Maybe you’ve seen this…a preschooler is sitting on the floor playing with a toy. They’re perfectly content with the toy they have, until they see another child playing with a different toy. Then the preschooler wants the toy the other child has. They don’t want to just exchange toys. They want both toys!
It’s funny in preschoolers, but it’s not so funny in adults. Yet so many of us get caught up in accumulating things rather than appreciating what we have.
This comes out in me like a raging monster every time I enter an Apple store. The minute I walk through the door, the voices start.”This is so much better than the one I have.” “Look at the features on this!” “I could be so much more productive with this.” “It’s been long time since I’ve upgraded.” “This is so much more cool than what I have.”
You may not be an Apple geek, but you’ve heard the same voices. Maybe it was concerning a house. Maybe it was concerning a car. Maybe it was concerning a job. Maybe it was concerning a marriage. What ever it was, you heard the voices of dissatisfaction calling you to accumulate something else.
An accumulation mindset is very draining and dissatisfying, while an appreciation mindset is very restful and rewarding. With an accumulation mindset, you tend to complain about what you have and grab for something different. With an appreciation mindset, you tend to celebrate what you have and be grateful for what you’ve got. (I don’t know about you, but these last two sentences really stepped on my toes.)
If you find you need to shift to more of an appreciation mindset, try taking the following steps:
- Count. Count everything you have. That’s right. Take out a sheet of paper and list everything you have. Big things and small things. Don’t leave anything out. From the shoes on your feet to the sheets on your bed. From the place where you live to the people that you know. From the car you drive to the chair in which you sit. From the breath in your lungs to the beating of your heart. This will take a while, but start writing everything down and add to the list as you think of things.
- Consider. Next, consider what your life would be like without these things. Notice I didn’t say consider what your life would be like if you had different things. Consider what your life would be like WITHOUT these things. Do this with everything on your list. You might want to take just one thing a day and spend the entire day thinking about what your life would be like without that one thing. For example…let’s say that one of the things on your list is your eye sight. Spend the day considering what you life would be like without your eyesight. How would you get dressed? How would you get to work? How would you take care of your family? What about cooking, cleaning, movies, relationships? Do this for each thing on your list.
- Convey. Finally, convey your appreciation for these things to someone…anyone. Convey your appreciation to friends and family. Convey your appreciation to God. Convey your appreciation to yourself…out loud! It may sound elementary and even silly, but to be appreciative you must BE appreciative. Appreciation lives and grows when it’s expressed.
So is your focus more on accumulation or appreciation? Not all accumulation is bad, but we all need to be more appreciative, and with a little cultivation and practice we can move from an accumulation mindset to an appreciation mindset.
Let’s look at this on another level…
Scripture has a lot to say about learning to have an appreciation mindset.
- Colossians 3:15 – “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
- 1 Timothy 6:6 – “But godliness with contentment is great gain…”
- Hebrews 13:5 – “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have…”
These are all great reminders that we need to be more appreciative. After all…for believers who have Christ and His Holy Spirit, what more could we want?
Take the challenge. Try the count-consider-convey steps listed above and see if it makes a difference in moving you into more of an appreciation mindset. Leave a comment and let us know how it went for you.
Copyright © 2015 Bret Legg