"I've got plenty to be thankful for." - Irving Berlin
I have a tendency to remember the good over the bad, which makes it easier to look back and wonder what I could have done differently or how I would do things if I were still there in that moment. I know it sounds strange. How could remembering the good bring up negative thoughts? I guess it makes it easier for me to place myself into my past without feelings of bitterness to block the way. Instead, I become bitter toward myself. “What did I do wrong? How can I prove to them that I was worthwhile?”
Since I moved to New England, everyone has seen the photos from my hikes and commented, “You look so happy.” And I am happy… in those moments. And yes, I am growing and learning in new ways. But… whenever things seem to be going great, we as humans expect that the good won’t last forever. “God continues to bless me. Uh oh. That means it’s time to look out for bad news around the corner.” And sure enough, there it is. Of course, there can be positive ways to look at the bad news. Maybe it frees up my schedule or frees me of a burden. But no matter how hard we work, our natural tendency is to doubt ourselves. I work hard. I try to go the extra mile and put in additional hours without pay when needed. But I make mistakes, and it’s so easy to think that I am the only one.
I am very fortunate to work in an environment where communication is key and employees are greatly valued. My supervisor knows how to talk to me about my mistakes in a gentle way, and she knows how to praise me when I need it. But again, human nature doubts itself… at least in my case. And I’m not just being humble.
It is very difficult to place your security in God. We’re supposed to remember that God is in control and has a plan and to forget our anxieties and not worry about tomorrow. This morning, my father asked me if I ever wonder if I don’t have enough faith or ever come to a realization that I have very little faith and am not acting or believing as I should. The answer is a resounding YES!
The question reminds me of Jesus’ statement that “blessed” is the man who believes without seeing. And then there’s the man who spoke to Jesus, “Help me with my unbelief.” As an intellectual believer who has difficulty praying out loud and connecting emotionally during worship, I have to believe that God will honor my very small, puny, tiny faith. I have to believe that Jesus does intercede for me and that God is good. And that’s why I choose to submit to Him. Because He is good. He has blessed me. Skip over the bad news and consider the good that came before. I have a great job that I love! I managed to move across the country, find a place to live and become an independent adult. I’ve found two very good churches full of loving people who have supported me as I’ve found my balance. My employer just paid my way to visit California for the weekend! A friend from church paid for my flight home for Christmas, which means I’ll see my parents again in less than a month!
Talk about a reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving!
Okay. I think this blog post has turned into one giant pep talk for myself. We’ll see if it works. As I write this on the plane back to Massachusetts, I feel conflicting emotions. I feel a sense that I can move forward without looking back at the bad too much. I feel disheveled, as I was just getting used to being in California again. I tend to find a place and get comfortable there. I didn’t necessarily feel like taking a six hour flight to California at the last minute this week, but now that I’m returning to my new home, I don’t feel like going back to Massachusetts either. The hours and minutes are ticking by until I return to work and spend a relaxing Thanksgiving alone (update: I had a very productive, positive first day back at work). And again, I can’t believe just how incredibly blessed I have been or the past six months. I think I can begin to feel the effects of this pep talk. Maybe life really does seem easier when you place your trust in God.