This morning, on a whim, I made a quick list of 20 things that make me feel good. I made no effort at putting them in an appropriate order, or to make sure all the important stuff was included. I just started the flow of thought and wrote until I reached 20. It was kind of interesting to see what emerged on my list. They ranged from the trivial to the significant. As I thought about my list, two questions came to mind:
- How much does the presence, or absence of these “feel goods” effect my general attitude toward life? Should I be making some of these a higher priority as I schedule my day instead of just happening upon them occasionally by chance? If a relatively small amount of effort will bring some “goodness” into my day, should I be more intentional about that?
- On the other hand, is it really helpful to pursue a “feel good”? Some of the items are of eternal significance, which I would definitely consider worthy of pursuit, while others are very much just a temporal moment of pleasure. How much do those pockets of pleasure really contribute to my overall longterm well being?
I’m going to have to think on this a little more, but as I look over the list I realize it could just as aptly be named a “Gratitude List”, maybe a subtle difference, but a significant one. Gratitude is having an appreciation and thankfulness for the good things, large and small, that have come our way. Some of them may be intentional, but if our sole goal in life is to “feel good” and be pleasure oriented, we will soon be so self centered that we will be continually unsatisfied and discontent. On the other hand, an awareness of those things, even small things, that bring us pleasure can increase a flow of gratitude and keep us from taking the blessings we are given for granted. Guess it boils down to the lens we are looking through.
In case you are curious, here is my list, given a new name…
20 Things I will BE THANKFUL FOR!
1. the sunrise
2. a fresh brewed cup of coffee
3. a warm blanket
4. a smile from my kids
5. a great quote
6. time alone
7. time with others
8. browsing in a bookstore
9. writing in a coffee shop
10. making art
12. just hanging out with God
13. playing with paints
14. lunch with friends
15. snuggling with my grandkids
16. a new discovery
17. nibbling chocolate
18. listening to music
19. a cozy chair
20. resting in the strong arms of my loving God