It’s that time of year where everyone shares their thankful countdown to Thanksgiving and spend a few minutes each day pondering the things in their lives that they are grateful for. But isn’t it a shame that we only spend one month of the year focusing on the things we are grateful for and we spend the rest of our time focusing on what we don’t have or what isn’t going “right” in our lives?
Gratitude has such a profound effect not only on our attitudes, but it physiologically changes our bodies, minds, and hearts. I have found that anytime I am going through a tough time, finding the good things amidst the trial and focusing on the lessons I am learning helps to change my perspective on the situation. Being grateful for our struggles, our situations and our weaknesses, puts everything into perspective. Instead of always being down, depressed, frustrated, and feeling victimized by others or situations out of our control – we can choose to be grateful in all circumstances and to recognize that the Lord is always in control.
One of our Kunkel Family Motto’s is He has the power, but it’s our test. When you reflect on this statement, it helps to put you back in the driver’s seat to life’s experiences you are journeying through. God always has the power, He is always in control of the situation, but often He sits back to allow us to learn – to progress – because ultimately, don’t we all want to become perfect? Just as in the parable of the refiner’s fire, we must undergo a lot of bending, plying, and heat to become something beautiful.
Elder Dieter F. Utchdorf once said,
We sometimes think that being grateful is what we do after our problems are solved, but how terribly shortsighted that is. How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?
I am as guilty as anyone at often focusing on what I want, what I don’t have – instead of loooking around and being happy with what I’ve been given. I found this Gratitude Challenge online and wanted to share it because it helps us to think outside of the box. To complete the challenge, make a list of 100 things you are thankful for (10 in each category). It is simple and doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the abundance of blessings we have been given:
- Write 10 things about nature you are grateful for.
Write 10 things about today you are grateful for.
Write 10 places on earth you are grateful for.
Write 10 modern inventions you are grateful for.
- Write 10 deceased people you are grateful for.
Write 10 foods you are grateful for.
- Write 10 material possessions you are grateful for.
- Write 10 physical abilities you are grateful for.
- Write 10 living people you are grateful for.
Write 10 things about the gospel you are grateful for.
My prayer is that each of us connects deep within us to recognize the Lord’s hand in every corner of our lives. Nothing happens by happenstance. Whenever times are hard, I turn to my Savior and ask what more I can learn from this experience and rejoice in the trust He has given me to get through it and become better for it. May we all enjoy this time of year to start new thinking patterns in our minds and hearts and to strengthen our ability to be grateful in all circumstances that the Lord trusts us with