I am so excited to be doing our 2nd annual garden here at the Bailey household. This year, though, there will be no competition on who grows the better garden. Last year’s unanimous decision really told the whole story of who has the green thumb around here. I will say, I was definitely the underdog. I had a zero-for-who knows-how-many success rate on keeping indoor plants alive! So when I came through as the clear and unanimous winner (we had people vote, not knowing whose garden was whose), I received all rights to the garden this year. Boom. But it took work–work which ended up benefiting all of us, including the people who received the fruit of our crop.
Like any garden, it needed tending. It seemed like those weeds would, overnight, just pop up out of nowhere! But I found that if I was consistent, the work was minimal. It was the times we left for the weekend, that upon returning, we had our work cut out for us.
And so it is with our hearts. If we let a critical or entitled spirit creep in, it will no doubt choke out the good fruit within. I know you’ve heard similar analogies, but I was just thinking about how incredibly important it is to be thankful. Thankful in the small things, thankful in the big things.
Being thankful helps us remember the great things about our spouse. It could even save a marriage.
Thankfulness is the inoculation against depression. (Got that from pastor Kris Vallatton.) It brings in rays of light in the smallest (or biggest) of things.
Thankfulness fights against a critical spirit. So we can see the good in anything or anyone rather than being the first to pick something or someone apart. (nothing or no one is flawless)
We may as well get good at being thankful, because it’s the only way we’ll enter heaven’s gates. It’s not about having a ticket or a VIP pass or even the right password, it says in Psalm 100:4 that we’ll enter God’s gates with thanksgiving. Think about that. We’ll proceed through the pearly gates in one way–with gratitude. And gratitude always a smile. so we’ll be singing/speaking about how thankful we are as we enter! There will be nothing to complain about there! So why not practice that attitude here??
I know if I’m not careful, a sense of entitlement can creep into my thinking. I’m not so much critical, but sometimes I catch myself thinking I deserve/earn my way to things because I’ve worked so hard. I want the credit for things. It’s dumb, I know, and that attitude is so poisonous and self-centered. It focuses on “me,” and it chokes out any good fruit, and blinds me to anything happening outside of my walls. I’ve found that when I’m thankful, I look up and outside of me. I create an expectancy of good. I can see people for their true worth, their true potential. I get a glimpse of how God sees people when I look through a thankful lens. You know He’s not picking you apart?!
This weekend, I was at Costco getting a few things. On my to-get list was soil. Well, if you’ve been to Costco, you know those bags of soil are massive! I was dressed up from church–I had on tighter dress pants and heels. (my heels are one inch, but to me, they feel like stilettos. friends make fun of the way i walk in them) Needless to say, I was struggling. A worker offered to put in a few more bags for me. Now I’m not the damsel-in-distress type of girl. My pants could have ripped in half before I’d ask for help, but I did thankfully accept this gent’s offer.
As I was checking out, I was just thanking God for the sunny day, and that I could plant a garden, and put my hand to some crops. (maybe it’s the Montanan in me?) Then I heard Him say, “Because I love you, a guy will help you load that soil into your car.” Now I kind of dismissed that, thinking it was my wishful thinking. Well I pushed the HEAVY cart out to my car, which was parked in the FAR corner of the lot. I unloaded my stuff, and there wasn’t a soul around. I hunched over, my fingertip brushing the bag of soil, and a guy came up to me and said, “Here, let me load those for you.” Normally, I would say “nah, Ive got it,” and struggle to do it myself, but I actually got a little teared up knowing God was giving me a little kiss on the cheek, and said, “I would love that. Thank you so much.” He then offered to take my cart away. I sat in the driver’s seat, and just thanked God for how good He is. Now I know this is so minor, so small, but what I’m saying is the minute I put my focus on gratitude, it’s like God showed off, just for me. His language is thankfulness, his dialect gratitude and praise.
Start today. What are you thankful for? Even if it seems like a struggle to think of something, you gotta do it. Then thinking of things to be thankful for will start to multiply, because our focus has changed. We will realize that maybe some weeds have grown in our hearts, and they’ve become more noticeable than the fruit! So when we’re tempted to criticize or feel entitled to something, we pluck that out and instead think about what’s good, and what we’re thankful for. Don’t magnify the flaw, magnify the fruit (the thing that’s good.) Everyone and everything has fruit, whether it be a newly planted seed, or a full-blown zucchini the size of a human leg. Choose to draw the good things out. That attitude is contagious! (Where the opposite is a repellant)
Living with gratitude will change our attitude. Now go be the one who’s thankful today! This week!