At the end of 2015 I felt as if I was merely surviving. Life was more than I could handle, and I knew that I needed 2016 to be different. This was a time where I felt God call me to living a life of thankfulness and gratitude, and my resolution for 2016 became to make it a year of thankfulness.
I challenged myself to live a year of thankfulness and now that the year is over, I want to live a thankful life. Every day. Every year.
We often look at God’s goodness as a result of life’s circumstances, but God is good simply because He is good. So, could I be thankful for the tears? Could I be thankful for the trials? Could I be thankful even when I felt life was spinning? When I felt like I was drowning?
Personally, I know when life is hard, that is precisely when I need to experience God’s love the most.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:8
What I love about that verse is that we experience God’s goodness when we take refuge in Him. We don’t need refuge when life is going well, when we live in prosperity. We need refuge when things around us are falling apart, when we are falling apart.
And you know what is amazing? Some of the greatest blessings in my life have come out of the greatest pains.
This is why I determined to invest in Thankfulness through the storms in my life. This is why my resolution for 2016 was to make it a year of thankfulness.
There is actually research behind the idea that grateful people live happier, fuller lives:
“Gratitude is an attitude and way of living that has been shown to have many benefits in terms of health, happiness, satisfaction with life, and the way we relate to others. It goes hand in hand with mindfulness in its focus on the present and appreciation for what we have now, rather than wanting more and more. Feeling and expressing gratitude turns our mental focus to the positive, which compensates for our brains’ natural tendency to focus on threats, worries, and negative aspects of life. As such, gratitude creates positive emotions like joy, love, and contentment which research shows can undo the grip of negative emotions like anxiety. Fostering gratitude can also broaden your thinking, and create positive cycles of thinking and behaving in healthy, positive ways.” Melanie Greenberg PH.D
I wanted to see God’s goodness and experience His love regardless of my life circumstances. I wanted to be aware of the many times He is my refuge. I wanted to see the blessings that pour out to me and my family even when life is more than I can handle. And I wanted to grab on tight to the joy and love and beauty and keep it inside of me as a light for when it feels so dark outside. I wanted to focus on the good.
It has been a year.
God changed me this year.
Our life has not been easier. As a matter of fact, our family is transitioning through the most uncertain times we’ve seen since my husband and I got married. We are not sure what is ahead of us and we are certain our families worry about us. But this we know, God is in this, and God is good.
Being thankful has transformed my outlook in life. Even through the storms in life, I paused every night to take in the good. To take in the blessings. To take in the hope. I was able to see God’s sovereignty in our lives as we learn how to trust in Him. Completely.
Learning to be thankful throughout the good and the bad has made me recognize how easy it is to focus on the bad, but also how easy it is to focus on the good.
Being thankful has made me into a person who sees the world not through the pain and the loss, but through provision and abundance.
And I want to continue this way of life. I want my life to be centered around thankfulness because I know a thankful and grateful heart can make you persevere during the hardest days that come your way. Being thankful makes you look at life through the lenses of beauty and abundance and grace.
I am now determined to live a thankful life.