I’m constantly feeling like I never have enough. Or, worse yet, I never measure up to the next guy. I never have enough time to wake up in the morning. I never have enough time to get to work. I never get enough done at work. I never have enough time with my kids. I never have enough time to decompress. And, of course, I never get enough sleep! It get’s really bad when I start comparing myself to the “other guy.” He always has plenty of time to play with his kids. He always has enough money for the things he wants to do. He always has the right timing and right kinds of family vacations. Yep, he’s pretty well off.
The one thing I always forget is that I know nothing of this other guy. I don’t know what kind of debt load he may carry, or the arguments he may have with his kids or the hours and pressures he’s feeling at work. And of course, I always forget that it is none of my concern nor business!
Brene Brown in her book “Daring Greatly” says that we are a culture of “never enough.” This perception and outlook on life warps the truth of what we actually do have and hides those things that are incredible possessions. In recovery, and part of my own spiritual formation journey, you get to a point in the 12 Steps where you begin to realize that life is so much better in freedom than bound up with your addictions. In some of the final Steps, we are encouraged to create a Gratitude Journal.
Simply put, it is a list of the things you have to be grateful for. The sun shining today, the rain falling out your window, you had to get up early but saw an incredible sunrise you would have normally missed, having a hard conversation but being true to yourself, being able to walk or not and moving about in this world with the perspective that 95% of the population does not have, and the list could go on. On some days, I write down the first one and feel the desire to journal about that one thing. And other days, I just list things. When we begin to take our focus off of what we don’t have, we are able to more clearly see the things that we do. These gifts are just that-gifts.
For me, I was upset the other day. Saturday didn’t not start how I had wanted it to. I woke up late, had to go the the hardware market to get a few supplies, come home and fix the things that were broken. All this after me packing for an overnight trip I had planned to take with my 8 year old son as part of his “rite of passage” birthday and getting a pocket knife. Our “Manventure” was something I had been planning for awhile. When I had hoped to get out of the city by 10 a.m., find our camp site for the night and then go hiking, we didn’t leave until 1 p.m. Those thoughts of “well the “other guy dad” would have already been out of town and been hiking with his boy having a grand ole time by now and here I am still having to go to the store for a few last snack items.” I would like to meet this “other guy” sometime. I’m not sure if we would get along or even hang out, but perhaps I would see that he is nothing like the idol I have built up in my mind. Perhaps I would finally stop comparing myself to him.
So, back to the trip with my son….. once we got out of town, the drive, the hikes in the caves, going up to the peaks, climbing rocks and probably letting him get a little closer to the edge of some cliffs than his mother would, the time was priceless. Playing kid card games for three hours straight, having s’mores for breakfast and seeing wolves could not have been topped by anything this mystery “other guy” or the ridiculous idea of “never enough” could have ever topped. It wasn’t until I sat down to write a post tonight that this flood of gratitude came over me for this weekend. God has blessed me with so much. Who am I to constantly have the mentality and perception that it’s never enough? God, in his omnipotence, love and grace is more than enough. This “Percieved Scarcity” as Michael Hyatt calls it, is just as he describes- OUTRAGEOUS!!
I’m not great at keeping this gratitude journal. But, when I do, it has always been a way of recentering myself under and surrounded by, Jesus. So, what if you kept one? What are some things you could list off right now, not necessarily write about, but simply list? What would they be? Comment below, I would love to hear about some of them. Remember, we all learn from each other, please help my understanding of God grow as you share from your own experience!