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5 Traits of Very Blessed People
First, what is a blessing?
Blessings, like grace are the results of undeserved good favor. Something you cannot work, earn, buy or barter for. These are the good things that come to you without warning or reason. If you could make or earn a blessing, it would turn into a payment for your service, no longer a blessing. That is what makes them special; they are free of charge and available to anyone. So how can we become blessed if we can’t control or force them into our lives? We set ourselves up to naturally receive them. Here are five behaviors very blessed people seem to have in common. These traits set them in line to receive wonderful experiences, positive relationships, favor, and material items many of us never achieve, they: (1) Expect (2) Aim (3) Acknowledge, are (4) Grateful for, and (5) Remember their blessings.
It’s surprising that many people who do good things and sacrifice for others don’t always get blessed. They may be very religious, moral, pay their taxes on time, and generally live good lives, but as Rabbi Kushner described in his book When Bad Things Happen to Good People “I have seen the wrong people get sick, the wrong people be hurt, the wrong people die young (2004, p. 10)”. This leads us to believe blessings are not simply the results of being good and religious people.
I understand that some might wonder why a Christian would spend time discussing this topic. It seems counter-productive. The reason is the topic of undeserved blessings brings an understanding about the gift of grace. Similar to grace, blessings cannot be achieved by working at it; they are free gifts for all people.
Consider the upper middle class person who wins the lottery when a poor family loses their dollar to it. A neglectful mother might have many children while a loving person miscarries several times in a row. A charismatic but untalented person is promoted to upper management while their assistant who does all of their creative work is overlooked for promotion. It would be unfair to say the people with negative experiences are less worthy. It is also important to say negative experiences are not necessarily the result of bad behavior. A great lesson in this is the story of Job and his short-sighted friends (Job 42:7-9).
The Torah or Old Testament in the Bible teaches that many faithful people will be blessed. At the same time, scripture also documents other nations and people (i.e. Egypt, Assyria, the Queen of Sheba, etc.) who were just as blessed. A great example is Hagar and Ishmael (Genesis 10:12). It is clear blessings are not reserved only for the religious or moral (Matthew 5:45). It’s also important to know that some very good people do the opposite of what we might think a blessed person should do (Luke 10:30-35). Blessings don't always match up with our understanding of how things should be. The truth is, there are many people who are very blessed on all ends of the scale. Though they differ in many ways, they do have a few things in common we can learn from.
They Expect It
People who get and stay blessed generally have an expectancy that they will receive what they hope for. They tend to make assumptions that things will go their way, while also being prepared for any setbacks.
Blessed people move beyond desiring something to experiencing something on an emotional level. The Biblical definition of faith is“…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen” The blessed person has accepted the thing he hopes for and mentally and emotionally receives the evidence. At the same time, blessed people understand that life is not always fair. Similar to a quote by Zig Ziglar “…Expect the best. Prepare for the worst”. This does not mean prepare for failure, only expect that anything that does not go as planned does not detract from the fact that you are a blessed person. They expect something positive is on its way and can occur unexpectedly. They do not need to hunt for it, only be open to receive it upon arrival.
Other people accept and welcome there is a potential for blessings and day dream about them (A.K.A. hope), but may not have any settled expectation that they are here and now
They Aim for It
Good drivers know that long off-road glances can be dangerous. Naturally, staring off in the distance or down at your phone will cause you to move in a direction you didn't expect. Critical opportunities to hit the brakes or avoid accidents. Common sense tells us what you focus or aim for is probably what you’ll get. Aiming for blessings means being open and ready for blessings and living as if you know you are blessed. This is completely different than striving, working or fighting for it. Blessings come naturally and simply as you move along life. As Albert Einstein once noted; “When the solution is simple, God is answering”.
Other people have long-off road glances at things that distract them from the truth; simply being among the living is a blessing and many small blessings along the way add up to a very blessed life. Keep moving.
They Acknowledge Blessings Great and Small
Acknowledging blessings is an important trait that blessed people have in common. As the Country & Western singer Willie Nelson once noted “when I started counting by blessings my whole life turned around”. Counting or acknowledging develops greater faith; an important tool for blessings. Whether it’s a few cents off coupon, a beautiful sunrise, or a new job promotion, they acknowledge these as their very own blessings to witness and receive.
Other people do not acknowledge daily blessings on all levels, unless it’s big enough to be envied by others or they can take credit for it. They ignore natural beauty, small achievements, or even the blessing of food or clean water.
They are Grateful for Blessings
Gratefulness means recognizing and honoring the life altering and positive impact of a blessing, and saying thank you to God and all people who bless. Gratefulness is proof that you are not alone in this world, and certainly not the author or creator of blessings. It also acknowledges that life owes you nothing even though it offers you everything including love, joy, and blessings too.
Other people are happy when they receive things, but focus on the blessing alone, rather than the big picture. They do not honor those the fact that blessings are mixtures of events, people, and large amounts of unmerited favor.
They Remember Their Blessings
A memorial is a way to celebrate and honor someone or something of great importance in a permanent or reoccurring way. It helps you be mindful of past blessings and brings encouragement during difficult times. Dr. Martin Seligman, psychologist who is considered the creator of the positive psychology describes a technique called “Three Blessings”. People who experience depression are asked to strategically consider three blessings at the end of each day. Many people find their lives dramatically improve after taking this challenge. Making a memorial or a consistent routine of honoring blessings in your life helps remind you that your possibilities are endless.
Other people allow negative experiences to overshadow their lives. This is a natural response during times of great stress; however life does offer choices and opportunities in every circumstance.
From this simple evaluation of characteristics of blessed people, we learn that blessings are available to all of us. We can expect them to increase in our lives as we are open to welcome them in. It is important to remember that blessings, just like grace, are less about how wonderful and deserving we are, and more about how hopeful and receptive we are to these free gifts.
I welcome your comments and suggestions.
Three Good Things
Dr. Martin Seligman's Three Blessings exercise for a more hopeful and positive outlook on life.
Each night before you go to sleep:
- Think of three good things that happened today.
- Write them down.
- Reflect on why they happened.