We Live in a world of entitlements and demands, expectations of what we should have and ideals of what is fair and right. We see in our mass media the idea that we have these rights to have more for less and that to not have the things we want or perceive to be needs violates our perceived rights. We live in a society that has become so focused on what we don’t have that we have lost sight of what we do have. we covet what we don’t have and become so hung up on the things we perceive we need or want that it becomes our focus and drags us down to a state of despair, anger and frustration. We start thinking its not right or fair that I don’t have these things, I deserve them. Often this leads to living beyond our means. One family I know bought a house as soon as they could and had a car, later when they could not keep up the payments on the house and other debt this lead to bankruptcy and the loss of there car. I have no desire to judge this family and I hope that it does not come across this way, but it serves to highlight what can happen when we become so focused on what we can do or want to do without seeing the long term impact if this was really the best choice at the time. we lose sight of the forest for the trees. Because we become so focused on what we want, instead of being grateful for what we have. This observation of course if purely from an outside perspective without knowing any financial details.
Its a good thing to work towards bettering our lives, spiritual, physically, emotionally, financially. These of course are worthy goals and we should all aspire for them. Thomas S Monson put it this way
“so much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment”
So what does this mean for us. In my family we do not have a mortgage or a car, we have alot of debt due to school and past poor decisions regarding our finances. as well as a time when I was not working for several months after school. These things can certainly drag me down and harm me spirtually when focusing on them in a negative light. Rather I choose to see our situation like this “I don’t have a car but have access to a reliable public transit system that allows me to get to work one time daily, This has the result of enabling me to be employed and provide for my family which helps me slowly but surley pay down my debts, and while I don’t have a mortgage I have a roof over my head, My family has food in there bellies and clothes on there backs. We can also still afford a few luxurys like cable and internet services that allow me to have this blog”
A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to get a car. I was so happy to finally have a car that I had been wanting and feeling our family needed it for quite some time. That was one of the best summers we have had in a long time. As a family we were able to go and do things we could not of done without one. We went to Jurrasic Forrest out by Gibbons alberta, camping out in Vermillion and visited the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller alberta. Things were going great till one fateful day in november that year. A severe ice storm struck Edmonton and the roads became very hazzardous and dangerous. I made it home from work that night amazingly during rush hour with no problems though it took quite a while. I was very greatful as I have never driven in such conditons as that before. The next day on the way to work was a different story however. As I was driving to work the next day the roads felt quite a bit dryer since the road crews were out. Due to lack of exprience and poor judgement I was unable to stop on time and rear ended a suv and caused nearly 10,000 dollars in damage to my car. I was in shock and quite upset that it happenned and I was not sure how to deal with it. The car was written off and I barley got enough from my insurance to pay off my loan for the car. It was less than 6 months later once again without a car. I was quite upset by the incident. Greatful to not be hurt but angry that it happenned. I found my self a few time asking why God did you allow this to happen, I finally got a car this is nothing short of a good thing for my family and you took it away. Of course I did not get an answer from God, at least not right away. It was only later after I was able to recover a bit from my anger and frustration that God answerd me.
It was about 5 months later that we moved from where we were living due to alot of issues and hazards with the places we were in. Losing our car was Gods answer to solve a problem we had been contemplating, with a 3rd baby on the way and poor living conditions of the home we were renting. If we had not lost that car we would not of been able to move to where we are living now as we would not be able to afford the rent or the move. God our father in his wisdom, saw a need and provided a way to fullfill it without me even asking him to do so. God knew we could not continue to live under the unsanitary and unsafe conditions we were living in, Losing our car was a blessing that I can now look back on with thanks giving, I can now see that despite not having a car and paying 400 more per month in rent our quality of life and living conditions are much better than they were.
We must trust in God who sees the bigger picture and be greatful for the conditions and things that we have. Sometimes we are put through trials because without them we cant improve our lives.
In the book of luke chapter 17:12-19 we read the story of the 10 lepers
12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were alepers, which stood afar off:
14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the apriests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him athanks: and he was a Samaritan.
Christ had healed 10 lepers but only one had given thanks to god, the other 9 seems to have taken for granted the great blessing that they had received from Christ. Only one showed gratitude for being healed. Are we among the 9 lepers, who did not give thanks to God for the blessing that we have recieved or are we among the 1 that recognized the blessing which we had recieved and give thanks to god for providing it.
In My church we have a hymn called count your blessing
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings; ev’ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.
So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
Count your many blessings; angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you his wealth untold.
Count your many blessings; money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.
Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings;
See what God hath done.
Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings;
See what God hath done.
what a great hymn to cheer you up when your are feeling down. Lets count our blessings and have an attitude of gratitude
doctrine and covenants section 78:17-19 says
17 Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are alittle children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you;
what an amazing promise from God we have when we live a life of thanksgiving and gratitude. When we have an eternal perspective life just gets better. We are happier and we will have less stress in our lives. Studys have shown that those who live with less stress live longer. What better way can we have to reduce stress in our lives than to live with an attitude of gratitude
Alma 34:38 in the book of mormon says
38 That ye acontend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the bname of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and cworship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in dthanksgiving daily, for the many emercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.
When we live with an attitude of gratitude we will live happier lives. Longer lives. We will learn to recognize our blessings and be an influence for good to all those whom we associate with. Let us rejoice in all that we have. Count your blessing and you will live a happier life and God bless