Learning to See the Bounty

It’s the month of November. The air is growing cold, the holidays are drawing near, and many of us are turning our attention to the idea of thankfulness.

So what is a girl to do when her natural default is to see what is missing rather than what is present?

This time of year, I am buoyed along by the collective peer pressure of thanksgiving, which is not a terrible thing, but my attachment to the negative side of life is hard to combat.

Yesterday, for instance, I wanted to quit everything: homeschooling, blogging, being in a community, the works. It’s too painful, too visible, and too messy.

I hated the fact that I’d let people in on my struggles. I was frustrated and annoyed that I couldn’t just write blog posts full of perpetual progress. I was angry and embarrassed, wishing I’d kept my mask in place and my mouth shut. I felt toxic and unworthy of love. All I could see was lack.

Maybe you go to a place like this.

If you do, I’m sorry.

It’s a terrible place.

All week I’ve been working on this blog post about Learning to See the Bounty, and then, true to form, this hit. In case you are ever curious, I am always tested on whatever I am writing about. It’s annoying, but it does give me a chance to see if what I’m saying holds any water.

A Closer Look

Even on my good days, I have a tendency to notice the negative first. Deficiencies stand out to me. Maybe it’s the way I’m wired, but it only takes a few negative details to convince me that everything is bad. And then the spiral is off and swirling. The problem is, it simply isn’t true. The ratios are wrong.

In our lives as believers, there is more present than there is missing.

This is a pivotal idea to remember, especially when the missing pieces start stacking up. What we lack tries to grab our attention and keep us from seeing the whole truth, it paints a dark picture and plunges us into depression.

While we can’t help what we initially notice, we need to keep what we see in perspective. God’s word has a very appropriate scripture for our thought life.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8

When I focus on looking for the praise-worthy areas in my life, they surprisingly exist. And the times I can’t think of anything good at all, if I ask the Lord He is gracious to open my eyes to the bounty He has provided. Suddenly, the picture looks very different.

Over all, my homeschooling is going really well. My children are happy and we like most of the books we are reading together. Blogging is one of the best things that I’ve ever done, giving me the space to process the stuck places of my own soul. Being in a community has been a means of tremendous grace in my life. Sharing my struggles might mean people know the truth about me, but in the end, that feels much better than pretending from a lonely distance.

There is so much more present than missing. Try using this thought key when you get stuck. It will change how you see your spouse, your children, and your work. Don’t let the missing pieces tell you the whole story. There are good things in your life. And not just a few.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
Psalm 16:5-6

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