When was the last time you were jealous of someone? For me, it was this morning. I was reading about people who are going to a convention this weekend and I got jealous that they got to go and I didn’t. Eventually, my more mature self took charge and asked this question: “If you could go, would you?” My less mature self thought about that for a few minutes and grudgingly admitted that no, given the opportunity, I wouldn’t go. “But,” she argued (with a bit of a pout), “I’d like to at least have the option.”
A few minutes later, after mulling over this “conversation”, I had to admit that I have a coveting problem. I want what other people have, even if it’s not something I would actually want, given the chance to get it. (Wow! Have fun dissecting that sentence, English teachers!) And what is at the heart of my coveting? Unthankfulness. (Is that a word? Well, it is now…)
Few people have trouble being thankful for the good things in life. But do we really have to be thankful for the things we don’t like quite so much? I’m afraid so. Do a search on the word “thankful” in a concordance and try to find one instance where the Bible says, “Be thankful for everything – except those things you don’t like.” Let me save you some trouble – you won’t find it. There are no qualifications or exemptions to true thankfulness. There are no loopholes, so don’t bother looking.
So what do you do when you find yourself in a less-than-pleasant situation? What do you do when the answer you get to your prayer isn’t the answer you wanted? Well, be thankful. Easier said than done, right? Ok, then let me tell you what I’ve been doing today. All day long, I’ve been asking God to show me something, anything I can be thankful about with regard to a place I am in that I’d rather not be in.
All day – “God please show me something to be thankful for here.” I’m still looking for something, but I’ll be asking the same thing tomorrow, and the next day until something comes to mind. This is having a surprising effect on me. While I’m actively looking for things to be thankful about, I’m noticing the negative things about my situation less and less. Sure, they’re still there and sure, I’m still not happy about them, but they’re having a smaller and smaller impact on me.
I don’t know how I’ll feel about all of this in the morning, but for now, I think I’m taking just one step closer to where God really wants my heart to be. You can take that step too. If you’re stuck somewhere you don’t want to be, ask God to change your heart and to show you how He’s blessing you where you are. I’m pretty sure that’s a request He will honor.
How do you deal with unpleasant situations? What are you thankful for today?