Sometimes, realizing I am so incredibly blessed hits like a wrecking ball. It’s a truth that upsets my settled habits of anxiety and stress.
Life itself is a great and undeserved gift. How many of us tend to forget that God owes us nothing: not even life? We talk about our right to life as if it’s something we deserve, even as if it’s something we’ll have forever.
But reality is that every moment experienced so far, and every moment in the future, are gifts from a kind-hearted God. We enjoy a gift of life, not a right to it. Perhaps that’s one thing that makes us feel so upset about death. We feel cheated at the very thought of the life we consider ourselves entitled to being snatched away. Maybe that’s why we feel even more shocked and saddened when a person dies young.
What difference does thinking of life as a gift make?
Joy instead of anxiety. When I remember that life is an undeserved gift of God, I’m less freaked out when it doesn’t go the way I wanted it to. I’ve lowered my expectations by remembering I don’t have the natural right to expect anything. And that leaves me free to enjoy the gift of this moment. It also helps me nurture the excellent art of contentment.
A less entitled view of life. An entitled view of life builds an entitled view of the possessions and pleasures that go with life. This creates frustration at the thought that something could snatch away things at any moment, making us want to grab all the pleasures before it’s too late. When I remember that this new day of breath is more than I should expect, it can give even drudgery a hint of excitement. Thinking of every hour as a gift helps make me live in that hour and feel less of a need to spend it craving more things for another hour.
Thank God for your life! Let’s try to live in a posture of gratitude, to culture a pleasant sense of joy, like a child opening a gift every day he didn’t expect. Let’s spend less time stressing about the future, less effort grasping at pleasures we don’t have available yet, and more time being grateful we can enjoy the ones right in front of us now.
The paradox: this sort of joyful mindset gives us a vastly better life than the entitled mindset ever could. Prase the Lord!