We have over 20 grandchildren so there’s lots of interaction between the grandchildren and Grandpa and Grandma. We hope we influence them in positive ways. I also hope our interactions affect Grandpa and Grandma in positive ways too, like such an interaction did on one particular occasion.
We had been on a day-long excursion with one of our granddaughters. It had been a wonderful day. The weather had been perfect, and we had seen and done most of what we wanted to see and do. However, on the drive back home our granddaughter, sitting in the back seat, lamented that she wasn’t able to get a stuffed animal at a souvenir shop. Grandma and I had denied her request because the small stuffed creatures were priced excessively high. You’d think they had been stuffed with dollar bills! She also was sorry that we had to miss one event because of her desire to attend another event at the same time. She also commented on a couple of other aspects of the day that hadn’t quite gone as she would have liked.
Grandma and I encouraged her to think about the many events and experiences of the day that were wonderful and to focus on these. It seemed she took our advice seriously for the tone of her sharing about the day changed to being more positive.
I felt good about how we had sought to help her choose to process the day’s experiences in a more positive way. It was a good life lesson. Then, hours later, it hit me, much like the proverbial ton of bricks; I still need to learn that same life lesson all over again!
It’s so easy to grasp on to something to grumble about. I can be blessed by God in many ways and yet fixate on that which I wish were different. This fixation takes the focus off the good in my life and is dishonoring to God, who gives all good things.
True, some circumstances that aren’t the way we’d like them to be can be changed, and many should be; there’s a place for discontent if it can be productive and lead to positive results. On the other hand, much discontent is counter-productive and only keeps us from living life well.
How do we change how we look at situations and respond to them? What Grandma and I suggested to our granddaughter is that we can choose what we keep going over in our mind. This God-given power of choice is a wonderful gift from God! We have the capacity to think about what we think about, how we think about it, and to think differently! It’s also crucial we ask God for His help in doing this.
It was easy for me to see how my grandchild’s focus was not at all helpful to her well-being. Not so easy is seeing that my focus is often misdirected. My granddaughter, sitting in the back seat of our car, reminded me of this!
“How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.” Psalm 31:19