Priorities: The Things We’re Thankful For

Today is a day where we all stuff our faces with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, various vegetables, and a ridiculous assortment of pies, cakes, and other sugary items until we feel as though our bodies will collapse and/or explode. Today is a day where we say what we’re thankful for. We say it, but do we mean it? We list off all of these arbitrary things we’re thankful for, but what exactly are we thankful for?

This month people all over the internet have been tweeting, posting, and blogging about what they are thankful for each day, as some type of discipline in celebration of thanksgiving. During this time, I have noticed that there are some interesting things that people can be thankful for. People list off things like their car, pets, iphones, food, friends, family, jobs, freedom, etc… Are these bad things to be thankful for? Not necessarily. But these lists give an interesting insight into where our priorities lie.

This last week’s theme over my life has been a particular focus on priorities. We map out the trajectory of our lives from point A to point B with mile markers called priorities.  Priorities help us to organize our lives, and make clear decisions on where we are heading.

Lately, I have come to the realization that some of my priorities were out of order. I was letting things unfold in such a way that it was causing my whole life to be out of order, and becoming detrimental to being not just productive, but functional on a daily basis. Not to mention, there was a mess of financial garbage lingering about as well. Things needed to change. This all came about when I woke up one day and realized I was tired of losing. I wanted to win a battle every once and a while. So I started contemplating why I always feel as though I’m losing in every area of my life. I concluded that maybe I’m spending all my time spinning my wheels in the wrong directions. To explain in less metaphors: I’m investing my time and energy in things I’m not passionate about, nor feel called to, in an effort to settle for playing it safe, living a life I’m not made to live. 

Its amazing how quickly one can feel drained when doing something they hate doing. I’ve felt that way for the last 8 years. One day, I woke up and I wanted it all to change. Last week someone asked me “What is the one thing you’d give up everything to do?” My response was simply “music”. If I’m truly honest with myself, there’s nothing I wouldn’t give up to play music professionally. Since I was 5 years old, I have dreamt of a life where I was writing songs, recording albums, traveling the world, and playing in all these big venues. I saw myself playing at radio stations, being in new cities every day, traveling long hours, being constantly exhausted, and doing it all over again every single day…and I longed for it. To this day, I find myself day dreaming about what it would be like if I could have that life. What if I was given the opportunity to actually DO what I’ve been working at for 15 years?

Upon this realization, I started looking at how I’ve let my life turn into something I never wanted it to be. I settled for trying to find my place in areas I was never meant to be. I search constantly for a sense of belonging in every job, every relationship, and yet, as soon as I walk on a stage and play the first chord, I feel like I’ve come home. Is this by accident? Is it all a matter of happenstance, creating a calculated feeling within me? Or was I made for it? When doors started closing, and opportunities began to fade, it seemed as though I had only one choice to make. That choice was followed by the phrase “its now or never”.

After I began to reorganize my life, I found something I truly didn’t expect. I found that I had people in my life who were willing to support me in all that I do. I realized I had friends that were the best friends I’ve ever had. My family has supported me through everything, but I’ve been short on good friends for quite some time now. I had one really good friend, and he died when I was 19 years old. Ever sense then, I’ve felt this need to have that support system again. I found that support when I least expected it. It was then that I realized that this chapter I’ve been waiting so long for had finally begun. The page is turned, and a new day is dawning. Maybe I can finally start anew.

Today is thanksgiving. It’s also my 26th birthday. I don’t get to have a traditional thanksgiving with my family, nor any birthday celebration. I have to work. I spend a lot of my time focusing on the negative, not being thankful for very much. But today I am feeling especially thankful. I am thankful for my supportive and loving family who continually save me from myself in my darkest of days. When I didn’t want to get out of bed, they encouraged me to keep going. I’m thankful for a better brother than I deserve. Your birthday text at midnight tonight meant more to me than you know. I’m thankful for my mom, though she knows how to drive me absolutely insane, she usually knows me better than anyone, and also knows how to bring me back to that safe place. I’m thankful for my dad, who I know will always be there for me, cheering me on, reminding me that I can do anything I’ve ever wanted to do and more, and being an amazing example of what a man should be, and creating in me a desire to be the best dad I can be when that chapter comes. I’m thankful for my church community, inspiring me and giving me hope. I honestly never thought such an amazing community could exist. I love all the relationships I’ve built over this last year. I’m thankful for my friends Jonny and Jess, who have pushed me (especially this last week) to better myself, and continue to make my life into everything it should be, and reminding me that I always have a place to crash when I need it. That conversation in the parking lot last Sunday night actually meant a lot to me, so thanks for being awesome friends. I’m thankful for my friend Amber, who reminds me that I am worth loving, and has been there through so much more than I ever thought anyone would be. I’m thankful for my bills getting paid every month, even when I had no idea how it was going to happen. I’m thankful for another year of life.

Today is a day where we can be thankful for many things. But let us not forget that we must live out that discipline as well. Don’t forget what you are thankful for when you are waiting in line, fighting for that last flat screen TV that’s 90% off. We should all be thankful for what we have, and not dwell on what we don’t have. I would love to live my life in light of that truth. Maybe one day…

What are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

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2 thoughts on “Priorities: The Things We’re Thankful For

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