I know I've mentioned this on here before, but haven't gone into a lot of detail....some of you know more than others.
Back in October, four days after we got home from the World show, I flew out to Oregon. One of my mom's long-time-closest-friends had been diagnosed with cancer, and needed some extra help as they started up treatment.
So off I went - scared to death. Literally. First time away from home by myself, first time to fly (ever!), first time with no parents to make decisions for me, first time to be so...well...responsible.
My time there was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had to date. When I first got home, I sat down all excited and ready to blog about my time in OR...and had no clue what to write. Everything I had learned and experienced and wrestled through was too fresh to try to summarize. Only now, after being home for 3 months today, have I been able to fully realize the main things that this trip taught me.
In a nutshell:
1. Live in the moment
2. Be thankful
Wow!! Revolutionary, right? Mind-boggling-ly theological life lessons.
Or is it?
I spent a lot of my "little-kid life" wanting to be a teenager...then a lot of my teenage life wanting to be 18...now I'm coming up on 20 and I want to stay 19! Doesn't it seem like that's always the case? If we're single, we want to be married...if we are an only child, we want siblings...if we have 10 siblings, we want to be an only child...if we live in the desert, we want to live in the mountains...
Good grief! As I lived with this family for 6 weeks, and watched all the emotions that surround a mother of 5 young kids coming down with cancer, I realized how little we value each moment. It showed me how desperately I need to switch my thinking from, "I want to - be a different age - look a different way - live in a different place -" to "I love my life. All of it."
This verse sums it up well for me. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matt 6:34) Stop worrying about tomorrow, wishing for tomorrow, dreaming about tomorrow...you've got enough to think about today. Make the most of it, live in the moment, and glorify God no matter what your season of life!!
Sounds great, right? But how do you go about doing this?
I am convinced the key is a grateful heart. There was one morning in OR, and Ms Julie was in a lot of pain. I asked her how she was doing, and she replied, "Grateful." In amazed silence, I sat and watched as she sat there with tears in her eyes from the pain, saying, "I have realized lately that a grateful heart can never be a bitter heart; can never be an angry heart; can never be a discontent heart. A grateful heart puts everything in the right perspective."
It's so true. When I got home, I would realize that for me, a "bad day" meant I had a headache, got told to do something I didn't want to do, and as the final straw, my mp3 player wasn't charged and I had no music. Golly, isn't life hard?!? Oh boy did I have some reality checks!
One of my favorite phrases to use now is, "if that's all that's wrong - your life really isn't that bad." Now I am in no way trying to make light of someone who is in a seriously hard situation. Far from it!! I'm merely talking about the way we have these tiny little trials in our day to day lives that can make us so grumpy!
If we only realized how blessed we really are, and were as grateful as we should be, we would have a very different outlook on life. The Bible tells us over and over again, "be thankful," "with thanksgiving," be grateful"...we should take it seriously.
I would challenge you, as you go about your daily routine, look at things like you'll never see them again, and realize how grateful we should be for them. Little things...your car, a beautiful sunset, the ability to walk and do chores, hard work, your mom, your sometimes annoying little sibling, your health - what if these things left? And they can.
Be grateful, and then live in each moment you have been given...living it to its fullest...not asking for any more.