Are you a Resolutions person or a One Word person?
Some of my favorite girlhood memories revolve around holidays like Thanksgiving. My mom always woke well before the sun on Thanksgiving morning. She prepared the turkey and slid it into the oven to slow cook all day long. By 2:00 in the afternoon, the aroma of the roasting bird made my mouth water! My parents always invited friends and family to join us around our makeshift table. Food and laughter were plentiful.
“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community
Have you ever prayed for something big? I mean, the “it’s probably not going to happen because it’s so big” big?
How many times have I chosen bitterness or irritation over gratefulness in the midst of difficulty?
After being humiliated?
How often have I held onto the pain rather than look for even one small reason to thank God?
And disappointments? Don’t get me started on those.
Yet, I find encouragement in this quote today. Because it is one step from bitterness to gratitude. Two small words. And one big perspective shift.
It begins with a willingness to look beyond the initial hurt of a difficulty, a disappointment, a failure, of being humiliated. Sometimes, I must choose to move beyond the pain and into the beginning of healing. Into a place of rest, of peace.
And it begins with a simple choice.
As I make the decision to stop allowing these situations to dominate the way I perceive them, as I take my eyes off of me and place them on the One who created me, then I take one more step into spiritual maturity.
When I can say, “Thank You,” for allowing these into my life, I can walk in Jesus’ peace. Difficulties will visit another day, but when I choose thankfulness over bitterness, I am strengthened to walk through them in peace.
What about you? How do you move beyond the pain of life’s challenges into a place of gratitude? What’s a lesson you’ve learned through struggles that you’re thankful for now?
A sprained ankle
A washer that stops working mid-load
Cross country moves