Gratitude. It’s a powerful attitude that studies reveal builds resilience to stress and everyday hassles and helps us see through the lens of beauty rather than sorrow and loss.
Think for a moment of a bad experience. A sorrow, loss, or sadness, and then remember that you are here now, able to remember because you made it through; you got through the trial, endured the hardship, and survived that bad relationship. You’re coming out of the dark valley.
Contrasting the present with negative times in your past can make you happier or at least somewhat relieved 😊
Gratitude isn’t simply about rising above it or choosing to count your blessings. It’s rather about learning to see life differently and through the lens that something good is being worked out in all of this; both the good and the bad parts of our life. That there is an opportunity to transform an obstacle into an opportunity and frame a loss into a gain.
Today I encourage you to do a little exercise to help you harness the power of gratitude and to gain a new perspective if needed.
Recall a past unpleasant emotion or experience and write down for 20 minutes about that memory. As you write, define any positive consequences of this difficulty.
Then ask yourself..
How has this experience benefited you?
How have you grown as a person?
Were there personal strengths that grew in you because you went through this?
What ability did the experience draw out of you that surprised you?
How has the negative event made you better able to meet the challenges of the future?
How has it helped you appreciate the important people in your life?
Be sure to write as many positive aspects of your experience as you can, for which you can now be grateful.
The key to growing in gratefulness is not simply to relive an experience. Studies reveal that simply reliving an upsetting event makes us feel worse about it; emotional venting without accompanying insight does not produce change or help us see how it can be redeemed in our lives.
Rather look for reasons to be grateful, because a by-product of learning to walk in the attitude of gratefulness is healing, renewed strength, and gaining a redemptive perspective.
Gratitude also reminds us that, “God will work ALL things together for our good.” (Romans 8:28 NKJV) The devil may have meant to destroy and steal from you, but God will have the last say. He’s determined to turn your ashes; the most repulsive parts of your life into a testimony of beauty and wonder.
“To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3 NKJV)
Today I encourage you to sit with Jesus and see how and where He has and is working in your life. Seek a fresh perspective through the lens that heaven is at work in your circumstances; both present, past, and future. God is the redeemer and restorer, and He will finish what he has started in you, “making everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
Prayer: Lord thank you that you are creating beauty out of my ashes. Please help me to see with the eyes of gratefulness and how you are working to redeem even the most difficult parts of my life and make all things work together for my good. In Jesus' name Amen.