The Source of Good in Our Life Comes Outside Ourselves

By Carol McClain @carol_mcclain

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” James 1:17.


In our crazy world, we take the credit for all the good in our life. Then, of course, when things go wrong, we blame other people, situations, genetics, luck. Not ourselves.

Thankfulness is a gift.

In order to be truly thankful we must realize two things, according to Robert A. Emmons in Gratitude Works!:
  1. We must affirm the goodness in life.
  2. We must recognize the source of this goodness is, in part, a gift given to us.

All lives have goodness.

I live in rural Appalachia. It’s now modernized and has all the amenities of the rest of the world. However, before the modern world intervened, people had nothing. Rather than feeling sorry for themselves, they took what they had and created goodness. They made musical instruments out of wash implements, quilts from old clothing and rugs from rags. Our world is rich with their creation.

We must use what we have to make goodness.

However, a lot of goodness has nothing to do with us. God is the generator of all that is good. Think of your life.

How has God blessed you?
  1. You live in a free country.
  2. You’re literate because you were educated.
  3. You’re living and wish to improve your life.
  4. Do you have loving parents? children? spouse?
  5. Have you felt the breeze on your face like peppermint kisses?
  6. Have you see the vibrant green of a grass or the pure white of snow?
  7. How about the majesty of mountains or exotic nature of desserts?

Our list goes on.

Sometimes life stinks. Parents aren’t what they should be. Kids abuse parents. Poverty assaults us. Thieves rob.

But in it, we can find things we’re grateful for.

Today, I’m grateful for:

  1. Health. It’s not because I’m especially diligent in pursuing it. I received good genes. I have no arthritis or immune deficiency. I’m not cancer stricken. God gave me good health.
  2. Faith. At one time, I was agnostic, and my life headed the wrong direction. Then, by the grace of God, good friends: Junior, Colleen, Jerry, Ellen, Cathy, Mark, Tina…so many, came into my life and showed me another way. I transformed by God’s grace. Had I not become a Christian, I know the awful choices I would’ve made.
  3. My teaching career. Yes, I studied, but I also screwed up. When I moved north, I put in applications to sub. One day, out of the blue, a school called and asked me to teach Spanish for the year. I had put on my application that I had a background in Spanish, so I could sub in the subject–not actually make kids proficient in it. Of course, I took the job. This catapulted me into the field. I knew then, as a non-believer, that God orchestrated my entrance into the teaching field.
  4. Tomatoes. I didn’t invent my favorite vegetable. God did. And yes, to have good tomatoes, I have to tend my garden. But the gift comes from God.
  5. My intelligence. I didn’t give myself my brains. I honed what I had, and each year, I develop my intellect. I love thinking and learning new things. This is a God gift. I’ll never be a Pulitzer Prize winning author, but maybe, I’ll sell enough books that lots of people will enjoy my work and my message.

See? In each of these, we play a part. Smoking destroys health. Drugs ruin intellect. Laziness keeps you in boring jobs. And who wants to eat store-bought tomatoes. We play a part. The real gift comes from God.


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