One of the things that struck me during the quiet on my holiday was how my mind naturally tends towards dissatisfaction. It appears it is not natural for my mind to think in “appreciate” mode, but rather it prefers “not-being-happy-with-what-I-got” mode. Give me a moment of silence and that is where my mind naturally tends to.
Underneath all unhappiness bubbles the furnace of dissatisfaction.
The dissatisfaction extends to things not going my way, or people not behaving the way I want them to behave. The conviction that: if we just did things my way, everyone will actually be happier! I constantly “if only” about that which I long for and do not have now.
In those moments of quiet, that is when I heard the bubbles of dissatisfaction bursting from within my heart. It sounds like this: “Me, me, me-me-me, me, me, me-me-me!”
At the heart of discontent, dissatisfaction, discord, lies my own desires and wants. Now I would never describe myself like this, I think I am quite a thankful person, always mindful that everything I have and possess comes from the hand of God. Every blessing received is by the hand of God, full of grace and ever faithful to me He is, always providing for all my needs as He sees fit.
But my behavior is like going to a feast table, for which the host has gone to tremendous effort to lay out the best delicacies that he knows will appeal to my taste, and take care of my needs. It is a lavish, rich, overflowing table, indicative of the love he has for me. Like the one described in Psalm 23, “He prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies.” But I stand at the table and look for what is not on the table, what has not been put on offer yet and in the process demonstrate disdain for what HAS been provided on the table.
Sometimes we are so busy looking at what we don’t have and what is not going our way, that we fail to see how God has provided for us, blessed us and kept us where we are right now.
Eve did this. She was so busy looking at the tree she could not eat from, that she failed to see the lavish garden she was surrounded by, with choices of fruit more than capable of meeting her needs. She failed to go to the one who provided for her, but instead looked to meet her needs in another way.
I was brought up short on holiday, reminded to count my blessings, to name them one by one. As my friend said recently: “I am not blessed the way I WANT to be blessed, but I AM already, RICHLY blessed.”
When I heard those bubbles of dissatisfaction bubbling out of me, I decided it was time I counted my blessings. I took the sources of my dissatisfaction and looked to see what blessing was in it, that I had not seen. I looked at what had not gone my way, to find the blessings that had come out of it. I discovered that if I take my dissatisfaction out of the equation, my emotions and my ever present ME-voice, that one plus one makes abundantly blessed and I am embarrassed that I have spent so much time wailing before the Lord.
This is why we are told to: “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thes 5:16-18 (my emphasis)
Being thankful puts new perspective on our dissatisfaction. As we look to our blessings and God’s provision, His grace and His goodness, we cannot help but leave His presence filled with joy. I confess that I do not maintain a thankful heart.
I may not be blessed the way I want to be blessed, but I am very blessed.