Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I woke up this morning with the thought: “I get to have a root canal today!” No, I wasn’t thinking, “I have to have a root canal today,” but, “I get to have a root canal today.”
This way of looking at a root canal comes out of looking at life through my new “I Get To” lens.” I found my “I Get To” lens several weeks ago when I faced a difficult, demanding day. I caught myself muttering about the things I ‘had’ to do that day, when suddenly I had an epiphany. I thought: “No! I don’t ‘have’ to do any of these things today. I ‘get’ to do them.” In line with choices I have made about how I want to live my life and use my gifts, I ‘get’ to do these things. Suddenly my day started looking very different to me.
My “I Get To” lens means that I don’t have to go to any meetings today; rather, I get to be with people I care about and do meaningful work with them. Nor do I have to pay the mortgage today; rather, I get to pay the mortgage that enables us to live in a home we enjoy. Also, I do not have to go to the gym today to work out; rather, I am blessed to have a gym membership to work on becoming healthier.
Wanting to know more about the freeing power of “getting” to do something rather than “having” to do something, I turned to an etymological dictionary. There I discovered that the word “get” comes from an Old Norse word meaning, “to obtain, reach, to be able to, to learn, to be pleased with.” Contrast that with the word “have” which comes from the Old English meaning “a duty or a thing to be done.” Instead of looking at the day ahead as a “duty” to be done, I can look at it as something to be “obtained, reached, to be able, to learn, to be pleased with.” That is the power of looking at life through my “I Get To” lens, enabling me to see how incredibly blessed I am.
So, I get to have a root canal today! I thank God that I won’t have to live with the pain of an infected tooth. I thank God that I get to have an anesthetic that will make the procedure painless. I even get to go home with an antibiotic miracle drug. Looking at life with my “I Get To” lens means looking at life with more joy and gratitude. As I look at the New Testament I see people looking at life through the “I Get To” lens. For instance, the apostle Paul rejoices that by “getting” to go to prison the gospel of Jesus Christ spreads more and more (Philippians 1:12-18). Paul rejoices that by “getting” to experience “plenty and need” he learns how Christ strengthens His people for every situation (Philippians 4:10-13). It is little wonder then that apostle Paul writes:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
What is it that you face today? What is it that you face this week? Instead of saying, “I have to”, try saying, “I get to.” See the difference that it might make!
Grace and peace,
P.S. Since I wrote the first few paragraphs I have learned that I get to have a new experience! I have learned that my old tooth is cracked; I am going to get a whole new tooth. I get to be in the hands of a skilled periodontist who will give me a whole new tooth. I am blessed!