How to have a wonderful life

Image: How to have a wonderful life

You'll always have the life you want ... if you want the life you've got.

I have a confession to make. My favorite movie is It’s a Wonderful Life ... from 1946!

I just watched it last night for the FOURTH time in the last four weeks. I could watch it a million times. A million. I cry every time.

And for all of you who just judged me, I forgive you.

I know there is some pretty strange theology in it (every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings) but the overarching messages are definitely, definitely Biblical.

And one of those messages is this:

Nobody gets the life they want until they want the life they’ve got.

The star of the movie, George Bailey, doesn’t want anything to do with his life. He doesn’t want to live in Bedford Falls. He doesn’t want to get married. He doesn’t want to work at the Building and Loan.

What he really wants to do is travel the world, go to college, be an architect and “do something important”.

But I want more!

What George can’t realize, until he is given a chance to see what the world would be like without him, is how getting married, staying in Bedford Falls and running the Building and Loan has given him a chance to do something so much more important (not to mention joyful) than traveling, school and building things. He figures out at the end of the movie that he’s “The richest man in town”.

I love this aspect of the movie, as it speaks loud and clear to me. I’m the type of person who will tell you, “God’s plan is perfect” while in the back of my mind wishing for just a little bit more of ____________ fill in the blank.

More ministry. More leadership. More money. More time. More chances. More opportunities. Bigger. Better.

But once in a while, at some random moment, I will come back to the realization that I actually already have a wonderful life, and that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and that the things I call 'ordinary' are actually incredible gifts of God that I would miss out on should I forsake them to look for something better.

Being thankful for what you already have

Solomon in Ecclesiastes constantly reminds us to not “chase after the wind” and enjoy the simple things we already have like our job, family and food. The truth is, if you had everything you want given to you today, you would have a new wish list by tomorrow. You’d still be miserable!

So want what you already have. Enjoy what you’ve been given. And be thankful for the life God has given you!

Jesus became a man and gave every bit of himself away. He lived sinlessly, putting the temptation of the devil to shame, glorifying the Father and loving his neighbor as himself. He was placed on the cross, given fully to the wrath of God and the whole time you were on his mind.

He rose again, ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of the Father the ruler of everything. And in his sovereign authority and his perfect planning he has placed you where you are.

He has given you the family you have.

He has given you the things you have.

He has placed you amongst the people you know.

He has given you the task of following him.

And you (and I) look up and say, “What else is on the menu?”.

Then we wonder why we’re miserable.

Well, we need to cut it out.

God has given us a wonderful life. Let us show our thanks by living it.

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