We have recently rejoined the ranks of morning carpool families at our school. I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal but I despise traffic. It makes me anxious and cranky and it makes me talk to myself (more than usual).
Friday morning I just knew it was going to be even worse than usual because the traffic officer who usually manages traffic into and out of the school wasn’t on site. Normally I have to cross traffic to get out of school and on my way home but when the officer isn’t there I turn the opposite way and take a long route home. The long route is littered with traffic lights and I think we have already established how I feel about traffic so you can imagine how thrilled I was to use that route. But I resigned myself to a tedious trip home and made the turn.
Of course I got stopped at the very first light where I had to make a left turn but I was the first in line so I could cope with that. The light went green, I headed on my way and cruised on down the street. I made it through about four lights without stopping before I realized the route had been entirely green – even through two notoriously chaotic intersections. I started to slow down for a red light when it flipped. There was just one more light! And what do you know, it was green too!! But I still had to make a left into my neighborhood and there was always traffic coming down the hill to hold me up so what were the chances? Clear sailing right into my neighborhood and up the driveway!
I know it seems really, REALLY ridiculous but I said a prayer of thanksgiving. I even said, “God I know this sounds really silly but…” But here’s the thing. I don’t think God thought it was silly at all. He wants us to be grateful for everything in our lives. Every thing. I know there are people out there calculating the amazing algorithm that started with that first light and how it timed out and how God really had nothing to do with it. But my point isn’t the lights.
Luke 16:10 & 11
He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?
Now I know this passage is about stewardship of money but work with me here. Consider how many words you will communicate today – verbally, written, or even with your facial expression. Will they be positive and edifying? (Ephesians 4:29) What will you spend your money on today? Will it ultimately work to the kingdom call? How do you plan to use your energy today? Is the end result pleasing to God?
I wrestle with all of the above but one of the areas I struggle to be most faithful is in gratitude. It’s incredibly easy to complain about all that has gone wrong (which really means “not my way”) but too often I overlook the moments that have gone right (aka “my way”). Even if it means just being thankful for green lights.
Here’s the challenge for today. At least once an hour I encourage you to find something to be grateful for and tell God thank you. Let’s see if I can find a few examples. I woke up twenty minutes before the kids had to roll out this morning and we made it out the door in twenty-five minutes. Oh how grateful can a mom be?! The cool cartoons are on this morning so I get to sing while I write. Score! The coffee is still hot in the pot! Double overtime, winning score!! I get to go celebrate a friend with a bunch of other friends this morning – doesn’t get any better!
I know. They all seem quite silly, right? But it’s the little things.