By Jennifer Dyer
I wonder if I’m the only one who struggles with weeds of poisonous dissatisfaction. One minute, I’m thanking God for my car that still works. A moment later, I’m staring at my friend’s new car and wishing I could have it for myself. Or I’m reading ANOTHER book a friend wrote and envying their success.
I wish I could say it stopped there. But it doesn’t. I can thank God for my home, yet cringe inside when I see a friend’s beautiful, palatial home that looks like a magazine spread. Or I fall into thinking other people have less messes, their kids read on a higher level, their children don’t have autism, their tummy doesn’t pooch over their jeans…. Why is that?
Part of it is a result of my human nature, with it’s weeds of envy and desire. Every garden is susceptible to weeds in this world. The key is to find ways to prevent them from growing. When you do see them, pull them out before they take over.
So, what do I do with these feelings, especially when I see them in my daughter? Over the years I’ve heard she wants her hair cut in a certain manner, just like this friend; and why, why can’t she have her ears pierced when that friend’s mom said she could have hers done? Why can’t she have a big room like this other friend, and why can’t we drive a car like that other friend’s mom…?
Again. Human nature. And sometimes, sadly, that kind of thinking is learned. (Eep!)
For my own heart and for the hearts of my children, I must master my own self and model thankfulness. (Not always easy.) When my children and I fall into a spiral of the wants, I fight the weeds in our hearts by planting seeds of thankfulness.
Here are some ways we sow seeds of thanks into the gardens of our hearts:
- On the way to school, we take time to thank God for His gifts to us: a bed with blankets, a car to ride in so we don’t have to walk, food to eat, clean water to drink, sun that shines, clothes to wear, friends to share.
- We also talk about other places in the world and times in history. We discuss what life is like/was like for the people living in that place/time. We find things for which to thank God about our lives. And we pray for the needs the others might have in those places.
- We talk about our blessings. We acknowledge they came from God.
- We don’t deny that feeling envious is a struggle. I don’t want my kids to think they are failures or bad people because they have those feelings. I am honest that I struggle too. I share how I overcome and what happens when I don’t.
At some point, we get our minds off of our weeds of dissatisfaction and focus on nurturing the seeds of gratefulness in our hearts.
And the greatest result? Over the years, I have seen Eldest’s comparison weeds fade. It’s still lurks under her surface, as it does in all of us—there is a reason God put the issue of coveting in the Law. But the more we fight it with thankfulness, the stronger our hearts become.
What are you thankful for?