November is the month of thankfulness, amirite? With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it seems like all of the sudden we have thankfulness on the brain, in the heart, and everywhere around us.
Maybe you’re doing (or have done) 30 Days of Thankfulness on social media, maybe you joined me last year for #thankshub Challenge (my favorite blog series ever btw), or maybe you’re following along on social media as I offer up a challenge each day that I’m calling #yourthankfulthing [if you want to play along be sure to follow along on your favorite social media facebook, twitter, or instagram].
One of my favorite Thanksgiving things to do is to go around the table and say something that each person is thankful for. Not only does it make me reflective, it also totally warms me from the inside out to hear what others have on their hearts for thanksgiving.
I could probably gush for a few hours on all the ways choosing to be thankful, to see thankful, to remember and document thankful has changed my heart.
But the most profound way it has changed me is when I’m sitting at the crossroads of a hard day which is quickly turning into a hard week and is quickly turning into a hard season. I stop myself, take a deep breath and start thinking of things to be thankful for in the present situation.
I think back to some of the hardest things we’ve done in the last few years – and we have had some hard seasons in the last few years – and I think of things to be thankful for. And yes they say that hindsight is 20/20 and so of course it’s easier to see things to be thankful for in the past.
But in those hard things, it was actively choosing to see things to be thankful for in that moment that was life changing. Life giving.
Like when my husband was in the hospital for two weeks when we had a newborn colicky baby at home and he reminded me that it may not have been the cure we had been praying for, but he was getting a cure through the procedure.
Or when I had to have emergency surgery after leaving my bestie’s wedding after the toasts and it being covered by the remains of our insurance from my teaching contract.
Or when during these events we lived with my parents and had extra hands to help with babies and laundry and dinner.
Sometimes we get so stuck in the bad thing, it’s all we see. It just keeps getting bigger, the more we focus on it, until it’s crushing us, both inside and outside.
This amazing power works in reverse, of course, and as we learn to focus on good things, thankful things, THOSE will be the things that grow.
Suddenly you’ll sit down to write out something you’re thankful for or go to speak it out loud and the wave of gratitude will overwhelm you with its size and all you’ll see is thankful.
And from learning how to change my focus from the hard things to the beautiful and life-giving things that come, even in the hardest of situations, I learned that my heart-song can be joy even in the face of hard stuff.
Maybe you’re wondering about doing this – about making a change, and seeing more things to be thankful for, especially on hard days, weeks, months, or seasons.
I would be so honored if you would join me for a FREE 7 day email devotion called Oatmeal Thankfulness. It’s all about learning thankfulness in and through the hard things and how the warmth that fills you from that goes with you, kind of like eating oatmeal for breakfast.
Hard stuff is part of the deal. Even Jesus told us we’d all go through hard things. We don’t usually get to just change the circumstances that go into a hard situation. But we can learn and grow and work on changing, with the Holy Spirit’s help, our reaction and attitude in those situations.
What is something that helps you get through hard days or hard seasons? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!