It is early in the month of November and I am already enjoying the Facebook posts of a few friends who are posting what they are thankful for each day of the month. As I was pondering the thoughts of some, it got me thinking about being thankful….and a related topic….people who are thankful for the very things that destroy them.
Yeah….trust me to find the dark cloud, but it is a frustration sometimes when you see people do this little exercise. They’ll say they are thankful for their family, but I see them treat their family in a way that is worse than they would treat a stranger. They demean, or disrespect, or just don’t notice they are there. They aren’t really finding joy in them. Is that really thankful?
They will say they are thankful for a friend in their life that you know is not good for them…. someone who brings them down and does not build them up. Someone who is making their path in life harder instead of easier. Someone pulling them into the direction of pain and destruction instead of things that will make them happy and fulfilled. Someone that is encouraging them towards misplaced passions instead of stoking the positive passions that will inflame their lives with good things.
They are thankful for possessions that pull them out of the real world and away from really interacting with people. The big screen tv, the computer, the cell phone….they can all be amazing tools and life enhancers, or tools of destruction and, well, rudeness and disrespect of others.
They say they are thankful for jobs, education or “stuff”, but these things make them think they are better people than those who have not had the same privileges. They are thankful for pay checks, but when they get them they find they are already spent and simply pay off debts incurred because they are trying to live above their means…a lie, really….and debts continue to incur because they refuse to live a lifestyle they can actually afford.
They are thankful for good health, but don’t do the work to maintain that good health. They are sedentary, eat stuff that is like putting water in their gas tank, they smoke, they over-medicate on drugs they don’t need, or obliterate their days with alcohol. They are abusers of themselves.
They say they are thankful for God, but they haven’t had a direct or truthful conversation with Him for a long time, or sat down quietly to simply listen to what He is telling them. They pray for others, but not for themselves… either because they refuse to love themselves and see the image of God when they look in the mirror, or because they esteem themselves too much and think they can handle everything on their own.
They are thankful for the activities they are involved in, but are over-committed, under-committed, and/or doing things that don’t match the priorities of their life. Doing great things, but the wrong things….avoiding what they actually should be doing. Or they are living their lives aimlessly and wasting their days and investing all of their time in doing stupid things…but yet they say they are thankful for life.
I see myself here. We need to periodically be at a place where we thoughtfully take an inventory. I need to take stock and look around me and see that I am living a balanced and meaningful life. A place where I appreciate the world around me. A place where I am appreciated and respected and loved. A place where I don’t settle for mediocrity or the ho-hum.
A thankfulness exercise is a great place to start, but being thankful has to be more than words that sound good and pious and spiritual and are simply what we think people want to hear. Am I thankful for the right things and does my life reflect that? Am I living the life designed for me? If not, what do I do to change that? There is no better time than now to decide….and to be thankful for yet another day that gives us the opportunity to do that!