It’s November so of course everyone and anyone is talking about gratitude and being thankful for this or that. But sometimes I think we forget to see the abundant blessings all around us and instead get way too caught up in the bright and shiny and the have-nots.
If you’ve been following my blog for awhile you know that we don’t use credit cards and so all of our Christmases are paid for in cash every year. And this year, I’d been working hard saving a ton of Swagbucks so I could cash out and purchase this ridiculously expensive swing set/clubhouse deal for my kids.
I’ve been planning all year for this purchase. Seriously, I started planning for it last Christmas!
But something started to happen once I reached my Swagbucks goal, I started to feel challenged about purchasing the swing set. My husband kept reminding that we could get a used one on Craigslist much cheaper – which he was totally right and then he mentioned how even though he and his brother built their own clubhouse as kids, they hardly ever played in it.
My husband kept challenging me if spending a small fortune on a swing set was really going to be worth it – sure the kids might really enjoy playing with it but eventually it’s just going to outside and serve as a reminder that our children are growing up faster than we’d like them to.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized just how right he was. That fancy swing set wasn’t about my kids, it was about me. It was about the swing set that I wanted my kids to have and a stupidly expensive one wasn’t going to bring my children (or me) anymore joy than a less expensive one.
So, I decided to take half of the earnings I had on Swagbucks, cash them out and buy my husband the laptop he’d been saving like crazy to purchase for his new business. It was a nice surprise that he greatly enjoyed but the bigger surprise, came later that same day, when our neighbor graciously gave us their children’s old swing set that was no longer being used.
It was given to us for free – sure it doesn’t look anything like the one I had my eye on at Walmart, but it’s a beautiful reminder to me that not everything needs to sparkle to hold value.
And this lesson got me thinking. How often do we do this to ourselves? Money aside – how often do we convince ourselves that in order for something to hold value it has to be new, or at the very least, newish? [clickToTweet tweet=”Money aside, how often do we convince ourselves that in order for something to hold value it has to be new? ” quote=”Money aside, how often do we convince ourselves that in order for something to hold value it has to be new? “]
And judging by my boys love of this thing, I think it’s safe to assume they don’t care that it’s not brand new. 🙂
Now, maybe you already know my story of having seven cars before I even turned 30, so if you do, just skip this part because you’ve already heard it. I was the poster child for the American belief, “you are what you drive”. A few of my close friends would say, “Jessi, you change your car like you change your underwear! I swear, you have a different one every time we see you.”
And the sad part is, they weren’t kidding. It was true. I was a car junkie. I always felt a sense of accomplishment whenever I would get a new-to-me car. But then after a little while, the new would fade off and I’d be feeling that itch again for something else. So, I would head down to the dealership and trade-in my car for something new.
Finally, in 2014 I swallowed a very tough pill to swallow – for me anyway. I gave up my beloved fully-loaded Tahoe for a paid-for purple Sequoia. Even my brother and my daddy commented on how it is the ugliest car I’ve ever owed and it is. Yes, I know to many this isn’t an ugly car, but for me, this was a hard choice to make.
However “ugly” this car may be, it’s the best one I’ve ever had. I’m not talking about the integrity of the car, or how it runs or anything like that. I’m talking about the fact that it reminds me of what’s truly important. I spent too much of my young adult life focused on how I looked while driving that I couldn’t see the beauty of my own life all around me.
Now, I drive my Sequoia with my three kiddos in the back and no longer care how I look while driving my car. I just didn’t expect for this same “it’s gotta be this way” mentality to sneak up on me again. Or at least I wasn’t expecting it to happen with a swing set.
But I get why and how this sometimes happens to us. I believe it happens to us because we get comfortable in our abundant blessings and forgot how to truly be grateful for them. Instead we see the “next best thing” and keep plugging away to make it happen, when really the next best thing is usually already right in front of us.
So, in case you’re approaching this holiday season wondering how you’re going to afford this, or be able to make this or that happen, I want you to pause and list out all your abundant blessings. Every single one of them. Chances are, you probably won’t have enough time in your day (or enough paper) to list them all out. And that’s a good thing.
“And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.” 2 Cor. 9:8
What is one abundant blessing that you are truly grateful for today?
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