Are you finding it hard to embrace thankfulness in this season of your life? Is your life riddled with pain, loss, and challenges – making it difficult to see anything worthy of praise? I know, I have been there too. However, having a grateful heart brings many benefits. Find out the 10 reasons why we need to embrace gratitude in the midst of the unexpected.
When My Life Turned Upside Down
Have you ever had to watch someone you love suffer? How about your child?
You watch the struggle, and yet you can’t fix it. Therefore, the pain seems unbearable, not only for your child but you too. You wish more than ever it was you instead of them. It can overwhelm the soul. After all, aren’t’ Moms supposed to make things better?
You pray, beg, and plead with God to please take it away, but the thorn remains.
I remember like it was yesterday. The pain, the guilt, and the frustration overwhelm you. You move into “fix it mode,” desperately trying to find a cure as if you were GOD.
Then you lie in bed and wonder; do I have to open my eyes? Trying hard to wish the reality away, you wonder how on earth a person can endure another moment knowing your child is struggling and you can’t fix it.
Maybe your circumstances are different – divorce, death, your illness, disability, financial, addiction or something else. It doesn’t matter, we all go through unwanted situations in our lives which have the potential of devouring us whole if we aren’t careful.
Why Embrace Gratitude?
As I watched my child suffer it quickly became apparent this was going to be a long journey. Mental Illness wasn’t going away. It was here to stay, and I needed to learn how to persevere through circumstances that were way beyond my abilities.
Are you going through unwanted circumstances?
One of the tools which became invaluable was learning to count my blessings as they come day by day. I quit waiting for a BIG blessing or victory. Instead, I started naming the small ones with a heart of gratitude.
Many times life calls for us to live moment to moment, not day to day. Looking around and noticing the smallest thing to be grateful for will make a difference. It changes your mindset. In other words, it can be the lady who smiled, the room which is not too cold, the person who was kind on the other end of the phone, a friend who texted at precisely the right time.
We can shout victory and name it a benefit no matter how small or large the blessing or accomplishment.
Slowly but surely as we begin to embrace what is right, we uncover the many benefits of embracing gratitude in the midst of the unexpected.
Last week we covered, “How to Embrace Gratitude in the Midst of the Unexpected,” but maybe you need to start with the, “why embrace gratitude?”
A grateful heart brings many benefits for anyone regardless of their circumstances. However, if you are in the midst of the unexpected, it is crucial to persevering well.
10 Reasons to Embrace Gratitude – (Even in the Midst of the Unexpected)
1. Grateful People Are Happier People
Have you ever noticed happy people seem to be full of thanksgiving? It seems to pour right out of them.
Seeking gratitude can help us to find more joy in the present moment.
“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” – Brene Brown
Now, I am not saying this will turn you into a bubbly person while persevering through the mess of life. However, the more you focus on gratitude, the closer you will get to happy and isn’t that better than unhappy?
2. Boosts Our Physical Wellbeing
Focusing on thankfulness has been proven to help us feel better. It can improve our sleep, give us more energy, and even lower our blood pressure.
When in the midst of challenges it is easy for us to get run down and develop physical ailments. Practicing gratitude will help to serve as a preventive measure.
“I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength.”
3. Improves Our Emotional Health
Having our thoughts turned toward gratefulness can serve as a protective factor when stressed. It can reduce our destructive emotions like envy, aggression, and resentment while increasing our positive feelings.
It encourages resilience, which is something we desperately need while enduring.
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” – Zig Ziglar
4. Enhances Our Relationships
Don’t you think someone with a grateful heart is pretty likable? Being thankful will increase your potential for gaining new friendships.
But what about the relationships you already have? Being grateful will enhance those relationships while building more trust. Looking for what you have to be thankful for in those relationships will put the focus on what is right not what is lacking.
“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer
Practicing gratitude will also increase empathy toward others.
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19
5. Leads to Contentment
We must learn how to be content in all circumstances, or we will not persevere well. Counting our blessings will help to change our focus from what is wrong to what is right. Gratefulness will decrease the negativity that tends to ruin a life.
6. Supports Recovery
Frequently, a gratitude journal is used as a treatment for both mental health and physical challenges. Counting our blessings can reduce depressive symptoms and speed recovery from a bodily injury.
7. Helps Us to Embrace the Wait
We know waiting is hard. Counting your blessings along the way will make waiting less exasperating.
8. Hope Soars
Being thankful increases our optimism which in turn fuels our hope.
9. Life Becomes Valuable
As we develop a habit of having a grateful heart we begin to see, even in the midst of the unexpected, life is worth living.
“In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle
10. Deepens Your Bond with God **** The Best reason****
“Perhaps nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves to a larger world than remembering God in gratitude. Such a perspective puts God in view in all of life, not just in the moments we set aside for worship or spiritual disciplines. Not just in the moments when life seems easy.” – Henri Nouwen
As we turn our gratitude toward God, it will deepen our bond with him. Our connection builds trust which in turn will give us more faith, hope, and love.
Faith – Our faith grows stronger by remembering and thanking God for all he has blessed us with and done for us.
Don’t forget God never leaves us. Be sure to remember to thank him for being by your side.
Hope – When we trust God and voice our gratefulness it gives us hope for a brighter tomorrow. We know he will bring beauty out of the ashes. This attitude helps us from becoming overwhelmed by our current circumstances.
Love – As we acknowledge our gratitude to God for loving us right where we are it helps us to love others in the same way.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
Learning to count my blessings and thanking God for them has been a lifesaver. It has become a lifetime habit which has helped me to endure some pretty incredible circumstances.
Have you developed a habit of gratitude? How has it made a difference?
If you haven’t made it a habit don’t let me convince you as to “why embrace gratitude.” Give it a whirl this month and see for yourself if it makes a difference.
I am confident having a heart of gratitude will make a difference. When you adopt an attitude of gratitude, your relationship with God will soar.
How do you answer the question, why embrace gratitude in the midst of the unexpected?
Click here to read last weeks post on “How to Embrace Gratitude in the Midst of the Unexpected,”
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