It sometimes seems like this time of year, when the ideas and expectations of thankfulness stare us in the face, it’s far easier to focus on the difficult, challenging, heartbreaking, even ugly stuff of life.
“How can I be grateful when there’s so much going wrong?”
I’ve been there. Sometimes my mind still tries to take me there. But I want to encourage you today in this: an attitude of gratitude is more than just a cliche, feel-good phrase. It’s a practice that can change your life.
I’ve shared many times about my journey over the last several years, how I ended up here today, and the uncertain and sometimes painful steps I had to take along the way. Many times it would have seemed easier for me to give up, avoid the tough stuff, and stay within the status quo.
But I knew better.
I knew in order to BE better and to LIVE better, I had to fight straight through the muck and somehow find my way to the other side. It wasn’t always pretty, it wasn’t always successful, but it was always worth it.
And that, friends, is what I need you to hold on to.
Wherever you have to start in order to find something to be thankful for, no matter how deep you have to dig, find one thing fill your heart with gratitude over.
Are your favorite pants clean? Is your gas tank full? Did you have a great dream while you slept, or did you get a sticky toast-and-jelly kiss from one of your little ones on your way out the door this morning?
Finding these things, no matter how little, no matter how insignificant they may seem at the time, to be thankful for changes the path of thought in our brain.
When we focus on being thankful and appreciative, when we focus on letting the little things matter more than the mess, we change one little wrinkle in our brain. That one little wrinkle begins a ripple effect and so long as we keep at it, remain intentional about being grateful, and so long as we sharpen our skill of thankfulness, one day we’ll wake up and we’ll be completely different people. Better people. Inspired people. Exemplary people.
I know times are tough. I know situations out of our control can not only knock the wind out of our sails but tear the sails to shreds. I know when we’re in the middle of the storm it’s hard to believe the sky will ever clear out again.
But even in storms, there are blessings. Even in trials, there are rewards. Even in ashes, there is beauty.
My prayer for you this Thanksgiving, and for always, really, but this week especially – is that you adopt an attitude of gratitude. Let’s hold one another accountable. Let’s build each other up and encourage others along the way. Let’s find those things to be thankful for, carry them in our hearts, and let’s turn “attitude of gratitude” from a cliche phrase to an all-out way of life.
I want you to know I’m thankful for you. I’m thankful you keep trying. I’m thankful you take that next step, even when it scares you. I’m thankful you don’t let your mistakes paralyze you, but rather, let them propel you. I’m thankful you are exactly who God made you to be.
What are you thankful for today?