Finding Gratitude when Life is Hard
When your world shatters around you, it feels impossible to have gratitude for anything. When my marriage exploded into billions of atoms and blasted into the universe, I was devastated and drowning in grief and so were my six children. My faith in God was shaken to its foundations. I desperately needed something to hang on to get me through each new day, so I searched for some shining, good thing to appreciate day-by-day.
Needing money, I got a job as a cashier at a Panera Bread restaurant. When it was slow at the counter, I would clean whatever needed cleaning. I loved to clean the front doors, because the sun gleamed through each pane of glass and sparkled. I would tell myself “You can clean windows and enjoy the sunshine flowing through them, even though everything else is broken.”
When the bread would come out of the ovens, I would breathe deeply of that warm bread aroma and tell myself how wonderful it was, and how thankful I was to enjoy its fragrance and taste. I would thank God for the taste, aroma, and comfort of peanut butter and strawberry jam toast while I sat at the table in my little single-wide trailer with six kids.
Someone told me I was silly to do this, that God meant for me to have “abundant life” so why was I focusing on the tiny things in my days? Looking back, his comment was soul crushing. If we can’t be thankful for the little joys that come our way, why should we think God will bless us with big joys.
Gratitude As A Way of Life
I have found that there is always something to be thankful for, and when the big parts of my life are melting down around me I can find something to be grateful for if I look for it. When we look for positive events in our lives, appreciate them, and thank God for them our lives feel better. We feel better. It’s a win-win situation.
According to A Practical Guide to Gratitude at Unstuck.com*:
“Gratitude puts situations into perspective.When we can see the good as well as the bad, it becomes more difficult to complain and stay stuck.
Gratitude helps us realize what we have. The awareness of what we’re grateful for can lessen our tendency to want more all the time.
*this article is no longer available.
Gratitude makes us happier.
Gratitude strengthens relationships, improves health, reduces stress, and, in general, makes us happier, according to Dr. Robert Emmons in his book Thanks!”
How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier
I will not sugar-coat this and tell you that I am always happy or grateful. Sometimes we all experience dark times that make it hard to see anything to be thankful for. I understand how hard that can be, because I have been there. If you’re feeling like you’re suffocating in the dark, and cannot find the energy to even look for something to be grateful for, please don’t suffer alone. Talk to a trusted family member, friend, pastor, or doctor. Call your local Suicide Prevention Hotline or go to your emergency department at your local hospital. You are not alone in your pain and with support, counseling, and/or medicine you can begin to see the beauty and goodness that is all around you again.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also like: https://upbeatliving.net/one-thousand-gifts-a-dare-to-live-fully-right-where-you-are-book-review/
About The Author
I’m a writer, disabled registered nurse, and single mom of six children ages 33-21. It’s my desire to provide you with encouragement and information to help you live your life to the fullest with chronic illness. I want this to develop into a supportive community. I would love to add you to my email list so I can send updates directly to your inbox. If you would like this please reply to the form below. Thank you!
Lovely post Sounds like you went through an unbelievably tough time, and it shows your real strength of character that you were still able to find things to be grateful for. Like you, I think it’s so important to focus on the little things that bring joy. I also wrote a post about this, and I started something called #mydailythankyou where I tweeted something I was grateful for every day (when possible!). I found this really helped me to look for the “good.” As you say, it’s not always easy but it’s definitely helpful
Thanks for reading and commenting, Emma. I’m glad you found that looking for the beauty and goodness in your daily life helps you to manage better. I figure why be more miserable than I have to be. Thankfulness definitely makes each day better no matter how yucky it is.
You make a tough time sound so manageable, Kathy! While I’m not glad you went through that, your determination, flow and gratitude is inspiring. ❤️
It really wasn’t that manageable, Sheryl. It’s just when six kids are depending on you, you grab onto whatever you can to get through each day. Thanks for reading and commenting.
I think that the abundant life God wants for us absolutely IS in being grateful for the little things! I love your perspective!
Thank you very much for reading and commenting! I agree with you that abundant life happens as we are grateful for what we have.
What a beautiful post about the power of gratitude. I greatly admire your attitude during difficult times.
Thank you so much for reading and posting a comment! I feel like someone is out there when people comment.
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