Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Thankfulness Is A Choice

The holidays can be a very difficult time to get through. We are coming upon Thanksgiving and for people who have suffered hardships and loss, some have trouble imagining how they can enjoy a holiday like this one. We associate holidays such as this with family gatherings and tidings of happiness and cheer. How does one do that if they are grieving? How does one have a good day among bad days or ill days? What if it takes a lot just to get out of bed in the morning? Then what?

There are things that are completely out of our control. Things that happen to us that we don't have a hand in fall into that category. It could be a medical illness of ourselves or one of our loved ones. It could be loss of a job or a home, or loss of a relationship that was not chosen. What do we do when we fell like hope is running out and faith is running cold?

I have been in that place before- that place where it's so dark and you can't see any light ahead.

Part of how we experience our lives is our perception -how we see it. We have more choices than most people realize. No, we cannot choose what is out of our control. We can make choices involving how receive and perceive it. Is it easy? Of course not. This is where God can help us.

I have been the strongest after I went through something hard. Do you know why that is? It's because that's when I was desperate enough to completely surrender myself to the Lord without holding anything back. That's when I was willing to try anything.

At a friend's suggestion, I started counting my blessings every morning before my feet hit the floor. Every time I felt weak I would ask God for His help. I made myself start looking at positives instead of negatives. Also, I started thinking of my situation as temporary instead of permanent (after all the only thing that is constant is change.) As I put these things into practice, they became more natural. It felt better. It didn't change the situation, it changed me.

It you are one of those people who are dreading the holidays, I challenge you to try what I tried to change your perception. Count your blessings every morning before you get out of bed. Every time you see yourself going down, simply ask God to lift you up. When you go to bed at night, ask God to help you see things in a brighter light. It won't make anything less than it is. But even in the darkest places, we all have a Great God to give thanks to, and we still have blessings we can focus on.

God bless you. I wish you enjoyable holidays!
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