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I know I have already mentioned it several times… but a theme that just keeps coming up is being thankful and content. Especially with Thanksgiving and Christmas sneaking up so quickly.

Life has this way of being what we make of it. If we go about our lives with an ungrateful attitude and looking for ways to gain everything we can, then we are going to have such a joy-less life. No fun, no smiles, no peace.

If we go through life, though, with the realization that we are so blessed, that makes all the difference. To know that we are Loved by the King makes our hearts want to sing, as Chris Tomlin puts it in his new song “How Can I Keep from Singing?”… To be thankful for what God has blessed us with, and to be happy with what we have. To give to others and Love them. Living like this brings joy. It brings joy not only to ourselves, but also to those around us.

Bringing joy to the people I come in contact with is important to me… I love when I walk down the hall at school and see someone I tutored in math last week, or on an English paper a month ago, or the lady who comes to recruit for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization. She always has a smile for me, and she is so sweet. I always stop and talk when I see someone I know, just to say hi, ask how they are doing, and give them a smile.

I remember one day in youth group (so it was several years ago… since I graduated in ’02…) Pastor Brian was talking about the good Samaritan and how that story applies to our lives. He was talking about Loving our neighbors, and I will forever remember what he said next… Our neighbor is anyone who is in need. ~ And everybody is in need of something. Maybe it is something big, like a car or a home, or maybe it is something else. Maybe they are in need of a friend, just someone to listen. Maybe they need a hug. Maybe all they need is a smile. But everybody is in need of something. There is always something we can share with others. It is so amazing what just a smile can do to brighten someone’s day, week… even their life.

So often it is hard for us as humans to see the big picture. It is really important, though, to keep in mind that the here and now is not the point. We will not always see the results of what we do and say here on earth. God knows how He is going to use these things, though. He has something great in store, if we will just listen to Him and Love others. A smile can change someone’s whole life, even though we may never know it until heaven. But keeping that in mind can help our perspectives to stay in the right place, it can help us focus more on the bigger picture instead of just on what we can see right now.

I guess this took sort of a different turn from what I started out saying. God knew what I needed to say though… He knew what I needed to write and what I need to be learning right now. I love how He can use the strangest things to teach us crucial lessons; that is often what He chooses to do. Maybe I pay attention better when something is out of the ordinary. I don’t know. But I love how He always has something great to teach me, and some different way to teach it to me. 🙂