For the fourth time today, I saw another travel post on Facebook and I couldn’t help but sigh. Great. Must be terrific to just go around the country and not worry about a thing. I looked at my son who’d scattered all of his toys on the floor, and I thought “I don’t think I’ll ever get to travel for at least the next two years.” My mind tried to overcome comparisons but then I began to wonder, am I a recipient of the Lord’s lesser blessings?
Desires and Disappointments
Isn’t it so easy to feel this way? In this age of social media, when everyone seems to post about the best things in their lives, one can’t help but feel that, compared to another, the blessings they receive just don’t add up. Some people are getting promotions, moving into a bigger house, landing great jobs, getting new cars, travelling non-stop — everyone seems to be upgrading, improving, and getting better and better. And then, you look at your life — simple, maybe slow-paced, and ordinary. Inevitably, feelings of disappointment sometimes come — feelings that would prevent us from seeing our own personal blessings from the Lord. Without us knowing, we can begin to focus so much on another’s “basket of blessings” and we feel more and more disappointed about the things in our life that shouldn’t disappoint us at all.
I don’t like feeling it, but today, I couldn’t help but be disappointed with my life. I felt as though I am not blessed enough, or my blessings are just small and insignificant. Yes, when we feel disappointed, it is easier for the adversary to deceive us by telling us that we, and our future, just don’t matter to the Lord. During my moment of insecurity, I decided to kneel down and pray to the Lord to help me see the bigger picture. Then a still, small voice whispered something that comforted me: “Have you ever tried counting your blessings?”
Making Blessings Count
It hit me…hard. I am counting my blessings, yes, but since it’s easier to compare, I realized that I don’t always make them count. So after my prayer, I took a moment to reflect on my life.
When we were just newly married, we lived in such a small home, some people only called it a “room.” But now, the Lord has blessed us with a two-room studio. We did not have enough for our wants when we were newlyweds, but today, we can always enjoy a nice bowl of our favorite ramen. We didn’t stay the way we were before. We also were able to move forward and upgrade as well — no matter how small or slow it was. I am not saying this just to let everyone know that we also have great blessings, but to help others realize that each of us is given blessings by the Lord. Unfortunately, our grateful eyes can sometimes be dimmed by comparison, disappointments, or envy.
I realized that the blessings I thought were ordinary were actually blessings that were tailor-made just for me and for my family. They are from a loving, caring Heavenly Father who sees our future and who gives us the blessings we need in order for us to become who He wants us to be. My husband and I want a car, but we haven’t been able to get our dream car yet. But despite the lack of a more sophisticated mode of transportation, not having a car for now has taught us to enjoy long walks, find fun in bumpy tricycle rides, and taught us patience each time an Uber driver cancels our booking. This year, I will be sending my husband to school without having to ask support from either of our parents. It’s scary and it sometimes makes me wonder why we have had to work so hard from scratch to become self-reliant, but it has taught us that we can make it on our own, too.
Can you imagine that? The Lord is carefully preparing and selecting the right blessings to help us achieve our full potential? I love the constant reminder from President Monson that “The Lord is in the details of our lives.” Isn’t it wonderful to know that the Lord knows the blessings He should give, and the purpose behind why He is making us wait for others?
Overcoming Comparisons, Appreciating Blessings More
The adversary truly wants to make us feel miserable. Although some blessings can be withheld from us because of sin, fear, or doubt, it’s sometimes hard to understand why some blessings don’t come despite our obedience. To those who obey the commandments of the Lord, he wants them to think “I try my best to become a diligent disciple of the Lord, but why is it that I receive lesser blessings?” The experience I had today taught me an important lesson. If I compare my life to another, I’m most likely going to feel disappointed. But, if I look at how my life has changed during the years, I can begin to recognize how the small, seemingly insignificant blessings have actually helped me and my family reach our potential. They have helped us draw closer to the Lord. They have helped us build faith, patience, and gratitude.
It’s sometimes hard to not make comparisons when we see someone blessed with so much. But wise counsel from one of our stake leaders always helps me see the bright side. He said “People who keep the Lord’s commandments will always be made better than who they are now.”
So, are we really recipients of the Lord’s lesser blessings, or receiving small, insignificant gifts? I don’t think so. The small, insignificant blessings are significant and material in the plan of the One who sees success in each and everyone’s life. So when you feel like you are blessed less today, always remember what Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has said: “Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven. But to those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.”