When You ChooseThankfulness

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I could open this post up in two ways: both are true.

Opening one:

I swipe my gold badge to enter the historical grounds of Paramount. Palm trees, trailers and crewmembers paint the scene. I turn on Michael Bay Avenue, stages surround me. Grabbing a cup of coffee and a ride on a golf cart, I use my badge once again to enter the Editorial building, my building. I greet Editors for shows like Blacklist and NCIS. Mid-day I say hello to AD’s, possibly writers, maybe a producer. I grab an already cut grapefruit with a raspberry placed in the center of the half, and return to work. After breezing through emails and updating documents, I drive to Amblin, Steven Spielberg’s production company, and deliver the Director’s cut of Episode 204. After giving the receptionist an envelope I pass three Oscars modeling in a glass case…next to the camera that shot E.T. To exit Amblin, I press a button on a tree, and a wooden gate slowly opens. Life is truly a dream here in Hollywood. How did I get so lucky?

Opening 2:

My eyes adjust to my phone screen at 6:50am: eight Gmail notifications since midnight. I scroll through reading the subject lines….press snooze and hold off until 7am for emails. I stretch my sore legs and get ready another 12 hour (maybe more) mentally, physically exhausting day. Driving down Melrose I say, “thank you God for my car, thank you for giving me a job I truly have had as a dream….” my daily monologue. I turn off Van Ness into the parking garage, but am told the garage is full and I have to drive to the other one, located on the opposite side of the lot. Great. 20 minutes later frustration builds when I notice the only coffee available is Kerig, a type of coffee one should only drink while waiting at the car wash.
I get to my desk. Its go-time: print-outs, passing out menus, picking up lunch, driving to drop-off drives, pick-up drives, countless runs to the Production office, updating distribution documents, phone calls, drafting several emails, backing up files from Editors…the tasks are endless. I return from bathroom breaks to post-its stamped everywhere on my desk with scribbled requests. In the span of five minutes I have requests to email our Avid company, order ink, drop off invoices at Accounting, update the department’s iCal and print out 10 copies of a newly updated document. Multi-tasking is crucial.

I’m the only single person in the office, everyone else married. No one is even in their twenties. I work with all men so I have trained myself to move forward after every moment I typically would get emotional in. My superiors aren’t afraid to be deadpanning blunt with me. That’s this business though, “get it done.” Someone will raise their voice, but then 20 seconds later they’ll say, “Great job. Thanks love.” And leave.

Whaaaaa.

In the midst of being corrected, over-worked and under-paid, it’s easy to lose sight of the blessing a job is.

When I moved to Los Angeles I spent everyday in a coffee shop applying to any job I could find in Entertainment. I applied to be a receptionist at Warner Brothers, an assistant editor, and the third assistant to a big-time producer. I never got an interview. I later went to the mall and applied at all clothing stores I liked. Thankfully, a week after doing that, I was given a job on an amazing show.

Here I am now, a year later, working at Paramount.

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Not long ago I went to the parking garage, chatted it up with the Valet and learned he’s been trying for two years to catch a break as an Assistant and he took the Valet gig to network.

Oy.

“Mary you rotten person you…taking for granted your badge. James the driver here is basking in the sun dreaming of your job and you’re standing here counting down until the show wraps.”

Crazy thing is…someone is sitting somewhere hoping to get the Valet’s job so they can network. Another person is in Wisconsin dreaming of moving to LA and being the guy in LA hoping for the Valet job.

No matter the position, another person is probably wishing they were where you are. I try to keep this in mind whenever I’m frustrated with where I’m at, or what I have.

Last year I tried to define the word ‘blessing’ and what it means to me.

This is what I came up with: a blessing is something someone else wishes they had.

So think about it.
Like, actually stop and think about it. EVERYTHING in life is a blessing.

God is the One who gives us blessings, so, therefore, everything belongs to God.

I’ve been given tremendous favor within one of, if not the hardest industry to break into and find myself saying, “God when is this job going to eeeend.” How could someone who’s connected with big-time people like that, find themself saying anything except “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!”

Because, no matter what you’re given in life, how you choose to respond to blessings is a choice. I strive to view my job in the eyes of my first opening, yes. Most days though, opening #2 is most present because I’m in the thick of it and it’s human nature to respond to hardships by going, “ahhhhhh! Not comfortable!”

Thankfully though, I have Jesus in my life haunting me with words like, “I chose you above hundreds of over qualified people for this. I entrusted you, Mary. I believe in you.”

Cool. No pressure.

But seriously, no pressure….God has me.
I’m going to shift gears for a second, but I promise it connects.

I’ve been asked in recent months what I’m attracted to in a man. I won’t dive into what I am attracted to, but rather what I’m not attracted to.

Pride. Selfishness. Narcissism.

Oh, and if they don’t like sports in the least I don’t know how to deal. I have three brothers and a dad who raised me on sports so, masculinity = love of any sport. #kiddingbutnotreally #truuuu

I’ll connect the dots…when I’m not thankful for anything God has given me, I’m all three of those qualities I dislike.

Pride (in the unhealthy form) is all about self-ownership and thanking God for yourself and your amazing abilities, not Him.

Selfishness: wanting to be outside of where God wants me.
Example: longing for a hard job HE GAVE ME to end.

Narcissism: it doesn’t have to do with thankfulness; I just want all men (and women!) to know it’s universally a quality that won’t win anyone over 😉

I’m human.
I’m selfish.

I’ve been given an incredible life, a life full of things others only dream about. But, sometimes, I simply want the grass my neighbors have, something we’re all guilty of. Some student at Yale wants nothing more than to fly to a cabana in Vegas while the guy in the cabana in Vegas is dreaming of getting into Yale.

Let us be reminded of this: everything in our life is a blessing, and it’s our choice for how we respond.

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I used my work as an example and can view it with my first opening of this blog, a mindset of complete thanksgiving….or like my second opening, lens that ignore all fun aspects and focus on the annoying parts.

Both sets of glasses are always going to be on the case, and we can choose one or the other, always. But God wants us to be reminded that everything is from Him, and when we are given much, much is required.

Luke 12:48: “…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

Moreover, when we have much, we must have a heart of thanksgiving.

I wrote this blog because in the midst of my crazy amazing blessings I’ve been given, it’s easy to lose sight and want another blessing. I felt led to write this because while I hope this was encouraging to you, it was for me too– being reminded that everything is a blessing and therefore, should be treated with a grateful, thankful heart.

Verses I got pwned in for not being thankful when I should have been:

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name” – Psalm 100:4

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-the fruits of lips that confess His name” –Hebrews 13:15

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” –Philippians 4:6
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” –Hebrews 12:28-29

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