Being Grateful in the Storm
Updated: Jan 25, 2021
This has been a tough year for so many people on so many different levels.
It's important to remember to be grateful for today. (Especially on Thanksgiving!).
Some have a great story of "gratefulness" to share and some don't.
Too often we live in the past, in a state of "what could I have done different then, to change my future today" or "why did this happen to me"? Or, we jet to the future of "what am I going to do tomorrow to make me happier, or make me better", and we lose sight of the now and how important 'today' is. Not just the holiday 'todays', but the everyday 'todays'.
Having a grateful attitude will not only help—it is essential. In fact, it's when we are in storms-of-life conditions when we have the most to gain by a grateful perspective. In the realm of adversity, gratitude has the power to energize. In the realm of brokenness, gratitude has the power to heal. In the face of sadness, gratitude has the power to bring hope. In other words, gratitude helps us cope with hard times.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that gratitude will come easily or naturally in a crisis. It’s easy to feel grateful for the good things. No one “feels” grateful that he or she has lost a relationship, job, a home, or good health.
But it is vital to make a distinction between feeling grateful and being grateful. Sometimes it's so hard to have control over our emotions. We cannot easily will ourselves to feel grateful, less depressed, or even happy for that matter. Feelings follow from the way we look at the world. From the thoughts we have about the way things are, the way things should be, and the distance between these two points.
But being grateful is a choice. It's an attitude that endures and is relatively immune to ups and downs that flow in and out of our lives. When disaster strikes, gratitude provides a perspective from which we can view life in its entirety and not be overwhelmed by temporary circumstances.
For the quarantine- be grateful for the inner gifts of perhaps- a recently discovered passion for reading, for the gift of creativity, or for a chance to organize your home! Not to mention the stay-at-home quality time with family like no other!
For the awful diagnosis or significant health decline- Be grateful for the inner strength that diagnosis brought out of you. For increased courage. For the opportunity to be used by God as He sets diving appointments right in front of you, on the frontlines of despair.
For loneliness: Loneliness is something that we should not hold onto. Not only are we living in a pandemic, there is a surging epidemic of loneliness. So be thankful that you are able to give your loneliness to God. Fully surrender it to Him and let Him resurrect beauty from it. How can you find beauty in loneliness?
First and foremost, get involved! Get involved at a church, at a charity, or with tele-groups. Many are actively seeking volunteers. There are SO many online resources to utilize. Lets just say you have the gift of praying for people, there are organizations out there looking for prayer warriors. The options are limitless and you will be helping others. If you can't leave your house because of the quarantine, look for ways to volunteer online. Get a pen pal! Nobody writes anymore! Everything today is modern technology. Try not texting, not Facebook messaging, and not emailing. Write an actual letter! It's so fun to receive a REAL letter from someone! My mom and I write all the time and we are 15 minutes from each other. It's fun and from the heart. A hand-written, heartfelt letter lightens the heart! Volunteer at an animal shelter. Shelters are full, most are at max capacity. They need people to help with bathing, adoptions, walking, feeding, gathering supplies such as blankets, food, toys. The best part about working with animals is you don't have to social distance and animal cuddles bring a smile to anyone's face!
These are just a few. Bottom line is, as followers of Christ, our gratitude serves as a testimony to others of the wonderful things God has done for us. Even more important, our praise testifies that God is worthy to be praised. When we have a heart of gratitude, we develop a habit of thanking God for everything and that, my friend, is exactly what God wants.
Happy Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for you.
Pumpkin pies and naps,