Today is day 23 of a Gratitude Challenge. When I began the challenge I felt like I was about as thankful as a person could be while still acknowledging that hurt and pain were also a part of my life.
Approximately two days into the challenge I realized that I was concentrating far more on the pain and very little on gratitude. Not because I have little for which to be thankful, but because I was allowing the hurt to overshadow the multitude of blessings around me.
Two weeks into the challenge I was beginning to reverse my thought process. I was becoming more and more aware that my attitude toward the people and circumstances in my life was negatively affecting my mental health. No doubt, it was affecting those I was around as well.
Each day I was reminded of the reasons I have to be grateful regardless of circumstances. Starting with the fact that I am owed nothing. I am in fact a debtor. Were I to have to pay for all that I have done, I would be completely unable to do so. It is only because of Jesus that I have any hope at all. His sacrifice allows me to be God’s child and for that I should be infinitely grateful.
At that point, my perspective began to change. I am choosing to find my joy in what My Savior has done for me rather than in how many times things work out my way. Naturally, my joy has increased and my attitude has improved. 23 days in, I know that I can always be grateful for Jesus.
What cannot go without being stated however, is that being grateful does not mean that pain is not real. It does not discount the ache loved ones feel knowing someone is missing. It does not discredit the fear many are facing due to health concerns, job concerns, or uncertain futures. Gratitude can be deep and abounding and still recognize the needs of our own hearts and the hearts of others.
So on this Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful beyond measure for so much. I am also standing with those who are hurting deeply today. I am praying for those who are knee deep in the hard. If you are one of those people I want you to know that you matter, your feelings matter, and they are valid. My greatest hope is that over this next year joy and laughter and peace come to you in abundance.