It’s that time of year again when you hear many people sharing what they’re thankful for and you may even see notes of it on your Facebook feed. In a couple weeks, you’ll find yourself around a table with family and friends giving thanks for the many good gifts given. We share thanks for our family, our home, our food, our cars, our clothing, our community, our faith, and the list goes on.

But do we stop and give thanks for the trials?

Hmmm, it’s hard to do, especially if we are in the midst of those trials. It’s hard to say “Thank you God” while we endure pain, fear, doubt, or despair.

But if we took a step back and saw the blessings resulting from our trials, would we then have much to be thankful for? Perhaps we would recognize the wonderful blessings coming through that difficult circumstance. Is it a kind note from a friend? Is it a bill paid or a meal provided? Is it the recognition of the Church coming together in surprising ways?

While my family and I sat in the hospital for 12 days, praying God would bring my father out of his coma, we couldn’t ignore the blessing of overwhelming support through many avenues. While that time ended with intense grief and sorrow, we couldn’t set aside how immensely God provided through His faithful Body.

But what about when it’s just a plain ‘ol awful day? You know, the kind where you spill coffee on your freshly-cleaned carpets, run out of gas on the way to an important work meeting, the kids wake up sick and crabby, the hot water isn’t working, and there’s no milk left for cereal. Yep, those are days that really grind us.

You can probably think of several days this past week that felt just like that. So quickly we can find ourselves all tied up in knots over difficult circumstances, some of which can be our own fault. Yet even those days have good in them to be celebrated.

So how do we take a step back? How do we gain perspective? How do we stop ourselves and somehow remember that there’s still joy to be found?

Stop. Say “Thank you…”. Say “Thank you…” again. Keep counting your blessings until you find your eyes and heart lifted upward, above your circumstances. My friends, it is a choice to not wallow in our misery. It’s a choice to change our outlook.

It’s your CHOICE plus your THANKS to see the JOY in any situation, no matter how dismal or normal. So next time, which may be tomorrow, that you’re ticked off at the world in a hot second, STOP. Remember that you’ve been given a choice here. Will you take it? I pray we all do.

– Heather Burgette

 

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