I have been thinking lately about Adam and Eve. They lived in the garden of Eden and had their pick of any tree and fruit in the garden except one. So what did they spend their time thinking and worrying about? Yep, the one tree. Not the beautiful Garden of Eden they lived in, not the beauty of their surroundings or the joy of being able to literally walk with God. They focused on what they did not have. Satan stepped in and took advantage of the situation.
I can't stop thinking about how this applies to my life. How often I focus on the one tree I don't have rather than enjoying the fact that I have an entire garden. We want what we don't have and we don't appreciate what we do have.
Case in point: As I am writing this Isabelle is complaining to John about the fact that we only dyed our Easter eggs one way and she wishes we could have tried many other ways. John asked her if she had fun dying our eggs and she said yes. Then he asked her if she would rather dye eggs every way possible or have fun.
I have read a lot about gratitude lately. I have mentioned Ann Voskamp's blog and book here before. She took up a challenge to write down 1,000 things she is thankful for and hasn't stopped. I saw one book written by John Kralik whose life was changed by writing thank you notes: 365 Thank Yous: How a year of simple Gratitude changed my life. Neither of their lives are better than the rest of ours but the shift in thinking from problem to gratitude has given them greater joy and peace in the circumstances.
On the days when I focus on the blessings of my day I tend to feel better and get more done than I do on the days I focus on what I don't like or don't have. I am at peace, blessed beyond measure. My life is full of "gifts" as Ann would call them. The gifts God gives us every day, all day, if we just open our eyes to see them.
So I have decided to come up with a list of 100 things I am thankful for in my job by the end of the month. My desire to quit my job and be more present in my family life is very much my forbidden tree. It is the thing that is keeping me from seeing and enjoying the beautiful garden I live in. So far I am up to 31 things. The first 25 came quite quickly. And each day I am trying to see something else I can add to the list. Like Wednesday when I had a training that went through lunch so they bought us lunch. Free lunch, how great is that? I could have seen the forbidden tree, no lunch break, but instead focused on the garden and the blessing.
Take notice of your garden of Eden today and stop worrying about the forbidden tree. God is taking care of that.
1 Chronicles 16:34
"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever"