How would you define gratitude? How is gratitude present in your life today? Could you use a little more?
One thing I love about my life is that I have an overwhelming peace thanks to my relationship with God but also because of my attitude of gratitude. This doesn't mean I don't slip every now and then, but overall I am a very grateful person. I am thankful for the many experiences that have come my way. The ones that have hurt me, helped me, and encouraged me.
I was watching Oprah many years ago and her episode that day surrounded the very topic of gratitude. It probably has gone down in history as one of her most impactful as it is still often discussed. Watch this clip below to get an idea...
Gratitude starts with waking up in the morning, despite the challenges you know you will face and just being thankful you are breathing, alive, and able to live life. I've stood by the philosophy for quite some time that worrying does not fix. Worry is not going to make your problems any easier or make them disappear. That doesn't mean I don't worry or worry never crosses my mind, but I find myself worrying quite less than others I know. ACTION is what's going to fix the worry. PRAYING is going to fix the worry. ASKING for what you need and want is going to fix the worry. This philosophy has ticked off a lot of people I know because worrying is deemed to be so natural. If you lose your job and you aren't absolutely, completely, out of your mind stressed and worried...you're lazy. I could go on and on. Faith makes it easier. Gratitude for what you do have makes it even more so.
When I watched this Oprah episode from back in the day, I vaguely remember her having a guest on her show who was in pain after losing a loved one. They felt cheated out of the additional years this person was supposed to have. Oprah turned to the guest and told them they should have gratitude for the time they did have with their loved one instead of the time taken away from them. This was a huge lightbulb for me and is something I apply to every grief experience I have had, every loss. If you've followed me through my journey of losing my marriage, although at times I feel robbed and experienced things I feel I shouldn't have had to, I'm grateful to have been married to M and have experienced that love. In losing the baby, it's been the most difficult thing in my life, but I am grateful to have had those feelings, those emotions, and carried a life even for such a short time. With my breakup with J, I wrote about this not too long ago. At times I question. At times I don't understand. At times I wish it were different, but I am grateful, SO grateful for God bringing him to my life and keeping him there for as long as he did. I've touched on it here and there but this concept of gratitude despite tragedy really made sense in my relationship with a man named Jay. It's a long, long story but he was a man who was like a father to me and ended his life far too soon. I felt robbed but after hearing this, I realized I needed to be thankful. Thankful that such a man was placed in my life, even for a short time, that impacted me and changed me as much as he did. Not everyone has that. This concept alone can help you view things so differently. It's one reason I feel I really don't have regret in life. Every decision I've made, every life event that's occurred happened and served a purpose.
One of the best ways to express and keep track of your gratitude is in a journal. I did this for a while, listing each day 3-5 things I was thankful for at the top, followed by my journal entry for that day, and concluding with prayer requests and praise reports. This allowed me to keep track of everything and see how gratitude and God was working in my life. I challenge you guys to take 5-10 minutes each day and do the same. Even if you do it for a month or two, you'll see a change.
Gratitude is a journey and that journey isn't always smooth, BUT it's life changing.
Don't forget that in just 4 short days on April 1st, we'll begin our 30 day challenges. Perhaps you will want to document your gratitude journey for the month on you blog. Perhaps you'll want to do something else, but you don't want to miss out on the challenge and following others who are making improvements, changing their day to day lives, and just plain having fun. For more info, click the link at the top of the page or the button on the right side.