Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34
Did you ever trade something from your lunch box when you were a kid? I remember trying to trade tuna salad on Friday’s but it never worked. Apples and oranges never seemed to give me much negotiation power either. I do remember the day I made the trade of the decade. On that memorable day mom put 2 fresh Chocolate Chip cookies in my lunch and I was able to trade them for a Twinkie! I was so thrilled and I couldn’t believe the kid fell for those homemade cookies while I walked away with that little package of golden deliciousness. I’d never had a Twinkie but they were store made; something we didn’t have at our house so I was sure they must be amazing! I took a bite and I was instantly disappointed but I didn’t let on! As the afternoon wore on I learned a valuable lesson about assuming things were better just because they looked fancy, expensive and well presented. That was the last time I ever made a lunch trade and I never told my mom what I’d done because I thought it would hurt her feelings. I also learned that day that homemade by hands that love you trumps everything so be very careful about the value of what you’re trading!
Since the disappointing Twinkie trade of the 70’s, I’ve become a much more skilled trader; I’m pretty good at not winding up with unwanted stuff. Recently I learned from a good friend that sometimes you actually can trade away negative things. I have some jealousy I’d like to get rid of but it isn’t one of those things somebody else wants so it often just sits around my heart and stinks things up. It causes me to judge and envy and resent sometimes. None of those things are attractive, productive or “disciple-ish” but I didn’t know what to do with it. That’s where my friend came to the rescue. She had one simple idea from a favorite Pastor and she gladly shared (not traded) the advice with me. She said that jealousy could be traded away to the Father who loved me with all His heart. The trade was simple; give him all my jealousy…in exchange for gratefulness.
It was that simple! The pastor told her that the bigger jealousy is the smaller our gratefulness is so you trade one for the other. I’ve been working with my new trade and it’s true. If I’m jealous about someone else’s stuff or opportunities then I’m not being grateful for my own. If I’m busy comparing my situation, bank balance or work load with the next person’s I’m not being grateful for all the blessings God has given me. When you look at it that way I realize how absolutely and completely LUCKY I am and that there isn’t one single thing in my life I’d trade for a fancier, more expensive, newer, and flashier ANYTHING! Grateful is way better than jealous. Reminds me of how much better mom’s cookies were than that stupid Twinkie. I may not have marble countertops but I have an awesome husband who is my rock. I may not have a dream vacation to take but I have three kids and a room full of middle lovelies that are greater than I ever dreamed. I may not have a closet filled with fancy clothes but my body is wrapped with little people hugs and the joy and love of a building full of kids each and every day. I may not have treasures to be sold but I have freedom, love, faith and a life I get to share with friends, family and a community I love. Jealous…that’s as crazy as a Twinkie snagged in a bad trade!
A Seed To Plant: Start a list of things you are grateful for! Include it all, big stuff, small stuff and everything in between. Keep the list handy and add to it every time you think of something and use it to help you trade the negative things; the things that pull us away from the love of the Father.
Blessings on your day!