Have you ever had the experience of awakening and just for a moment lying there and thinking of all the reasons you are grateful?
A while back, maybe a year or more now, I decided I was done focusing on all the things that were “wrong” in my life, and that I would greet each day by giving thanks for all the things that were “right.”
In the beginning it was really hard; I had to re-train my thought process. But I decided that before my feet hit the floor every morning, I would read my devotions and spend a little time being grateful for all that I had. I don’t want it to sound like my life has been a bed of roses. My life, like most people’s, has had its challenges. I am just choosing not to camp with them.
Over time, I have learned that there are some core beliefs that we need to grab a hold of in order to change our outlook. One of them is the conclusion that those who raised us did the best they knew how to do. I am not saying that we always got what we needed, just that we choose to blanket our upbringing in grace. Secondly, we must come to an understanding that people can’t give what they don’t have. For a lot of years I made the mistake of wanting more from some of the people in my life than they were actually capable of giving. I was always left hurt by my unmet expectations. When I finally realized that my happiness isn’t in the hands of others, I was so much happier. I know now that my happiness is my responsibility alone and that I don’t need validation for my accomplishments.
I have often said that the last couple years of my life has been a lot like weeding a garden. I have removed everything that was crowding out the things that I wanted to grow. Some things I have transplanted elsewhere, and some I just let go. It sounds harsh, I know. But recently I read a little ditty in an email that says people come into our lives for a time, a reason and a season. I think sometimes we hold on longer than we should. There were also those in my garden that I thought were weeds, but when I pulled out some of the other “stuff,” they turned out to be great producers. It takes work to know which is which.
I am glad I did the hard work back then. Now, more often than not, I wake up full of gratitude. I have a job that fulfills me with a boss and co-workers I genuinely respect. I feel honored to be in their company. I have a home life that is at peace, kids that I am proud of, and friends that are supportive and push me into being a better version of myself.
Many of us have bought into the view that we are victims. In truth, we can choose to move past everything that life has thrown at us to date. We can go to bed tonight and say, “My feet will not hit the floor in the morning until I say 10 things that I am grateful for.”
Maybe you are reading this and thinking, Yeah, but my life isn’t working, my marriage is falling apart, my kids are constantly fighting, and I have a job I hate. I know first-hand that the first step in toward change is gratitude. Your job has you miserable?Think, Wow in this economy I am so grateful that I have a steady source of income. Your marriage is stressed? Try, I am so grateful that today is a new day to be the best partner I know I can be. Kids driving you nuts? I am so grateful that I have children because my life would be so different without them.
I have discovered that I have the power to change anything I truly want to change. You do, too. And I am so grateful for that.