This article comes on the wings of a challenging dream I had a few nights ago. In the dream, I received some tragic news regarding someone I care about deeply. I woke up in despair, but as soon as I recognized that what I had just experienced had been a dream I took heart and calmed down.
The dream hung with me throughout the day. Difficult dreams always do that, they mark us – they tell us what our deepest fears are. It’s up to us to listen to them or ignore them.
That dream told me that I should be grateful for every moment I get to share with the people I love. Worry, doubt, anxiety, despair over the future, they all rob us of the peace of mind we need to be fully Present with those we love.
The Power Of Gratitude
Gratitude has the power to vanquish all feelings of scarcity. When I’m going through difficult experiences I do my best to take the time to thank God for what is coming into my life. In infinite wisdom, God knows what you need and when you need it. We are capable of handling anything that comes into our life, because that’s God’s will and who can know better than God?
By taking the time to pause and reflect on what we have now and being grateful for whatever we find, we tune our mind into higher perspectives.
As a personal example, several months ago I was experiencing a bit of anxiety over the future. It was a low-key anxiety, one which simmered and bubbled in the back of my awareness. Whenever something like that happens it me I find it useful to sit down and write about it. Making the unconscious conscious is the only way to make it lose its hold on you.
Anyway, after I wrote I felt calmer and I was able to see my situation from a different, higher, perspective. At that moment I decided that I was going to reach out to a friend whom I hadn’t spoken to in a while and express my gratitude to him for being in my life. I sent him the message, he responded and we talked for a bit.
A few weeks later that same friend messaged me offering me some contract work. The type of work was right up my alley, so I gratefully accepted. Since then, my friend has sent several other contracts my way.
Gratitude Tunes Us Into Abundance
That personal example is the most salient I am currently aware of. It points to a truth about the way God works. This truth is expressed in the Bible, in the gospel of Matthew, 25:29:
“For to everyone who has shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.”
Can you see the truth that verse is expressing?
To those who have more shall be given. To those who don’t have, even what they have shall be taken away.
Someone can live in material abundance, yet if they live as if they are in scarcity, it won’t matter – they will be miserable and what they do have will be taken away.
And the converse is also true. Someone can have little, yet live as if they have everything they want, in gratitude, and more will come to them.
Gratitude tunes us into God’s abundance. It gently places us in the best place to receive. And as we receive more, we can give more – empowering a cycle of abundance which follows us wherever we go.
And it all starts with being grateful. Being grateful for the blessings and challenges God bestows upon us communicates to God that we have faith. Faith (or belief) is
The same applies to our relationships.
When Was The Last Time You Talked To That Person?
Is it just me, or does it seem like the older we get, the more difficult it becomes to find people to deeply connect with?
I remember how when I was in high school and college, great friends materialized out of nowhere. Then, as I entered the adult working world, friends dropped away and there were fewer genuine friends to step in.
That happened to me and it has happened to several people I know. What happened to all the friends?
This falling away of relationships is why it’s paramount to be grateful for them and to express that gratitude to those people. There are so many ways of doing this:
- Send an instant message to that person telling them you’re grateful for your relationship
- Send an email
- Send a letter or postcard
- Call them
- Plan a visit
Relationships are living things, they must be nurtured if they are going to thrive – otherwise they wilt and die. This is true for our friends and for our family.
Do You Realize That Everyone You Know Will Be Gone One Day?
Take a moment to let that question sink in. How humbling is it to realize that everyone you know will one day cease to be? Whether you’re the last one standing or not, you and everyone you know will one day be dead.
Humans define our world through our relationships. Everything we do, we do within a context of relationships; to our family, our spouse, our friends, our neighbors, our coworkers, our customers.
Our relationships embed us in a network of meaning.
Now imagine that each and every one of those threads in your network vanishes, one by one.
This actually happens. It’s called getting old. Time is our master and it is relentless. As you read these words your relationships are slowly decaying, because you and everyone you share them with is also decaying.
There is growth in life and there is decay – these two forces are balanced for and against each other and every day we walk the gossamer line between them.
Knowing this, what’s stopping you? What’s stopping you from being grateful for everything you have now, for this unrepeatable, irreplaceable, precious now that is all you will ever have?
What’s stopping you from expressing the deepest gratitude for the people in your life?
What Excuses Do You Make?
- “I don’t have time.”
- “I’m so busy.”
- ”My career comes first.”
- “This friend/parent/brother/cousin knows I care for them.”
- “There’s always tomorrow.”
- “They must be as busy as I am.”
These are some of the excuses I make. But I bet they are some of the excuses you make, too. Human beings are more alike than we are different.
Recognize them for what they are – excuses. Did you take time to imagine a world in which all the people you know are dead? How did that feel?
How did it feel to know that all those friends you see on social media will one day be gone? It’s going to happen. There’s no escaping it. It’s coming for all of us.
When you overlay that certain reality with your current reality, what happens?
Do the things that matter clarify?
I believe they do.
What Are You Waiting For?
We all have an expiration date. Death is our constant companion, it sits on our shoulder, whispering into our ear – we know our days are numbered. Yet we live as if we were going to live forever. But that’s an illusion, one which helps us cope with our mortality, but an illusion nonetheless.
Because we believe this illusion, we believe we have all the time in the world. We switch the important things with the unimportant. We get bogged down in things that don’t matter, while the things that do matter slip through our fingers, grains of sand lost in the flow of time.
I’m as guilty of this as the next person. I’m just the one writing about it.
So what are you waiting for? What is stopping you from putting the unimportant stuff in its place and bringing what’s important to the fore of your attention?
- What show could be more important than calling your parents and telling them you love them?
- What bit of news is more essential than sending a postcard to your brother?
- What work project could be so indispensable that it can’t be made aside to see a friend?
Final Thoughts – Take Action!
I invite you now to take the time to contact someone you care for. Someone with whom you’ve shared a laugh or a tender moment. Let them know that you care; that you’re grateful for their existence.
Sometimes we believe that just because people are busy they wouldn’t want to be reminded that we love them. That’s a false assumption. Have you ever received a message from someone telling you that they appreciate and value you? If you have, how did it make you feel?
I bet it made you feel good. We love to be reminded that those we love keep us in their hearts. We didn’t care that we had other things going on, we cared that someone took time out of their day to remind us that they care for us. That they’re grateful for us.
So who are you going to contact?
To our wealth and success.