Thankfulness and Trauma... They Aren't Mutually Exclusive
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
~1 Thessalonians 5:18
In ALL things? Really?
My job just announced a layoff.
My husband says he doesn’t love me anymore.
Someone stole my credit card number and drained my bank account.
My daughter was just diagnosed with leukemia.
My sister was raped at college.
And on and on and on. Life’s craziness, darkness, and it’s never ending attempt to pull you down can feel beyond relentless. And here you are telling me to be thankful in all things? How? And Why? Why would I try or even want to do that?
Ohhh, I feel ya! Let me just say, I feel ya! But note this scripture does not say be thankful for all things. We are not to be thankful that any of these things happened. We are to be thankful and give thanks to God while traveling through them - during the journey. Find joy in the journey. That is my motto and something I strive to do, especially when life seems like it is doing it's very best to derail or obliterate me.
Why? So. Many. Reasons...
Thankfulness, being grateful, is like sunshine for the soul! It lifts your spirits. It changes your focus. In the midst of life’s worst traumas and storms there is still always a lot to be grateful for. We simply need to determine to notice, to cherish, and to give thanks for those good and wonderful things in our lives.
Thankfulness breeds joy. Joy is a deep abiding emotion that can carry you through many difficult circumstances. In a truly thankful heart, joy abides no matter what. Can you imagine having deep joy within even when mourning a terrible loss? It is possible!
Thankfulness negates bitterness! Thankfulness in the heart is like “Roundup” for a garden. It takes those weeds out at the root. No one needs roots of bitterness creeping into the soil of their heart.
A thankful heart finds it easier to forgive and the act of forgiving keeps your heart unbound and free. Free to live fully, love deeply, and to spread joy and light wherever it goes.
We humans have the ability to really focus in with laser sharp intensity when we want. Yes, even those of us who have problems staying focused. We are still able to be super focused at times. We need to be sure that our focus is on the right things. Too often our focus is so fixed on our problem or our loss or our pain that it becomes all we can see. This can cause some interesting, harmful things to occur. When all you can see is the issue, you have no way to see any potential solutions. Soon it takes up all of your thoughts, time, energy, and emotions.
The thing is, who wants to be consumed with something negative? Who wants to spend the majority of their life focused on issues? You don’t have to live very long before it becomes apparent that though there are terrific things that life has to offer, it truly is a series of obstacles - some more difficult than others - but obstacles nonetheless.
So as you are traversing your life’s journey, why not create a habit of focusing on the good? Focus on your blessings and the beauty in your life. I had a friend once who said if you are trying to become more grateful, and you think you have no reason, start small. We ALL have things to be grateful for. For instance, you could give thanks for having more than one pair of shoes. After all, there are people who have no shoes.
Challenge yourself! Make a list of everything you can think of to be grateful for. They don’t all need to be material items, nor should they. Just grab a pen and get started! You may be surprised at all that you have been overlooking!
~ Kathy Bryan