Last night I was confronted with my own demons. One of my kiddos was upset and, without going into the details, she was not getting something that she felt she should have. Now, as I see it, this kid is incredibly blessed. So many things are going her way, so why on Earth would this one little thing bother her so badly?
As we sorted it out, I felt one of those parenting moments that sometimes happen. My words (which are most often totally inadequate and sometimes don’t make sense and especially at 9:30 pm sound a tad impatient) came out easily and surprised me. Although trying to write those words is much, much harder, I really want to take a stab at it. I think it is so important to help our kids see their own gifts and blessings. Maybe it is just me…but I suspect that a lot of time is spent in our world trying to keep up with what others have or can do. I see this in my kids and I see this in myself. And it is exhausting.
In that 9:30 pm moment, I wanted her to see what I see…all her blessings. Of course it is always easier to see this for someone else. Our conversation went something like this. And yup, it’s Easter and I used a BASKET ANALOGY, as in Easter basket in case you are not getting the brilliance here. For the love I am so clever sometimes. Here are the words that came from (through) me…
What I want you to see sweetie is that God has given you all the blessings that you need, He has done this for each and every one of us. But if we are looking at everyone else’s basket, trying to see if what they have in their basket is better than ours then we will miss out on enjoying our blessings.
The trouble is when you do this comparison you will always find someone whose basket looks more full, or has better stuff in it. ALWAYS. You can count on this for sure. You will always find others that look like they have less than you and you will be tempted to let that make you feel like you are better than they are, which is a dangerous thing as well. Comparing ourselves to others robs us of our joy and puts an unhappy distance between us and those we envy or those we feel superior to. You don’t know their story, or what their gifts should be used for. Meanwhile your basket is sitting in front of you and in not looking at this you don’t get to appreciate the beauty of what is in there. And you won’t ever figure out how to use it.
There are big gifts in your basket. Look in your basket and tell me what you see. Family that loves you, friends, so much support in all areas of your world, a brain that understands learning pretty easily, a healthy body…your basket is almost overflowing with these things. Then there are the smaller things that can sometimes SEEM big…material comforts, things you want to do, places you want to go, or things you want to have or be good at. Those fill in around the people and the love that you find there. But those big blessings, those people, they love you no matter what else is in your basket. The rest could empty right out and it would still be filled with love.
It is OK to notice what is other people’s baskets as long as we can try and appreciate and be happy about and enjoy their gifts. Like I look in my sister’s basket and see a gift I don’t have like being super organized and I am so grateful she has that gift so that she can help me because God was pretty skimpy with that one in my basket. Because we don’t NEED all the things. Or I see your gift of beautiful singing and am so happy that I can enjoy this wonderful gift that I don’t have. But I also need to look back into my own basket and see the gifts that God has given me and decide how I can best use those to make the world a better place. And that is the most important thing for you to do too my dear. Don’t lose time looking around asking, “What is in your basket?” in order to find out if someone got something you feel is better. Instead, look at your basket and take time to say “Thanks so much God!” for what is in yours. He has given you enough. YOU are enough.
As I spoke these words, I was uncomfortably aware that I still could use this very lesson too. The root of many of my worst decisions is trying to keep up with others. I have been working hard, trying to appreciate my own basket and as I have a funny thing has happened. So many things I thought were really important have either left my radar or have fallen way down my priority list which in turn leaves room for those things that are important to grow. I feel a huge sense of relief and happiness for a different way of seeing the world. And my joy has also grown as I have grown to appreciate all the ways other people are making the world a better place in a way that I cannot. We are amazing people my friends, all in so many, many different and equally awesome ways.
Of course I am a work in progress and there is so much of the world waiting to sell me on the fact that I am not enough, I do not have enough. Because of our broken world this will be one of those all the time struggles. But this Easter season, I challenge you to look in your own basket and focus on the gifts found there. What God has given you was intentional. Take time to bask in the joy you will find by focusing on all the ways he has blessed YOU. And remember the world is so happy to be blessed by your gifts…what you are is indeed not only enough but I would dare say it is glorious.