Have you been seeking more in life? Praying for blessings? Memorized The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life (affiliate link)? Does your life feel like this image? Life passing you buy and your glass is covered in rain or tears?
Are you ready to change? God is ready to bless you and act in your life, family, work, and friendships.
Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.
—1 Chronicles 4:10
I have prayed that on many occasions, “Oh that You would bless me indeed”. When I was in the grips of my addictions. When I felt that I was all alone. When I believed all would reject me as I faced my character defects. When I was released from prison. When I was released from my job.
Every time, every one, hurt and surrounded me with fear. Everyone is in the past but I still pray that short prayer on a regular basis: at dinner with the family, at church with a small group, by myself in my daily reflection time, driving, showering, going to bed, dreaming, suffering, rejoicing. It fits at every time: “Oh that You would bless me indeed”
Some times I feel like “God granted him what he requested.” and some times I don’t. When I don’t, I know he has a better plan. . . ok, not always. Sometimes I wonder, “Alright, what is your better plan. Give me faith.”
I love those moments where he fills me with contentment. I have that feeling of peace. I really feel that temporary place we live in is truly temporary. Those are the time where I can do anything. Those are the times when I’m truly aligned with Him. If you’ve never felt this way on your own, maybe you’ve experienced it after a great movie. A movie where some simple person change the world, their town. . . maybe just their family on only one person or themselves. That feeling of, I can do something meaningful. That is the high I am talking about. Unfortunately, for me, the movie high is about gone the next morning.
But, it is a starting point, something to seek after day in and day out. Something that keeps me striving for that alignment and I don’t have to be a millionaire to get it. Money can’t buy it.
You can buy it with your behavior, habits, and choices. But in this world of immediate returns the formula is complicated. In this human body of immediate returns it isn’t easy. Have you seen the Stanford Marshmallow Test?
Stanford University (wikipedia) did a study in the 1960s and 70s. They sat kids in a room with a marshmallow for them. if they could wait 15 minutes without eating that marshmallow, they would be given a second marshmallow. You can see the age of the kids in the study and it didn’t surprise me that only 7% of them earned the second marshmallow.
At the time that was the end of the study but years later they decided to look up the participants and check how they are doing. The results astonished me. I guessed, as you might have as well, that the 7% were more successful than the other 93%. But it wasn’t just OK, they’re a bit better. The results were exponential. They were many multiples more successful than their counterparts according to BMI (body mass index), SAT (the pre-college exam) scores and average income. I couldn’t find the exact findings I read about this week but I’ll add it in when I come upon them again.
So what is my take away this week? Be the right kind of person. Have good character, sound integrity, practiced discipline, and a positive attitude. Delay your gratification in the now by practicing these characteristics and you will be more successful.
You’re homework: post here some of your delayed gratification victories and immediate gratification times of learning. Remember there is winning and learning because there is no loss when trying to discern and follow our Lord.
Delayed gratification…no success stories come to mind. This is a very scary topic for me; deep rooted in my childhood issues. It is a very vulnerable sore spot when it comes to most things, but food especially. Waiting for something that you don’t know if you will ever get deals with the trust and security that you have placed in those who were responsible for caring for you. If those who you trusted could not provide what I need when I need it, then I will take care of it for myself. And I can always count on me…
I know my Father in heaven will provide my every need. But those things are just the big ticket items; shelter, work, grace, mercy, forgiveness, healing, etc. But those little details of my life…can I bother Him with those? Can I give those over to Him also?
Thanks for sharing. He doesn’t feel “bothered” when we come to him with “those” and yes you can give them over to Him. But, you already know it isn’t easy.
I’ve always heard that if God is your co-pilot, you’re in the wrong seat. I wish I could get that through my skull!
That’s a sharp way of thinikng about it.
I have had a lot of experience with delayed gratification. Being the youngest of three kids, I was always waiting to get “tall enough” or “old enough” to do the things they did. I also spent a good deal of time asking “Why Me?”, “Why can’t I have what I want NOW?” and complaining that “it’s not fair!” Some of those answers took years to find. Maybe because I didn’t have the experience or knowledge to understand what I really wanted. Or know that I always had it. Or could even appreciate the significance. I’m talking about God’s unconditional love, acceptance and blessings (both good and bad). Because, personally, I always knew I had God with me. But I didn’t feel that first feeling of utter contentment, until I cried out to him when I was 4, and suicidal from the pain of this world. And if I never felt the pain, I doubt I would have looked to Him for answers. And maybe that is why God only gives us a ‘taste of heaven’ when we cry for reassurance. So, we don’t grow complacent and forget to ask the next time!
I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad you’re my wife! I’m amazed by our ability to have contentment in life, family, and community. He loves us and has ALL the answers. He has great plans and we live them each day.