Thankfulness - David Ledbetter

Thankfulness. It changes everything.


There’s always a want and desire for the next thing.  We don’t just see this in baseball, but in the ole’ American Dream. There’s always someone or something telling us, “What you have is not enough. You need this or that to really be satisfied.”


That’s just a big load of stank baloney.  


I have so much. Too much. Way too much in fact. Not just in material items, but also in blessings of relationships and talents and gifts (oh my!). But sometimes it sure doesn’t feel that way.


Looking at where I’m am in my life right now, I’m really trying to evaluate who I am and where I want to be in two years, five years, and ten years.  


It’s really nice to say something like this, but a lot harder to actually make it believable and achievable.  


Most importantly, who is the man I want to be? As my wife says, “Be the man your sons can look up to.” I want to be that guy. And let me just say, if I’m blessed to have sons, they’re going to have to live up to some pretty high character expectations!  


But through this process, one thing has stuck out immensely: the power of thankfulness. It’s critical to be content with the hand you’ve been dealt no matter the circumstances. God gives us so much that we can easily neglect if we’re not paying attention.  Part of what makes America great is the strive for greatness and the hunger for that higher satisfaction.   


Don’t be satisfied where you are. Be content. Be thankful. But always grow. If you’re breathing, you have something to be thankful for. Now grow.  


It’s really easy to get wrapped up in the stuff I don’t have, or what I’m missing out on at the higher levels of this game. It’s even easier to look at what I don’t do on the field. This creates an even greater divide in my thankfulness because I’m missing the whole picture.  


You know, an artist never erases his work once he begins his project.  


Ok, maybe that’s not entirely true, but once an artist begins work on something, the more he tries to cover up his mistakes, the more blatant the mistakes appear.  Think about writing with a pencil and then trying to erase every line that isn’t perfect… you’d be looking at a shabby, likely torn, cloudy finished product.


See the whole picture. Enjoy the whole story of your own life. Imagine it. You are the author of your own classic tale. Are you going to spend your life trying to erase the canvas and end up dirtying the entire thing, or move on and let God produce a story of epic proportions?  


It starts and ends with thankfulness. When I can see the whole thing—who I was, where I’ve been, and where I’m going—I can rest in God’s plan. The whole Bible isn’t centered on specific people or characters, but rather the Person of God. It’s all about Him.  


In my story, I shouldn’t try to be the hero. He is the hero. It’s all about Him! But I often forget this. In the words of Nacho Libre, “Don’t you want a little piece of the glory… see what it tastes like?”


I do! But I’ve had a taste of glory in the world’s eyes and the only thing it left me was wanting. Enough is never enough when it’s about me. That’s why it has to be about Him.  


An appetite for worldly glory and pleasures leaves you hungry with more desire. Like CS Lewis said in the Screwtape letters, seeking worldly things above all will leave you with “an ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure.” Until I can stop and iterate my exact needs, the world will give me new ones, and that’s a dangerous place to be.


Seek Him. Treasure those nearby. Value what you have. Rest in thankfulness. Repeat.


—David Ledbetter


David Ledbetter is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.


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