Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I've Got It Good!

            As the two bouquets of flowers that I received (one from the stranger in the store and one from my friend, in the November post “A Ray of Sunshine”) began to fade, I went to Hobby Lobby to find silk flowers to match them so that I could have a permanent reminder of this special gift that I was given.  I wanted to be able to glimpse the flowers throughout the day and think of the people who gave them to me, who noticed me and that I needed a pick-me-up.  And so I set out to put together a similar bouquet of silk flowers.
            And I had fun searching for the right ones, considering colors and shapes.  I worked on it for a good, long while.  And when I thought I had picked the right flowers, I went to the back of the store to find something else I needed.  As I did, I calculated the cost of the flowers.  Full price, they came to about $60.  But since it was 50% off, if would only be $30.  How wonderful, I thought, that they happened to be on sale the day I chose to go out and buy them. 
            But you know the funny thing?
            As I walked around holding the flowers, I caught a glimpse of myself in one of the mirrors with the bouquet in my hands.  And my immediate thought was, What am I doing?  I look so stupid walking around holding a bouquet of flowers that I’m going to buy . . . for myself.  $30 on myself!?!  I can’t spend $30 on myself.  For what?  My happiness?  I can’t spend that money on something just to make myself happy.

            I began marching to the front of the store to return the flowers.  But then I asked myself (or maybe the Spirit asked me), Why am I really buying these flowers? 
            I was buying them because I needed the reminder that God tapped a stranger on the shoulder, causing them to notice me and surprise me with a bright bouquet of flowers on a dark, winter’s day (which never happened before), not to mention a “dark night of the soul.”  I needed to remember what she said . . . “Because you deserve it.”  For so long, I had been telling myself that I deserved all the problems and struggles; but that day, God let me know that I “deserved” a gift, an unexpected blessing.  Not because I did anything special to deserve it, just because.  I wanted to be reminded daily that I have a friend who cared enough that I was struggling emotionally to also bring me flowers . .  just a couple days after  I got the bouquet from the stranger.  I mean, how often does that happen?  Never.  What a blessing!  Above all, I was buying them because I wanted to remember God’s goodness to me, that there are so many good things even in the midst of the bad.  So many times, I can only see the things that bring me down, but I was going to buy a daily reminder of the good!
            It was ironic to me that God used those two bouquets to tell me that I needed to be able to accept a blessing every now and then, and yet here I was struggling with spending a little money on myself in order to create a reminder of that.   
            In the end, my desire for a reminder to notice and be thankful for God’s goodness won out over my disdain of spending money on myself.  And I bought them (although I did trim it down to $25).  And I went home and arranged them in a beautiful vase that was given to me by another friend years ago, one that I never had a reason to use yet.  And I put it on my fridge. 
            Lord, I prayed, I need this bouquet to say something specific to me every time I see it.  A specific phrase.  What should it say to me?  
            [I’m big into visual reminders around the house.  I have a picture of tomatoes to remind me to hunt for blessings (in the July post “Hunting for Tomatoes”).  I have quotes scattered around, such as “I just want to finish well” (from the Jan post of the same title) and “God is good . . . all the time.  And all the time . . . God is good!” (from the July post “Have You Seen the Song?”)  I have a wall that I painted that didn’t turn out well and I call it my Being Human Wall, reminding me that being imperfect is part of being human and I need to go easy on myself (from the Jan post “Beautiful Failure”).  I have a rock that I “stole” from a campground.  I call it my Humility Rock, a reminder that I am so human and so capable of doing the wrong thing, just like everyone else (from the July post "My Humility Rock").  Visual reminders are critical to do when you are someone who gets into your own head too much, bringing you down into the dumps.  Reminders like this snap me back into a better (or more humbled, as in the case of my Humility Rock) state of mind.] 
            And as I thought and prayed about it, this is what the bouquet of silk flowers on my fridge seemed to be saying to me . . . “I’ve got it good!”
            We can afford to spend $25 dollars on fake flowers . . . on something just because it makes me happy (not that I ever really do that, other than this time) . . . I’ve got it good!
            They are sitting in a vase on a fridge that is full of food . . . I’ve got it good!
            I have four wonderful boys that eat that food, helping them grow up healthy and nourished . . . I’ve got it good!
            That fridge is in a warm house that keeps my family safe from the elements and gives us a place to call home (even if it is in need of repairs) . . . I’ve got it good!
            I’ve got a great husband who has a job that he willingly goes to every day (even if he’d rather be doing other things) so that we can afford that fridge, the food, and the home . . . I’ve got it good!
            I’ve got a friend that cares enough to do something thoughtful like buying me a beautiful bouquet for no special reason . . . I’ve got it good!
            I’ve got a Heavenly Father that cares about my hurts and that notices when I need a little sunshine sent my way . . . I’ve got it good!

            As I am coming out of the emotional funk I’ve been in, I want to be deliberate about shifting my focus this next year from all that brings me down to all the ways that “I’ve got it good!”  I can’t think of a better way to spend $25.    
            Thank You, Lord!  Thank You for all the ways I’ve got it good!  May I be deliberate about noticing them and thanking You for them!  Good things are always there.  Give me the eyes to see!