When I look back over my life, I can see how I’ve changed over the years. There’s been some big life altering instances that shook the foundations of who I was and totally transformed me. Then, there’s been other things that gently molded me into another person – I would like to think a better person. I’m real different than I used to be, and I like this me better.
The old me was frustrated, angry, jealous, manipulative – sometimes all at once, sometimes not. I wasn’t like that all the time, but it sure was frequently. It seemed like for most of my life, doors shut in my face. And, I rarely spent time focusing on what was going right, no wonder I was frustrated! There were plenty of things in my life that were going right at the time, yet I was too busy focusing on the wrong things that I was seldom grateful. What a waste!
I would look at others and their life, and from my outside view, they had it good – so very good. I would examine their perfect lives, their perfect husband, their perfect children, perfect houses, perfect cars, perfect careers, and I would be eaten up with envy. When good things happened to them, I would congratulate them, but on the inside I would say “why wasn’t that me?” Or I might think “I wish that would happen to me.”
I have some extremely dear friends, husband and wife, who some of the nicest people you would ever want to know. They also are some of the godliest people I have ever known. They went through plenty of tough times of their own – primarily with finances and careers. Yet, the whole time they held their head up high, and they exhibited godly witness through every trial that they faced. And, each and every time that I experienced a crisis in my life, they were there, to counsel, to hold my hand, and to walk along side me. They are people who I would say are the best of the very best.
One day I was talking with her on the phone, and I was concerned about how things were going, as they were going through a bit of a career problem at the time. And, that’s when I learned that they had actually struck it rich. I realize that some people may not approve of how they were blessed, but whatever your beliefs are, that’s not the point here. Now, they are not gamblers, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard them talk about going to a casino or the like, but occasionally they would purchase a lottery ticket, here and there. Lo and behold, they won the lottery, $1 Million! All I could think about at the time was that I was so excited for them. My first thought was Praise God! It couldn’t happen to nicer people. And, although this blessing has significantly helped them to recover financially, they haven’t changed.
The old me would have been eaten up with envy. The new me rejoiced, and still rejoices over the blessing that they received. No jealously, no envy. That’s when the realization came to me, just how very much I have changed. I started looking at other areas of my life and I realized that I had been treating others much kinder also. I was expressing gratitude to the many people who don’t get thanked for doing the things that they do – the people who wash windows, or clean bathrooms, or wait tables, or do many other jobs that we take for granted. They perform thankless, never ending tasks that others either don’t want to do, or think that those jobs are beneath their status. I find that I often stop and thank those people who serve in the military, law enforcement, and fire fighters for the sacrifices that they do for us on a daily basis.
But, I cannot credit the change to anything I’ve done, it’s all the Holy Spirit of God working through me. He’s taken my life and changed me into a new person, a better person, a thankful person – one who can truly rejoice in the successes of others. And, as long as I walk on this earth, I will look to my Heavenly Father to continue to mold me into the person that He would have me become, one that attempts to reflect Him wherever I go. Yup, indeed, I’ve struck it rich, and my jackpot was priceless.
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26, ESV)
“But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8, ESV)