Gratitude Displaying It In The Midst of Trials
The holiday season is often a time of joy and excitement. There’s great food, gifts, time with friends and family you probably don’t get the opportunity to see too often, and don’t even get me started on the holiday decorations! Everything from the changing leaves to Christmas ornaments can be enough to brighten even the gloomiest mood. But life can be unpredictable and sometimes, the holidays aren’t so great for everyone. They can also be a time of anxiety and depression, missing loved ones, or fighting some of the most difficult battles we’ve ever fought.
I know firsthand about these battles. This season, my family is in the midst of one. Not too long ago, my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Needless to say, this was unexpected and it has hands down, been one of the hardest battles we’ve ever fought. There have been days where, despite our resilient faith, we weren’t as strong as we wished to be and doubt may have slipped through the cracks. During these times, it’s hard to stay optimistic and upbeat every single moment, but believe it or not, these were the moments we’ve been the most grateful!
A time of crisis can overshadow all of the things this season reminds us we’re supposed to be thankful for and it can be hard to express gratitude for the good things when you’re in the midst of the bad. That doesn’t mean however, that you can’t or shouldn’t try.
So, what are some of the ways you can express pure gratitude during the holiday season, even in the midst of trials and tribulations?
CGE put some thought into it and we’ve come up with at least 3:
- Start each day thanking God – When you’re going through something difficult and it seems like there is absolutely zero light at the end of the tunnel, these are usually times when we seek God for answers and relief. It’s not very often that we think to thank Him first in times of crisis but the reality is, some of His biggest blessings and revelations are being delivered to you through that difficult time. It can be hard however, to see through the struggle of it all. What if during times like these, we took the road of approaching God with a heart full of gratitude? Before we uttered our concerns, what if we uttered nothing but thanksgiving and praise prior to expressing what it is that’s consuming our minds? In a world that seems to be shifting more towards self-worship, it’s a blessing to even realize we need God at all times. That in itself is a lot to be thankful for.
- Journaling/Documenting – Let’s just get this out of the way: you don’t have to be “creative” to write. Actually, everyone is creative but that’s a different subject for a different day. It can be quite therapeutic to pick up a pen and put your thoughts on paper. Even on your most difficult day, taking some time to write down what you’re grateful for can change the direction of your thinking and you never know how sharing what you’re going through can be helpful to others. During this trying time for my family, I’ve been sharing our journey out loud through social media and we’ve been surprised and grateful for the response. Not only has it helped us, we’ve realized that it’s been a big help to others as well!
- Show your appreciation for others – It can be hard to take the focus off of yourself and your troubles when going through hardships but taking the time to do something nice for others can really shift your focus. No matter how hard of a time you’re having, there’s always someone else experiencing difficulties as well, even if they don’t express it. No, this doesn’t make what you’re experiencing easier, but doing something good for someone else can make a difference in your attitude.
The more we express our gratitude, whether it be toward others or to God, the more we become mindful of the multitude of things we have to be grateful for. I can’t say enough how focusing on the things we have to be grateful for has shed more light on the positive in our lives throughout this experience. Even on the toughest days, we’ve found ourselves thanking God because we know there’s always some good in each struggle, whether it be for us or someone else. Knowing this, we know to always look for it and to keep our focus on that instead of the hardship itself.