“WHY Count Our Blessings

“The WHY . . . ? . . . Series”

“The Why . . .? . . . Series” is not about answers; WHY’s intention is to help us explore, expand, and to accept the courageous invitation to grow through the actual journey we call our lives.”

“WHY count our blessings?”

After rinsing out the coffee pot I saw one of our sinks wasn’t draining very well. Not sure what was causing the problem, I went to look for some liquid drain cleaner. Not finding any, I noticed when I returned how the drain wasn’t 100% plugged- just draining very slowly. “Now what?” I thought.

Looking around I noticed in the area where our foster grandchildren do their artwork, we had the inner tube for a paper towel roll begging to be used. (Lots of things in my house talk to me- discussion about that is for another time). I brought the tube over to the sink, put some more water in the sink so I’d have more liquid to force downward, stuck the tube into the drain (it fit perfectly) and (no surprise here) used my considerable hot air to blew into the tube . . . and . . . the water drained immediately like it is supposed to! Success is a wonderful thing- especially when I realize the problem wasn’t insurmountable and the solution was fairly simple.

What problems in our life, at first glance, feel insurmountable? Do we quickly feel stumped and overwhelmed? Do we believe, without investigation, that the solution will be complicated and well above our pay grade?

I could be a whiney child and quite a complainer when life seemed all plugged up in my youth. My mentor and spiritual director as a child, which I learned in hindsight, was my Grandma. With only a 6th grade education but a Doctorate in Life Long Learning and another Doctorate in Keeping it Simple, she would tell me “Why don’t you count your blessings!” It wasn’t a question or a request. Granted, she could have said, “Why don’t you shut your mouth and open your heart to God!” I wasn’t receptive to wisdom (and can still be quite stubborn and ignorant to simple solutions) because I seemed to love to whine even though it never produced a bit of good in my life- still doesn’t!

What has produced good in my life is realizing how plugged up I can become when I’m so full of myself and my limited view of life. I’m no different than a sink which won’t drain. My thoughts can stink and my view of the world can become quite stagnant and putrid . . . and what has been most helpful? Counting my blessings.

If you looked at the April Newsletter- printed inside are a variety of blessing suggestions to help navigate this “Sheltering-In-Place” lifestyle we now face. Is this a time when we feel all plugged up and stagnant? Is this a time of looking at life in a more simple way? Can we discover new ways of thinking, speaking, and acting which can help us flow better in our connection with God, ourself, and others?

One of the options in the newsletter to help our flow is the page with “Shelter-In-Place” Bingo. One of the options under the letter “I” (for Investigate) is to “Write out 100 blessing you have in your life.” Notice it doesn’t ask for the blessings you “might have” or “hope to have” or “should have”; it asks you to write out the 100 blessings you do have! The 100 blessings which, if appreciated will greatly help the flow of life and to guide us to keep it simple and to become more alive in a positive way.

WHY count our blessings?

– To really see life as having more good in it than we traditionally realize.

– To counter our whining and complaining with the fact we do have a lot of good to be thankful for.

– To give us strength and courage to trust God is living and active and helpful right now.

– To connect us with God in foundational ways as we connect with God in the times of blessing and the times of struggle- appreciating how faithful God always is.

Also on the “Shelter-In-Place” Bingo sheet- at the bottom of the “B” (for Bible) column is “Read a book of your choice from the Bible” you could choose to read Job- at least chapters 1 & 2. After Job has literally lost everything and everyone but his wife and his health (which will get attacked in chapter 2), he states in Job 1: 20-21: 

Then Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell on the ground and worshipped. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

God willing, none of us will have to go through all that Job went through, however, the gift Job invites us to look at is how keeping an inventory of how God has blessed us and is blessing us reminds us to keep life simple and to trust God will continue to provide guidance and wisdom in ways far better than whining and complaining and giving up ever could.

God’s peace as we learn to continually count our blessings,

Pastor Jim