Why is there joy in being a grateful person instead of an expectant one? As humans, and lots of times as women, we are coached to navigate life with the idea that things make us happy. Biggie’s always said it right, mo’ money mo’ problems – but it’s not just until recently in life that my mind has grasped the concept. Money isn’t bad, it’s when money blindfolds us and we lose concepts of gratefulness and humility that it unravels our hearts – and for me, it took a really long time to realize it. In fact, it took becoming poor to grasp what gratefulness is, and how truly – it doesn’t revolve around money at all.
One year ago if Ron was to show his love for me, it was bringing home a no water soy chai. They’re my favorite, and it didn’t matter how much I really truly desired a drink – it was the comfort of a chai in my hand. Or the comfort of a new pair of shoes, buying new soft towels, or going out to try a new restaurant. Funny enough, although I was sure those things brought me joy, I was never fully content after finishing my chai, or wearing my new shoes, wrapping up in a newly soft towel, or finishing an excellent meal at a new dinner spot. It was like a drug. From what I’ve heard, taking hard drugs for the first time brings an amazing experience – but one that is never adequately felt again. It takes more drugs to get the high you want, and therefore the dirty cycle begins. Hello modern America – consumerism. Rhymes with som-super-ism and tastes like cocaine. (I would imagine)
When Ron and I moved to Salem we said goodbye to a large chunk of income. At the time we were like, “Totes! Here comes saving more and spending less!” and when I moved to Salem I started having with-drawls. It’s a human internal temper tantrum. I fought with my heart for relying so much on “stuff” that I let my pride swallow my sorrows and became bitter. I had built my life on expectancies, and now life was letting me down. Hey life, we’ve been bffz for like 23 years and, like, stop, cause like, I’m talking like this right now, and I’m going to tell on you.
Call me crazy because this is going to sound insane, but then God spoke to me. Not in a dream on a white horse, but more like listen girlfriend, get it together. It was not long into living in Salem that I had two special people in my life give me a chapter in the bible to read. For me. From God. And I was all… um, I’ll read it later. (big mistake)
Later came and I was billowing with resentment for arbitrary things. We can’t afford soy latte’s, we can’t afford to buy a new car seat, and we can’t afford anything besides rent – and I opened up my bible to read “from God”, and thought, holy sh*t. Along with this chapter given to me, there were some amazingly true words,“God is going to provide for you in this new season of life, and he wants you to be expectant of it”. In my head: provisions = money and money sounds like a trip to Mexico so WE’RE GOING TO MEXICO and I’ll buy that cute new suit from Anthro online. Thx, God, K Bye.
But, like the God I grew up learning about, it turns out he threw a wrench in my plan to make me learn. So, about a month went by and I started to really grasp what God was trying to teach me. Gratefulness. Being grateful with really, really, small things. Which, the longer we’ve been poor those really small things are starting to become much bigger than I once thought.
God has been providing so much for us lately it has been blowing my mind and simultaneously making me realize, God is real. From date nights being handed to us, baby items being given to us, friendships being built, and items needing replacement being handed to us (ie: someone handed me like-new pampered chef pots and pans the other day) it hasn’t been the cold-hard-cash I expected to receive when I heard God would “provide”, but it’s been so much better. It’s taught me how to be expectant through God and not through my paycheck. To be grateful to get that one gingerbread latte I had this season and really truly feel blessed to drink it. To be grateful that although our “things” aren’t updated versions Finley has toys and clothes and a hot shower everyday – and why was I so hard on my life a year ago?
I got mixed up with the wrong crowd – the idea that money buys you happiness and you have to keep on getting and buying and purchasing and receiving to be grateful and live with joy. When in reality, I took a drug and all I wanted was more.
God told me that when my heart shifted I would see things new. And I do.
“So you’ll go out in joy,
you’ll be led into a whole and complete life.
The mountains and hills will lead the parade,
bursting with song.
All the trees of the forest will join the procession,
exuberant with applause.
No more thistles, but giant sequoias,
no more thornbushes, but stately pines—
Monuments to me, to God,
living and lasting evidence of God.”