The Joy in Gratitude
It is wonderful to be grateful and to sing your praises, Lord Most High! –Psalms 92:1
If you haven’t done it lately, I challenge you to name 10 things that you are grateful for. I’ll start (in no particular order):
A strong body
A good job
The strong women in my life
I believe that it is vitally important to regularly express gratitude for the things in our lives, big or small, that we may be taking for granted. Things like hot showers and reliable transportation.
When I was working at gym there were patrons who would come in daily for a hot shower. Now, I don’t know what their personal situation was, but I am so grateful that all I have to do is get out of bed and walk a few feet and take a hot shower.
There was a time in my life when I would have to pray that my car would start each time I got into it. I would carry a gallon jug of water in the trunk because I knew at some point the engine would overheat. I have blown up two car engines in my lifetime and I have been stranded by the side of the road more times than I can count. I am grateful for reliable transportation and the wisdom to know that my car needs regular maintenance. Sometimes when things are going well, we forget to be grateful.
When I turned thirty, I had a breakdown. I was broke and I was broken. I had a new husband, a new baby and a four-year old. I was living in a new city with no friends or family and my life just wasn’t where I thought it should be at thirty years old. It was a dark time and I could not find one thing to be grateful for. I was miserable. As I look back on that time now, I realize that focusing on what I did not have only made those things seem bigger. It was the law of attraction plain and simple. I focused on the negative and more negative came my way. Instead of being grateful that I had a roof over my head I focused on the fact that the neighborhood was not ideal. The fact was, I had a man who loved me, two beautiful healthy children, my health, my strength and so much more. The key to gratitude is to change your focus. Gratitude should be the way that we experience life. If you opened your eyes this morning and took a breath you should be grateful because someone in the world did not wake up this morning.
I know firsthand that when things aren’t going so well, it can be challenging to find things to be grateful for. If you look hard enough you will find it. If you get laid off from your job, be grateful that God moved you out of that situation and is putting you on the path to something better. If you are going through a bad breakup, trust that that person was not for you and now the way is clear for the right person to come into your life.
You have to train yourself to see the bright side and turn every event into a moment of gratitude. There is real joy in gratitude. Being grateful does not cost a thing and it just feels better than the alternative. Being grateful for small things shows God that you are ready to receive the big things. No matter what situation you are in, someone is wishing that they had your life. So be grateful.