I am Thankful for… a God Who Satisfies in a Disappointing World

November 25, 2016

When first asked to finish this sentence, my head spun with the hundreds of directions I could take this article—my marriage, toddler, growing baby bump, family, church home, health…the list could go on.

I truly have so much to be thankful for.

After a few weeks of wondering what to share, I had decided on a topic and was preparing to sit down to write. I was lingering over how I would be able to adequately express my gratitude for our incredible church community when I received a text. It was nothing unusual or traumatic, but joyous—or, at least, it was supposed to be. A friend had shared fun and exciting news—but, for a moment, I had felt deflated. Annoyed. Somehow her success seemed an attack on my state of thankfulness.

Well, good for her…must be nice.

Normally I would just move on—shake my head and scold myself for responding that way—but not this time. This resentment was something I had been noticing in myself for months. I was sure that it had always been there, but lately, I’d been more deeply bothered by it than before. It would appear that facing our own sin-induced ugliness is not quite so easy as an HGTV Fixer-Upper episode.

Why can’t I be fully happy for the people around me?

Every time that I try to determine why my heart responds this way, I come to the same conclusion: in reality, I would never trade my world. I would never want another’s life. Yet still, for some reason, jealousy sneaks in, pride trumps gratitude, and I reject the fullness of the identity that Christ offers me.

I think this is what pop culture has deemed “FOMO”—the Fear Of Missing Out—and I think it’s a disease that is much more serious than the lighthearted joke it’s meant to be. Because our worlds are constantly on display through social media, we are continuously lured in to wanting more, to making comparisons between our lives and theirs, and to fearing that our lives are somehow not enough. Most of us are guilty of presenting only our good hair days and filtering our lives in a way to hide our faults behind our screens. We all know this to be true, yet the cycle continues.

I wish I could leave it here—blame it on social media, take a three-day hiatus, and say that I tried to change. But the root of what is happening in my heart in these gut-reactions of jealousy is much deeper than a social media-fueled problem. It is spiritual.

God, help me be truly content.

I love my life and the journey it has already been; yet at times my heart can unhealthily long for the things that others have. In moments where I should be rejoicing for others, I find myself trapped in a pride-fueled pity party—giving in to the lie that my life is not enough.

 Who am I actually living for?

In these moments, I am not seeing myself the way God sees me and I am living for my own purpose. But what if I was able to fully step into being the woman that He created me to be by embracing each part of my personality, physical appearance, and current circumstances as the pieces of a life hand-crafted by God—each piece beautifully and purposefully chosen. How much more boldly would I live if I saw my life through the lens of my Creator?

Oh, how I long to live this way.

Falling for the trap of finding our worth and value in earthly things is nothing new. “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:26). Jesus shared this deep wisdom with His disciples long before social media-fueled comparison was ever an issue.

My great-grandmother recited this verse to me almost every week when I was growing up. I didn’t get it then—I thought that it sounded like a morbid threat. But as I have grown to know Jesus over the years, I’ve learned to see His loving and protective heart in these words. Living for the world is a dead-end— a path to destruction that will continuously leave us hungering for more. But Jesus invites us into something much more satisfying.

Jesus died that I might live and chose my life to reflect His own—what an incredible privilege.

“Jesus died as us so we could live as him” (Putty Putman).

God, help me to walk in this truth.

We don’t serve a God of limited resources—the fact that He has poured blessing into the life of our neighbor doesn’t mean that He doesn’t have any left for us. Each of our lives are unique, and our journeys are irreplaceable. I believe that God has so much more for us if we would only choose to step fully into our own lives and kick the habit of lusting after the lives of others.

I desire to live in true thankfulness and gratitude—for every piece of the woman whom God created me to be. Yet it is counted false if the successes of those around me cause me to doubt my own identity. The triumphs of others are not an attack on our own lives, but they should be seen as victories in the plenty and goodness of Jesus.

I am thankful for my identity and worth in my living Savior.  

About the Author
  • Chelsey Nugteren, a 2011 Dordt grad, is a freelance writer and marketing consultant. Passionate about encouraging young adults toward Christ-centered marriage and relationships, Chelsey speaks on these topics and also works with Authentic Intimacy, a ministry sharing God's beautiful design for sexuality. Chelsey lives in central Iowa with her husband and daughter. They are avid campers, adventure seekers, and coffee drinkers. Twitter: @MrsChelseyRae

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