Recently, I found a random writing in an old notebook. It is not written in my regular journal, nor is it dated. After a little digging, I have narrowed it to a time frame between late 2021 to early 2022. Although I did not write about a specific incident, I have a good idea as to the cause for the deep sadness I talked about. I was feeling unappreciated.
It begins with a recount of my inability to sleep that night. I woke repeatedly. Each time my eyes opened, it became harder to shut down the thoughts and return to slumber. Finally, at 5:00 AM, I decided rest was not forth coming and got up.
The sadness I felt was the kind that causes tears to build in your eyes, but remain stuck in the corners, as they do not have the energy to propel out and down your face. I felt so taken for granted again! I knew from much experience this would soon turn into depression or anger if I did not do something.
I made coffee, and took to my devotional, reading, praying time. An hour later, having been unsuccessful to stop the mind from racing and negative thinking, I mustered up the courage to text a dear sister in Christ that I was struggling. Thankfully, she called immediately. Her chatter was exactly what I needed to keep me from going into my ugly anger mode. She has a gift for letting you know you are not alone. First, she sincerely acknowledges your feelings. Then she says something funny to put it all in perspective. Next, she changes the subject. It works like a charm!
When the call ended, I turned back to my daily rhythm of devotion, reading, writing and prayer.
My note tells me I first read a devotion reminding me how God is always trustworthy and here for us.
The second reading, a passage from the Bible, pierced my heart and put me in my proper place. I was having a pity party. I had the “poor me” syndrome. And I am guilty of not appreciating the only one who matters, My Lord and Savior.
John 13:1-5 shed light on this dangerous state of mind and changed my attitude.
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
A story I have heard so many times, it touched me then in such a profound way. He was about to make the ultimate sacrifice, so we may have eternal life with Him despite our sinful ways. He knew Judas would betray Him, Peter would deny Him, and many would abandon Him. Yet, He put them first and served them.
He is the God of the Universe. He is my Creator, Provider, Protector, Deliverer, Redeemer, and so much more. And I cannot count all the ways I have not appreciated Him. How many times have I received blessings from Him and not even said thank you!
I don’t know what I did for the rest of that day, but I can tell you that was the beginning of an ongoing trial, to love others as Jesus loves, and serve them without any expectation of appreciation or reciprocation.
When I found this old note, I was prompted to read further into John 13. Jesus further instructed His disciples;
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. (17) If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
John 13:14-17 NKJV
In verse 17 John says if we know these things and do them, we will be blessed. We must put the things we learn in God’s Word into action.
James 1:22-24 tells us, But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
Being a doer of the Word is not easy. I do not serve perfectly and suspect I never will. I still have days of feeling unappreciated. But God has given me tools to use and words to live by.
Another great reminder of how we should be doers of the word, Galatians 5:13, For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
When we forget how blessed we are and ALL that Jesus has done for us, making gratitude lists and meditating on God’s Word are great ways to refocus.
One of my favorite reminders of how He blesses us is Psalm 103:2-6, 8.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
How could I be so unappreciative of Him after all of these gifts!
I hope if you ever feel unappreciated, unloved, or angry, and you just cannot think of a single thing to be grateful for, you read Psalm 103. And I hope you come to the remembrance of ALL the ways He ALWAYS takes care of and loves you.
May the Lord Bless you and keep you! Go love and serve, in Jesus’ name.