, though, that your job, your apartment, etc. are still things to be grateful for. Even if you’re still getting established and live at home, at least you have a place to lay your head (and save money!). Even if your job underpays and overworks, be grateful for the money coming in and use it wisely. Don’t be bitter about what you have, but, instead, consider the good they bring to your life. How do they help you in any given day, or assist in your mission to get ahead? You can work to change them and upgrade your life, but don’t fail to show gratitude for what you already have.