Changes in Latitude and Changes in Gratitude
Updated: Jun 24, 2022
It feels like a really long time since I last sat down to write. It‘s true that things have been busy but (if I’m honest with myself) I haven’t felt like writing. Sometimes the world just feels too full of heartache and negativity to write anything at all; let alone something uplifting. The recent school shooting was enough in itself to stifle any desire that I may have had to share “good news” with the rest of the world. When you factor in rising gas prices, political corruption, my own health concerns and family issues… it’s really easy to become focused on all that is wrong in our world. Toss in a generous amount of anxiety and sprinkle in some depression and I end up with a recipe for a full-blown pity party. And who wants to write about that? When I start to feel myself spiraling into negativity, I know it means that I need to spend more time in God’s Word and less time worrying about my own words. So, that’s what I’ve been doing lately. As it turns out, I wasn’t alone in my feelings of dismay.
My pastor recently “took a Sunday off“ of his usual preaching schedule to address just such a need within our congregation. We spent a Sunday singing, lamenting, and worshiping together in what really felt like a “collective exhale.” After spending some time “exhaling the negativity of this world, inhaling all of God’s abundant blessings, and pouring out our gratitude through praise,” I finally felt ready to write again.
I was reminded that the ability to write down my words and share them freely is a privilege and a luxury that not everyone is afforded. I then felt inspired to pose the question: What luxuries and privileges can you choose to be thankful for today? One thing that growing older has taught me is that while we may not always be able to choose what happens to us, we can always choose how we react to it. This world will always be full of atrocities. We can choose to focus on them; to live in fear and focus on all that is wrong or we can choose to rejoice in hope and focus on all that is good.
When people find out that we bought a house in Belize, most of the time they can’t wrap their mind around why we would do such a thing. Ultimately, I think it’s a matter of perspective as well. Buying this house in Belize was unconventional, yes; but it was also a rare opportunity to not just tell our kids to dream big, but to model for them what it would look like to really chase after that dream. Even when it’s hard and pushes you out of your comfort zone; even when people look at you like you’re crazy; and especially when the world gets you down; it’s so important to choose your focus and to keep chasing after your dreams.
Life is short. None of us know how much time we have left on this earth. What we make of the time we have here is up to us. We‘ve decided not to trade our convictions for contentment. We’ve decided to make this little life of ours an adventure. Most of all though, we continue to get up each day and choose joy over sadness, faith over fear, and gratitude for it all.
Whenever my kids find themselves in a bit of a “funk” I love to walk them out to our mud room and direct their attention to a sign hanging on the wall that reads: “There is Always, Always, ALWAYS something to be thankful for,” because it’s true. Sometimes we just need a change of scenery to change our perspective.