Friday, December 30, 2016

The Power of Gratitude


The last half of 2016 has been very hard and challenging. I will spare you the details. The constantness of it was so tasking on my husband’s health and my energy and desire to do things, even ordinary things. Contrary to what the social media platforms show, there was another side of me that so many try to hide.

When I did have the energy to do things or when guilt crept in, I got the do-it-all –itis. This left me drained. I combated it with exercising and eating right, but there was just something missing.

You see, I dwelt on all the bad stuff and had to fight bitterness almost on a daily basis the last couple of months. I lost track of being grateful for what I had. I could only focus on the glass half empty. Now before you go and judge me, or tell me that I should have shook it off, or that I had lack of character or faith in God, know that something like that is easier said than done. In fact, I used to be like you. Sadly, I am embarrassed to say that I used to quietly judge too.  That was until the Lord used a turn of events that shook my perceptions to the core.

The power of gratitude is a life changing concept, but only when you practice it daily. Some days are easy and other days may be a struggle.

When I focused only on the negative in life, the world seemed dark and lonely. My perspective shifted, and to my immediate family  I became harder to live with. I wasn’t a bad mom by any means. But my concentration and energy was not there. I didn’t enjoy the moments as much as I wanted to. I wanted to nap 24/7. And sometimes jut to be honest with you, I felt bitterness looking at the Facebook feed and other people’s accomplishments. Why couldn’t good things like that happen for us?… Why couldn’t I be a mom like that?… Why… Why?... Why?...

I have lots of things to be grateful for.  God has truly blessed us in so many ways. And I have three beautiful and healthy children. My actions may seem petty to you. And it really is hard to show you this side of me as a Pastor’s daughter and a Pastor’s wife. But I am only human and so are you.

Bitterness and negative thoughts know no difference in who they try to invade. But thankfully, neither does gratitude.

Gratitude forces you to think about positive things in life, in things that have meaning, in things that matter and are uplifting. It gives you a little more of your life back, your energy, and your desire to do things, and make an impact. We are made to thrive in life not just survive.

Does this mean that if you practice the art of gratitude that it will make your problems go away? Of course not! But it makes the days seem more bearable and the storms in life less frightening.

To help reframe your thinking, try this exercise daily before you go to bed. It ends the night on a positive note, and may help quiet your mind so you can drift off to sleep.

Keep a notebook by your bed so that you can write down at least five things you are grateful for. Even if they seem small or insignificant. If you can think of more than five, write them down. The more the merrier.

In the morning before you start your day or whenever you have time, take some time to read over your list and meditate about everything you have written down.  It starts your day off right.

When the storms of life happen, I pray that you can find some comfort in the power of gratitude.

2 comments:

  1. Such transparency and bravery. Being grateful can change mindset, perspective and you're lifestyle. Excellent reminder. Thank you for sharing so openly.

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