It’s easy to give thanks when times are great, but giving thanks during hard times can be difficult. Especially with the current pandemic affecting so many people and businesses, and now the second wave of COVID cases. Ugh! How do we find things to be thankful for when life feels like a struggle and the joy of a “typical” holiday season is hard to be found?
Giving Thanks During Hard Times
Believe me, I’ve been on the struggle bus for some time. Actually, let me rephrase that…I’ve been on the struggle bus most of my adult life. But, I’m not unusual in this journey. No one in this life gets to skate through it without some type of adversity. Whether it’s illness or disease, relationship problems, the death of someone close, or financial distress. Every one of us has had at least one, if not numerous “life quakes” to deal with.
Have you ever noticed how different you were after one of these life-quakes than you were before it? Have you ever realized how the thing you were dealing with was actually a “reroute” in a different direction? Maybe even putting you on a better path than the one you were on?
Not to get all Jesus-y on you, but I always go back to what Paul said in Thessalonians 5:18 to help me when I’m not feeling too thankful:
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
What Paul was saying in that passage is that regardless of our circumstances, we can always find reasons to be thankful.
Here are some things I do to attain an attitude of gratitude:
Finding Joy In Broken Circumstances
This is not easy to do when something devastating grips hold of your life. Sometimes you need to feel the pain and heartache before you move forward in joy. However, you can always be thankful for the friends who held you when you were grieving. Be thankful for the doctors who knew the right things to do to successfully handle the surgery. Be thankful for the people in your community who supported you when you needed it.
There are usually many small things (or very large things) to be thankful for in any horribly devastating situation. I remember the shock and grief I felt when my mom didn’t wake up on New Year’s Day 2010. The friends who put their arms around me to comfort, made meals for my family, and listened to me grieve, was really like God putting his own arms around me to say I feel your pain and I care. Everything will be okay. And, eventually, it was.
Keeping A Gratitude Journal
One way to attain an attitude of gratitude is by keeping a daily Gratitude Journal. Just the simple act of jotting down a few things you’re thankful for, every day, such as that warm cup of strong coffee, or your faux-fur lined, gold slippers can shift your attitude. Just thinking about those things now makes me feel joyous!
Looking At The Bigger Picture
Usually, when going through a difficult time, it is so easy to get mired in the weeds. We feel that we are alone in this new experience and that no one has ever experienced the pain of upheaval that you have.
Now, I have begun to look at the bigger picture. What am I supposed to be learning in this situation? Will it always be this way? How can I make sure that this doesn’t happen again? Is there something that I should have done or could’ve done better?
Your Obstacles Are Your Blessings
I really believe that we are co-creators of our lives. I believe with every ounce of my being that any obstacle, set back, or adversity is there to teach us to rise up or reroute. As spirits here for a human experience, I believe that we sometimes need a jolt in the right direction. Have you ever noticed that people dig deep to achieve or overcome something, only when not succeeding isn’t an option? Our obstacles are our blessings because it helps us to “sharpen our saw”, find our creativity, and learn the tools of meeting our highest potential.
Start Each Day With Intention
After years of the blame game and victim-hood, I decided to begin each day in prayer to ask God for guidance. My prayers have evolved over the years. They used to be asking God to please get my husband a job, or to help me achieve the highest pay rank in my Beautycounter business. (Ha!) But, now I’ve realized that a more fruitful prayer is to ask for guidance on how to best serve people and to please show me the way to fulfill my earthly purpose.
This starts with meditation, prayer, and setting an intention for the day. I feel that by starting my day by connecting to a higher source and my higher self, only good things can come out of it. So much so, that I feel disconnected and off if I don’t start my day like this.
When we are connected to a higher source, we feel the love and our purpose. So MUCH to be thankful for!
There is so much to be thankful for right now. The blessings are sometimes hidden in the adversity. In the words of Garth Brooks:
Sometimes I thank God, for unanswered prayers Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs…That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care…’Cause some of God’s greatest gifts, are unanswered prayers.
The more gratitude we feel for the little things, the more BIG things to be grateful for show up.
I wish you and your families a wonderful season of abundant gratitude!