You ever feel like you deserve ‘better’?
You ever find yourself wishing you could be healthier, or fitter, or more patient, or more friendly?
You ever look at your life and wish you read more, or loved better, or took more walks?
I do. Not a day goes by where one of these thoughts don’t pop through my mind. The funny thing, however, is that they pop in… but, then I push them out. How? By just taking one step in the direction I want to go in.
That’s it. One step.
That’s the thing about life. We can ‘want’ all we want… but, unless we are willing to put one foot in front of each other and do the work to really possess the life we’ve been given ‘wanting’ is all we’ll ever do.
Another thing I do when I face these thoughts is I remind myself of a great old testament story where the 12 tribes of Israel were being assigned their lots of the promise land. Joshua parceled out a particular area to the decedents of King Joseph, but they didn’t like their lot. Nope, as they looked around at what other people were getting, they complained to Joshua and basically said, “This? But, it isn’t fair! We are better than this! You gave us a bunch of land that requires too much effort to make it something: we have to cut down trees and fight enemies. But, we want the low country where it is beautiful and easy. We deserve it; we are great people and, therefore, we want the land that they have – but, not this.”
(Can you relate? It’s easy to think everyone else has it ‘better’ than us, isn’t it?)
You know what Joshua said?
He said, “Well, okay. You are right – you are great, and you do deserve better. But this is what you get – so, choose to go up and make use of what you’ve been given. Go up and cut the trees, defeat the enemies, and make something of the land you call ‘nothing’. (See Joshua 17:14-17 for the full context.)
What does that have to do with me today in 2013? It tells me simply: what I have is what I get. I get one body. I get one mind. I get THIS life – with this husband, and these babies, and all that comes with. I can either complain and ‘want’ for more, or I can get to work on those trees that are blinding me from seeing the beauty of what I have – and that are holding me back from making the most of my lot in life.
That is the message I preach to my kids, too – my precious babies who are daily battling a culture that says what they have isn’t enough; that says they need ‘more’, and ‘better’, and ‘different’ to be happy.
Because here’s the thing: whether we like it or not, life is not fair. There will always be someone who travels more than us, who has better hair than us, who is taller, who is more petite, who has more friends, who can knit better, who can cook better, who is happier, who is healthier, who wins more, who laughs cuter, who has a ‘sweeter’ husband, who has nicer legs. Always.
Always. Always. Always.
So, instead of getting caught up in this cultural focus of what we don’t have and what we could use ‘more’ of, I try and always bring them back to what we do have; my message is always consistent and simple: Celebrate YOU and the blessing of YOUR life; your stature, your hair, your gifts, your talents, your laugh. You have been assigned a lot in life – a lot that is beautiful, and abundant, and needs YOU to bring out the best in it. No one else can fill your shoes! Instead of looking at what other people have, figure out what lies in your possession! Do just one thing today that makes your lot more beautiful: cut down a tree, dig out a rock, plant something new. Do the work to make the most of what you’ve been given.
It’s what I tell them… but, it’s also what I tell myself – all the time. It’s a constant reminder I feed into my spirit – the reminder that my lines have fallen in pleasant places… and, life only grows more beautiful when I’m actively working the land.
So, today, be encouraged… and do just one thing, just one!
Maybe you choose water instead of soda today.
Maybe you eat quinoa instead of pasta.
Maybe you choose a book before bed instead of watching TV.
Maybe you go for a walk instead of taking a nap.
Maybe you tell your man he’s lights up your life, instead of waiting for him to say it to you.
Whatever it is, keep walking, sister. Just keep walking… and then, tomorrow, get up and keep walking some more. One choice at a time.
Because what you have is beautiful… it’s just that sometimes what you’ve been searching for is just beyond the trees.