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All I Got Was This Crummy Tee Shirt

Returning from an extended trip, a friend of mine called and said, “I brought you back something!” I anticipated the BEST. After all, she was the one who vacationed leaving the lowlies behind and she was escaping the realities that I remained here to bear. She was the one with the money, the freedom, the opportunites! Surely, she’d take pity on this peon and bring me something of high value and unique quality. After all, my superior love language is gifts J.

Eagerly anticipating her arrival, I let my mind wander over what an amazing friend I was to her. How I’d been there when she needed me. How I prayed with her, and cried for her, and offered counsel many times over. When the doorbell rang, I threw my arms around her, welcomed her back, and tried not to look too greedy. My heart lept silently as she announced, “Oh, I have a present for you!!”. Tucked under her arm, then flung on my chest, she revealed the treasure!

She brought me back a tee shirt.

There is a sudden dopamine drop when what you anticipated simply fails. It causes the brain to miss what’s right in front of you. There is also a principle that goes to work when we don’t live in appreciation of the limitless treasures we have been given and stubbornly focus on what we don’t have. It’s called ingratitude. Our culture seems to be rampant with this disease and, I, admittedly have fallen into it.

Living in bitterness because you’ve envisioned something better than what you’ve been given will damage your soul. Desiring what’s out there vs. appreciating what you already have fills you with emptiness, or as Solomon put it, “chasing after the wind”.

Stopping my ridiculous thoughts of, “all I got was this crummy tee shirt” and replacing them with, “WOW, I have one more adorable tee-shirt than I had before”, shifts the paradigm in my brain and gets me more in line with God-thoughts. Appreciation opens the door to communion with God because it puts HIM on the throne of the Perfect Gift Giver…and THAT encompasses more than any material premium could offer. Viewing through eyes of gratitude ups the lens in my heart and causes me to see how incredibly loaded I already am, thus returning me to Joy, rather than constant disappointment.

If you were anticipating a bonus, a souvenir, a reward, a win, or a material possession that slipped through your hands, ask God to heighten your vision to see what you already possess.

Then go.  Lift your eyes to the limitless treasures you’ve been showered with! Grab that priceless tee-shirt and wear it well. 

Lori Travers

Lori finds the Joy of the Lord to be her strength. Born and raised an Italian Jersey girl, she has finally settled in the south as Reynolda Presbyterian church became her new home. Ministry to women, reading, writing, cooking, and anything having to do with animals are her sweet spots. Having a background in cardiac testing, she chose to stay home and raise three incredible children who are now married, and currently has 2 precious granddaughters and one faithful husband of 34 years.

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