My Reality Check in Being Thankful

So often I realize that I live either looking ahead or looking behind. I  look ahead to when I just ‘get through this one thing” or “when this is over, then I can relax and enjoy.”  If I’m not looking ahead, then I tend to be looking behind to “the way things were” and wishing I had appreciated what I had THEN {even though, back then I was looking ahead and wishing and hoping for more.}  This looking ahead and looking behind  keeps me from just stopping, taking a deep breath, and saying to God,  “Thank you. Just, thank you for ALL of the good in my life  right now”  because no matter what has ever gone on in my life, whatever troubles I have been through, whatever I have thought I have been waiting for,  God has always been there.

And He has always been good.

Last week, I was at the gym, early in the morning all my myself, laying on a weight bench between sets, and I began thinking.  I was thinking {inner monologue ALERT} how much younger I felt just 2 short years ago.  I was thinking how much thinner I was 2 years ago. I was thinking about how I was running miles and miles and miles a week  and how good that felt. Then a started to lament how now, just 2 short years later, I am riddled with aches and pains.  I began to gripe about having had a phantom knee injury since early June and having missed the whole season of running. I began to complain about how I also now have another phantom injury in my elbow that makes it so I can only handle dumbells that are 10-15 pounds lighter than what I like to be lifting.  I was sort of reminding God how well I try to take care of myself, how faithful I am in exercising, and how I, of all people, DO NOT deserve these physical afflictions. Oh, yes. the complaints they were a plenty.

Then, a stark realization hit me; even 2 years ago I was restless, and wishing for more, wishing for better. Even though I look now on that time period with rose colored glasses, I know that at the time I was looking ahead and waiting.  As amazing as I felt, and as healthy as I was, I was still looking ahead to a day when I felt {and looked} even better. My heart was not that of gratitude. If I were to be honest, my heart, as it so often is,  was in a state of “gimme more.”

In the middle of my ‘lamentations’, a movie quote popped into my head,

what if this is as good as it gets?”

Being a christian, I know the ultimate answer to this question is that this is NOT as good as it will EVER get, but I guess I was asking myself {or, God was prompting me to ask myself}  What if this is as good as it gets for me here on earth? What if these aches and pains don’t go away, but continually get worse as I get older?  What if all of the things I think I am waiting for never do come to fruition? What if my kids don’t become who I hope for them to? What if nothing comes out “my way” ?  What if…….what if things here on earth never get any easier but actually grow harder?…….

If this is as good as it gets……Can I be happy? Can I just sink in and be thankful and enjoy where I am? Can I stop, at least for a minute, waiting for more and for better and be thankful? Can I stop looking back and wishing I had appreciated things more?  I realized that the answer could and should be “YES”  because deep down I know that I have already been given more than I could ever have asked for. Deep down I know that I’m rich.

Rich beyond measure.

When I think of  how rich I am, believe me when I say that my heart CANNOT contain it.  God has given me a life that I never could have imagined for myself.  He has given me peace. He has given me purpose.  He has given me a promise that my life is hidden in Him.  He has promised never to leave me or forsake me.  He knows me intimately and deeply and He loves me.  He knew, as He was hanging on the cross, suffering the pain of punishment for MY sins, that one day I would be lying on a weight bench, early in the morning, complaining in my heart about a knee injury……..and He loves me still and He loves me deep.   He is my high priest, my Father, my savior, my protector, and my friend.

And so, as I laid on that weight bench early in the morning between sets, I realized that if this is as good as it ever gets on earth, I can and I will be thankful. I will choose to enjoy right where I am.  I won’t look ahead, and I certainly won’t keep looking behind, but in this moment, in this season,  I will be thankful.

Are you at all like me? Do you find yourself constantly looking ahead and  wishing for more, but maybe missing all that is right in front of you?  Or, have you already purposed to live a life of thankfulness in any and all stages of your life?

XO, Sara

P.S. If you don’t know God in the ways I have mentioned above and would like to know more, my inbox is always open. Feel free to contact me with any questions. Or maybe you just need to talk about some things, or hash some things out………I’m here for you.

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  1. I think you nailed it with our choice, on what to focus on and our choice, to be thankful and happy for the here and now. Not the past and not the future. :O)

  2. I used to look behind all the time but you can’t fix what’s already happened. I felt I had no purpose once my daughters were gone. I did “lose myself” for many years and finally found out who I became, not who I was. You can learn from those times and make your present life better. No one’s life is perfect and God doesn’t want it to be so. Through good and bad times, He molds us and we are a better person. I understand your whole article…seriously. I could have written it! Thanks for doing it for me! He is faithful!

  3. We all have moments like this. We always want more, we always want better. I believe we feel these feelings in order to conquer them. The reward is finding peace with yourself and with God. God never gives us what we can’t handle. Amiright? 😉

  4. A truly wonderful reminder. Contentedness does not mean settling. It is thankfulness and gratitude for what we’ve been given, then looking to the Lord for what He wants to do next in our lives. Thank you, thank you for sharing your heart and your wisdom and reminding us to be truly thankful.

    blessings! Paula

  5. I knew I wanted to take time to read this post. Beautifully written, Sara. I think we are all prone to these thoughts at some time or another. I live with two people who think exactly like this. The “what ifs”…. So much so that my son and I printed out the “What If” poem by Shel Silverstein and he drew pictures on it – these were his gifts last year. This kind of thinking leads to anxiety – or vice verse…but truly being mindful is a good way to help. I truly try to be grateful for every moment. I think I have done this – even more so – now that I have teens. For all of the challenges, the ups and downs, I am grateful for the love of my family and friends.

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