Gaining Perspective to Grow Thankfulness
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I’ve had one of those weeks. You know, the tearing-my-hair-out, can’t-get-everything-done, kids are fighting, everything is going wrong kind of week. I’ve been stressed (that’s probably an understatement), and…dare I confess…pretty whiny.
It seems like when I’m at my whiniest God likes to make me aware of myself, and particularly aware of my blessings.
Earlier this week, I was having what I was thinking was the worst day ever with the kids. They were fighting non-stop, the house was a mess, I was behind on work and trying to juggle two big projects at once and feeling like I was failing miserably at everything.
My attitude was BAD, and I started to feel like I “deserved” some time all to myself, so I put a movie on for the kids (breaking our own house rules, because we usually only watch TV on weekends!) and started scrolling through Facebook.
I saw that one of my friends had posted a picture of a beautiful little boy (not one of hers) on Facebook, with the tagline, “Please pray.” I opened it up, and read the devastating account of a sweet little guy, five years old, at home battling through the last days of terminal cancer. My eyes welled with tears reading his incredibly brave Mama’s account of finding out just a few months before that her son had a tumor, and that they would be unable to save him.
I felt like I’d received a wake up call. I hate taking stories like that and turning them into stories about me, because I don’t want to take anything away from those parents facing unimaginable tragedies. These people are suffering in unspeakable ways. But reading their story immediately, deeply convicted me – that woman would give anything to have a day like the one I’ve had. She would gladly trade in bedpans and hospice care for squabbling and messes. Very bluntly, I realized that I have been SO UNGRATEFUL. My bad attitude, my selfishness, my whininess – it was all because I had lost the perspective of being thankful for my children, thankful for my home, and thankful for everything I am blessed with.
Just a few days later, I encountered a video (linked below), that had me bawling. It shares the beautiful story of a young woman who chose to marry her boyfriend after he had been in a life-altering car accident that caused permanent brain damage. The video included a clip of their wedding, in which John Piper was quoted:
“Marriage is not mainly about prospering economically; it is mainly about displaying the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church. Knowing Christ is more important than making a living. Treasuring Christ is more important than bearing children. Being united to Christ by faith is a greater source of material success than perfect sex and double-income prosperity. So it is with marriage. It is a momentary gift. It may last a lifetime, or it may be snatched away on the honeymoon. Either way, it is short. It may have many bright days, or it may be covered with clouds. If we make secondary things primary, we will be embittered at the sorrows we must face. But if we set our face to make of marriage mainly what God designed it to be, no sorrows and no calamities can stand in our way. Every one of them will be, not an obstacle to success, but a way to succeed. The beauty of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church shines brightest when nothing but Christ can sustain it.”
So powerful, right? I’ll be honest, I watched the video and was immediately thinking about my elementary-school-aged daughters in the same situation someday. I thought that surely I would warn them against taking on a “marriage” of that nature (yes, I thought “marriage” in quotation marks), and choosing a life of difficulty and servitude over a life of happiness and partnership.
That was when the conviction hit me hardest. What was I thinking? Would I really advise young women to take the easier road, which would have no guarantees on being easier after all? Why not encourage obedience, faithfulness, purity, and love instead? Why not encourage servitude? Yes, it would be harder. Yes, the reward may not be received until Heaven. But where are we investing our treasure, anyway?
When we get married, we have an expectation of equality. 50/50, straight down the middle. I expected my husband to contribute to half of the chores, carry half of our emotional burdens, do at least half of the parenting, and so on.
I learned a very hard lesson some time ago that I need to stop caring about my husband's portion and worry about my own! I am accountable to God, my husband, and my family for my 100%, not 50%, no matter how much I feel like my husband is putting in. Yet, even knowing that, how many times have I mentally berated my husband for any number of things? Expressed my disgruntled ungratefulness? Punished him – even just in my own mind- for past transgressions?
What if, like the beautiful story in the video, my husband was truly incapable of shouldering burdens with me? Would I be called to love him less? Serve him less? Be less thankful for him? It is incredibly important to maintain an eternal perspective, not just a temporary, earthly one.
Here is the video that offered me a fresh perspective on marriage:
[vimeo 88485530 w=500 h=281]
This week I realized that the majority of my frustrations, impatience, and discontent are born from a lack of thankfulness.
It is always wise to be careful of comparison, because as the expression goes, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” But sometimes, I think it’s good to compare. It’s good to realize that we all have so much to be thankful for, and we all need to gain perspective on what we have, and what we could lose. It’s good for me to realize that on my worst day, there are women out there who would trade situations with me in a heartbeat.
I just had to share this today because it was heavy on my heart. This week, I’ve seen that I’ve gotten so many things so very wrong…my priorities, but most importantly, my perspective. I’m thankful that God is changing my heart, and opening my eyes…and allowing me to share with you. 🙂 If you made it all the way to the bottom of this, thanks for reading!
Linked up at The Modest Mom Blog
Thank you for the refreshed perspective! I too have had “one of those weeks” complete with bad attitude and tears. I truly needed to be reminded to count my rainbows. Be blessed another beautiful day!
Thanks for your comment, Christianne! I’m glad these stories encouraged someone else, too!