Turning “I have to” into “I get to!”

Philippians 4:12-13

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.


Being forever dissatisfied robs us of true joy. It’s so interesting to me how I am constantly wanting, wishing, comparing. I want that car, I want those shoes, I wish I had more money, I wish I could live as “easy” as that person, why does she get to have so much, and I’m over here with all these monthly payments? These are thoughts that seem to be so constant. Why is it that I constantly compare myself with other people’s success, lives, stuff??

What’s even more irrational is that even if I get the stuff I used to wish for – there’s always more to want, different people to compare myself to.

This month I decided to do a thankful jar. Each day each member of the family writes what we are thankful for and places it in the jar – this has made me realize how much I really do have right in front of me. We will be reading what everyone is thankful for tomorrow evening, and I can’t wait to see what everyone said.

“Getting after grateful,” as Lara Casey puts it in her book Cultivate (highly recommend) challenged me to turn my “I have to’s” into “I get to’s.” I want to challenge each of you to make a list of things you have to do as well.

–          I have to take the kids to school every morning.

–          I have to clean the house.

–          I have to cook dinner every night.

Instead of saying I have to do these things, Lara Casey challenged to rewrite the list:

–          I get to take the kids to school every morning. I get to spend time talking to them for a few     minutes before they start their day. I get to encourage them. I get to help make their day start off on the right foot.

–          I get to clean the house.  I have a house to clean!! I get to make it look clean and tidy to be a safe, refreshing place for my kids when they get home.

–          I get to cook dinner every night for my family. I get to fill their belly’s, and nourish their bodies to help them grow. I get to sit down at the table and enjoy conversation with them while we eat.

This helped me see just the simple, everyday things in a new perspective. It helped me realize how much I have right in front of my face to be grateful for.

What are you looking at like an “I have to,” instead of an “I get to?” You don’t have to share, but I challenge you to take a good look at all aspects of your life and turn your burdens into blessings.

Learning to be content has been a mind-altering shift for me. I’m sure this is going to be a lifelong challenge, but learning to look at what I have, what I’m responsible for, what I get to do has brought me so much contentment and joy.

This altering shift, has also led me to realize how much excess I have. With the help of Emily Ley and her book Grace not Perfection (also highly recommend) – I went through my closet 3x now (still going back for another sweep), and getting rid of my excess, creating margin for things that matter – decluttering. I am on my third box of clothes, shoes, STUFF, that tomorrow I am going to take to the homeless shelter and give away. How many shirts and jeans do we really need????

How much stuff do we keep saying “Oh, I’m sure I’ll wear that again – sometime!”  I don’t know about you, but I have shirts and jeans that I’ve had for years. Even jeans that don’t fit, saying I’m sure I’ll fit into those again one day. Knowing good and well that if I do get back down to that size I’m sure I’ll go purchase a new pair in celebration! I decided that I have too much stuff. I want to bless someone who CAN fit into those jeans, or would love to wear that shirt that I can’t decide if I like anymore or not.

Another challenge I have for you, since I just love to share my “AHA!” moments, and want everyone to be right there with me (😉) is – go through your stuff, get rid of what you don’t need. Throw junk out, declutter, and watch how your attitude shifts. Give away stuff that is in a condition to give away, and throw out the stuff that is just taking up space. Let’s learn to be content together! (:





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