“What’s new? How’s the family?”
“We’re good. My wife is due to have our third child in just a couple of weeks. A boy this time.”
A recent conversation with an old friend started innocently enough.
We exchanged pleasantries and a few humorous jabs at each other. However, the talk turned more serious as he started explaining some of the challenges he was facing. These weren’t serious issues, but more like inconveniences. You know . . . new job, transitioning to a new house, young kids and all the stress that comes with that.
I couldn’t help but find myself joining in. I explained how my two girls are 8 and 6 years old, so it’s been a long time since we’ve had an infant in the house. “I’m not sure I’m ready for diapers and sleepless nights again,” I said. “I also worry about not having enough time for my daughters. We won’t be able to go to movies as often, or take a random road trip for a fun weekend, or just pick up and go as we please without extra planning and extra baby gear. And don’t get me started on the extra expense of a new baby,” I stated dishearteningly.
The conversation wrapped up soon after that, and we had to go our separate ways. The moment I drove off, I instantly felt shame and guilt. The kind of feeling you get when you know you’ve done something wrong.
Then it hit me: I just downplayed all the blessings in my life.
Why do we do this? We hear it so often in everyday conversations. We find fault in the gifts God has given us.
It happens all the time. The business owner who says, “I’m having a good year . . . but it’ll hurt me during tax time.”
The parent of a healthy child-athlete who says, “We have to go to another weekend tournament and it’s getting exhausting to travel.”
The owner of a beautiful acreage who states, “We love it here, but it’s really a hassle to take care of the property.”
Think of it like this: as a parent, when you give your child a present and he or she doesn’t show enthusiasm, how does that make you feel? Likely, you feel disappointment and maybe even anger because your child wasn’t more grateful.
I imagine that’s probably how God feels when we complain about the responsibilities and the stress that we sometimes have to endure when we receive God’s blessings.
Why does it seem easier—and more socially acceptable—to complain about the people, the places, and the occurrences of our lives?
How much different would life feel if we focused more on the positive outcomes we experience? What if we shared more joy in our small talk with friends and neighbors?
I continued to drive home that day and I asked God for forgiveness. I said a prayer of gratitude for the gifts in my life. I pledged to honor Him in my future conversations. If I could go back and redo the conversation with my friend that day, here’s what I would say:
“My wife and I are thrilled for the birth of a new baby—our first son. I’m excited to share the experience with my two older daughters. Our house will be filled with even more love and happiness. Yes, life will change and there will be challenges, but I trust that God will guide us through each one. Each day will be a gift and I look forward to the experiences that lay ahead.”
You are strategically placed where you’re supposed to be. Recognize the goodness in your everyday life, and give thanks. Through it all, openly praise God. Give it a try in your daily discussions with friends and acquaintances. You might be surprised how much positivity and love will spread as a result.