I was recently chatting with some friends over Skype, and as we ended our time together, we all agreed how buggy the connection had been. I am always quick to complain when the wi-fi runs slow or when the technology acts up. But after I logged off my computer, a thought entered my mind.
Just imagine if Paul the Apostle had the access to technology that we have today? Imagine how grateful he would be for Skype–slow buffering and all–if he could talk to the church in Ephesus, or to Peter in Jerusalem. What I saw as a pain he would see as a God-send. Perspective certainly changes our attitude.
Because of that, I started to wonder about what else bugs me in life. Traffic, errands, jobs, you name it. How could I turn those annoyances into blessings? I wrote a list of every pet peeve I could imagine. Then, I rewrote every annoyance into a reason to be thankful. It was an amazing process. Some are hokey, others maybe stereotypical, but ultimately the list provided a great exercise in changing my perspective from self-centered to God-centered. So here it is, my list of thanks:
I’m Annoyed Thankful That:
When I pump gas I can just stare off in the distance until the tank’s full.
I’ve never accurately used the term “starving” to describe myself.
When I go to church on Sunday morning I have absolutely no fear of going to jail.
When given the opportunity to run, walk, climb, or jump, my response has always been “I won’t” not, “I can’t.“
I grew up in a small town in a rural setting.
I can instantly see the faces of those I love by touching a piece of glass a couple times.
I can measure distance in minutes, not days.
When I’m hungry, it has always been “I want ___________ kind of food” and has never been “I want food."
My diseases have only ever been inconveniences.
I can take a hot shower.
I have access to every great work of art, literature, and music in all of history.
The weather only impacts my mood, not my livelihood.
I live under a government so good that I can freely complain about it.
I work at a job where I can teach God’s Word.
I live a life so privileged that my favorite football team losing a game can be disappointing.
The God that led the Israelites in the wilderness literally dwells inside me and leads me in my wandering too.
This list will certainly grow. But what would your list of annoyances look like? And what would it look like if you tried to change every annoyance into a blessing?
This in itself is a picture of redemption. We take what was bad and turn it to good. We change our curses into blessings. When we do this, we emulate what Christ did for us: becoming a curse so that we could later be blessed by Him.
Ultimately, when we choose to be annoyed or thankful, we are choosing whom to serve. When we are annoyed, it is because we see everything else as failing in its purpose to serve us. But when we are thankful, it is because we see everything else as a provision to serve Him. Attitude reflects perspective. Where is our perspective focused?
Resting in Him,