By Evelyn Horan
I am often reminded of an old song that tells us to” count our blessings” and” name them one by one.” When we do this, we can remember what God has done for us. Sometimes, when we ask God for our desires, we don’t always get what we want, but if we pay attention, we notice we’re getting what we need.
There are times when requests are made to our parents, but they are denied—like the young man who wanted a special fishing pole, but he had to be satisfied with his old pole. When he went fishing again, he caught a two-pound trout. He realized that old pole was all he needed.
Some girls can recall how they thought they couldn’t live without a certain outfit they’d seen in a teen magazine. But in real life, in a department store, sometimes the color wasn’t right or the material was scratchy. Other times stylish boots were a fad. Trying them on, they realized they could hardly walk in them.
It’s easy to compare what you have against what friends, neighbors, or people who are admired have—and then you find yourself coming up short. Everyone else seems so much better off! It’s easy to envy kids who seem better looking or more popular, ones who make better grades or are successful leaders. There is always someone more coordinated on the drill team, or a soprano in the glee club who can hit higher notes. Maybe you always notice someone stronger, more athletic, someone who drives a great car, has more spending money, and a better job.
You can spend all day making a list of people in better circumstances, but that’s not a helpful activity for those who want to be like Christ and follow him. A good way to shake that self-pity is to inventory the good things God has done for you. One of his blessings, often taken for granted, is good health. There are people who have a life threatening disease or a serious injury to face. If you have good health, it’s time to be grateful.
Second, the necessities of life provided by parents, foster parents, grandparents or whomever you live with, require gratitude. Not everyone has a warm place to live, adequate clothing to wear, enough food to eat, and plenty of clean water to drink. Having these things when there are millions of people in the world who don’t have these necessities should cause us to pause and remember that God has truly blessed us.
Take time to consider personal possessions and benefits beyond life’s necessities. For some it’s a private room, a cell phone, a TV, a computer, music lessons, trips to amusement parks, family vacations. You may not have all those extras. But what do you have? What can you thank God for?
After a few minutes of reflection, we find we are blessed in so many ways. It is foolish and selfish to give in to pity, or become morose over little things we think we need. We should remember God loves us, and he promised to meet our needs as he sees fit. He didn’t promise to grant all our wishes, but he did say he’d meet our needs and that we should not worry—for if he cares for the birds and the flowers, he surely cares for us.
When we count our blessings, we find we are truly blessed, and we are thankful to God who knows our needs and cares for us.