Ugh, that game. You know the one. It usually goes one of two ways. The fun way is playing the lottery game and thinking of all the wonderful ways your life would change should millions upon millions of dollars suddenly appear in your bank account. For what it's worth, I love that game. In my mind I fly all my family to Italy and Ireland while the lawyers get all of us protected and then I come home and start charities for mothers in-need and scholarships for students at both my high school and college alma maters. I mean...I may have thought about this a time or two ;)
On the other hand, the 'what if' game can be a nasty little business of sacrificing your good sense on the altar of fear. This one I play more than the lottery game, and what's worse, the hypotheticals this game spit balls at you seem more likely to manifest into reality than the Powerball bolstered bank account. I bet I roll through countless 'what if' scenarios everyday. What if no one reads my blog or 'likes' this post? (I mean...yeah...I sweat these things.) What if a mad man breaks into Harlow's school and she gets hurt and I'm not there to protect her? What if while I'm taking the trash out a bear goes in my house like I heard on the news? See: why I limit my news intake.
A couple weeks ago, I was reading another blogger's post on her personal struggles over the past year. In this season of life, I feel we're all connected by the broad strokes of life. Our children, our marriages. Careers, friendships, financials. Adult things that are both fulfilling and frustrating. While she ultimately shared that she was in a much better place, my heart ached for her as she described her year-long journey of sadness and self-doubt. Buddy my mirroring neurons were firing, let me tell you!
Then I read a sentence that stopped me in my tracks. She wrote that she'd gone to church one Sunday and her minister asked the congregation the following question:
"What if you woke up one day and all you had was what you thanked God for the night before?"
Total goosebumps moment right??
That one sentence, that single question, has lingered with me since. I find it so powerful. Even if you're not the spiritual type, I imagine the impact is still felt. Maybe it's not what you said in your prayers the night before but instead what you wrote in your gratitude journal. Or app. Whichever best serves as your conduit for catharsis.
It makes you think. About what you're most grateful for. About what you're doing with your time and energy. We all get caught up in the hustle and bustle, the comparison game, the trap of thinking we'd be happy if we only had such-and-such. If all we had was what we're truly the most thankful for in our whole lives would it be that bad? Our families. Our health. Basic human necessities. I'll tell you, it really sinks in how many blessings we're surrounded with on a daily basis when your power and water shut off in a deep cold snap and you worry about keeping your baby warm and fed. And it's the one time you actually miss your landline because it doesn't need a charger...which sheds light on how much we rely on electricity every single day.
So. How would it turn out for you, this game?
For me, to be honest, it depends on the night. Most nights I say my prayers, or rather, I start them and sometimes fall asleep before I've barely started. I wondered if I should feel guilty about this and then I thought, what a lovely thing to feel so relaxed and peaceful while saying my prayers. I believe God knows what's in my heart.
When I do make it all the way through to the 'Amen,' I always start with saying thanks for the wonderful day I had, even if it was a total disaster. The way I see it, it's a good day if, at the end of it, I'm safe in bed with my family safe beside me. Then, I always always include this little section I've been saying since I was a little girl: "Please bless my family, my friends, and myself with happiness and good health, safety and success." Just like that, in that order, quote end quote.
This past few weeks have been challenging both physically and emotionally. I freaked out when Harlow came down with the flu, unable to sleep soundly for several nights in a row because I was so worried the flu might impact her breathing. I came down with it, too, and could barely get out of bed for more than a few minutes at a time. Once again, my work suffered. Right as I'm trying to get back in the swing of things the rug was pulled out from under me...again! This winter has SUCKED so bad I don't even have the right words for it. And that $600 power bill we just got because it's been two degrees for months on end?!?! Seriously. I've had all I can take.
But. Even in the middle of that shit storm I still prayed and thanked the Lord for the day. For the blankets we had to keep us warm. For the ability to buy medicine and food to nurse our bodies back to health. For the roof over our heads, for hot showers and 'sanitize' laundry cycles, for the power of Disney movies to entertain a sick or recovering two-year-old for an entire week. For my husband who took care of two sick girls at once and never lost it or snapped or asked for a break.
It's funny. On a daily basis I find myself very preoccupied with the contents of my closet, or how my Instagram page looks, or how much I realllly want to take a nap and don't want to do laundry again. But when I'm tucked in bed at night, I don't pray for that sweater I've really been wanting, or for a maid, and I don't say thank you to God for a social media post that performed well. Does anyone pray for things like that? Okay...maybe I have prayed for a maid before...
You get the point though. All the crap we flood our minds with, all the ways we tell ourselves we have to have something or else we just won't be enough....what does it all amount to without our most basic, essential blessings? Without the people that make life worth living?
What are you most thankful for?
Would it be there tomorrow because you remembered to say 'thank you' today?
It's never too late to start!
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