Off and on for many years, Mark and I would have conversations about our house or his job and how he wanted a bit more fulfillment from his work or a maybe a different house, but we resisted those thoughts because they must mean we’re ungrateful for what we have. We knew he had a great job and that we had a great home and those two things were serving us very well. Often Mark would tell me how great his company was and how he enjoyed the partners and that everything was good. I knew all those things were true, yet he didn’t feel as fulfilled in a few areas as I knew he wanted to. He wasn’t using some of his strengths that he truly wanted to develop. So those conversations in hind-sight, although completely true, I think were somewhat for the purpose of convincing himself to love everything about it. Deep down, his soul (and mine) wasn’t altogether buying it.
We would have similar conversations about our house every time we went on a walk. As we would approach our house we would say things like: “Isn’t it beautiful? It’s such a great home. I just love it.” All true. I think we both wanted to see all the good and feel grateful and content, yet deep down, we were possibly trying to convince ourselves that it was perfect because we thought that wanting something different was wrong.
Circumstance: I have a house
Thought: I would love to have a house with some different features, but wanting more than I have must mean I’m ungrateful for my current house.
Action: Inaction and resisting desires
Result: Internal debates and staying in current circumstances
Feeling gratitude and wanting more are not mutually exclusive. In fact, I believe that when we are grateful and at the same time open to receiving more, we can grow. Mark and I had been grateful, truly grateful, but we were also resisting thoughts that we could or should have more.
Gratitude chart (I’m totally making this up right now)
Ungrateful & wanting more: never satisfied
Ungrateful & not wanting more: depressing
Grateful & not wanting more: no growth
Grateful & wanting more: growth
I like to think of this like a student who is learning something that they are truly excited about; they are loving what they are learning in the moment, and yet they want to learn more. Wanting more clearly does not indicate ingratitude for what they are currently experiencing. They are grateful and wanting more at the same time, and this will result in growth. That’s how it works!
Circumstance: I have a house
Thought: I love my house and it serves me well. A house with some different features will serve my family and others in new ways that we would enjoy.
Feeling: gratitude and wanting more
Action: Finding a house, making an offer, moving
Result: New house is serving our family and friends in new ways
We are here to grow. We can experience growth little-by-little as we go through the course of time without making any substantial changes. We can also deliberately choose what we want to create in our lives and choose the ways we want to grow. It’s all good, and it’s all thanks to our loving Heavenly Father who created a way for us to improve. I’m so grateful for it all!