There is no denying it, with Thanksgiving less than a week away and Christmas, as usual, not trailing too far behind, the holiday season is upon us! With the buzz in the air, it truly is a magical time.
However, this time of year can also be complicated for many people. Though it is a time of joy, love, and giving, it can also be a time for struggle. Holidays can stir all kinds of emotions, ranging from childhood wounds to newly discovered hurdles, and I have been reminding myself that not everyone wears their struggle on their sleeve. Yet just another reason to be kinder than necessary.
This week we had great discussion in my women’s Life group. As we shared some of our own struggles and triumphs, we got into the ever-so-popular topic of gratitude. I’m not sure which of my wise lady friends said it, but the idea of being grateful in things not just for things was mentioned and it really resonated with me. In fact, I have not been able to stop thinking about it.
Being grateful for things is wonderful, but learning to be grateful in things will transform your life.
On the home front, the girls have been faithfully filling out their gratitude journals with what they are grateful for each day. They’ve written quite the array of thanks, being grateful for spending time baking with mom (awww) to being grateful for Halloween Candy (chocolate specifically for Kaitlyn). I love watching their mental process as they think through their day and pick out the things they are most grateful for. What a beautiful introduction to the concept of gratitude!
However, I’m learning there is another, dare I say more complicated?, layer of gratitude: the importance of being grateful in things, not just for things. This is an advance step and in my own tough times, it requires more intentional daily practice. However, I believe the ability to be grateful even when we don’t feel grateful is transformational.
Nobody is grateful for a bad day, for the flu hitting their house, for the loss of a job, for the internal struggles we face, but we can work on being grateful in them. Being able to name our blessings when life is the most difficult is probably even more important than recognizing them when times are smooth-sailing.
I’ve been practicing this myself lately and though it doesn’t make struggles disappear, it does allow me to avoid going down the victim/self-pity route. It allows me to be present and celebrate the joys of friends and family. It allows me to see all the beauty and good around me and in my own life.
So whether your life is overflowing with joys this time of year or whether you are feeling depleted in mind, body, or spirit, I encourage you to join me in being grateful in this season. I am grateful for you, this community, for allowing me to write from my heart, no matter how scatterbrained it may come across at times. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
Does gratitude come naturally to you?
Is it something you practice?
What is one thing you are grateful for at this very moment?
If this topic sparks an interest in you, here are two great articles on the topic: