It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well. It’s easy to be grateful when life is good and you’re surrounded by joy. It’s much harder to be grateful when life is hard

11/20/2017 .
Reannah Sartoris  .  Saddleback Singles Leadership Team

It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well. It’s easy to be grateful when life is good and you’re surrounded by joy. It’s much harder to be grateful when life is hard. When you’re in the darkness and can’t yet see the light. It is also hard knowing that, sometimes, the only way to get to that light, is to be grateful, even when you don’t feel like it.

To help, I propose The Gratitude Challenge:

From Jayson D. Bradley

 “Whether you feel content where your life is right now or you wish things were different, you can make the decision to be thankful”. If you have a hard time believing that thankfulness can make a big difference, challenge yourself to a week of cultivating gratefulness. Before you get out of bed in the morning, thank God for three things in your life. As you go through your day, recognize and vocalize gratitude for the traits and kindnesses of others. At nightfall, offer up a prayer of thanksgiving for three challenges you’re experiencing. Give it a week and see how you feel. If you’re starting to see a difference, give it a month. It only takes about 21 days to make a habit!”

 So today, I start my Gratitude Challenge and make my list. I look for the good, the little things, that make me grateful for where I’m at in my life.

  1. I’m grateful for God’s protection. Sometimes God removes things from my life with little warning or reason. I’m thankful because that often means he’s protecting me from something I can’t see. 
  2. I’m grateful for confidence. When God moves my path, I’m so thankful he gives me the strength to keep walking, even when the direction is unknown.
  3. I’m grateful for my community. My friends, family, small group, coworkers and ministry team. Sometimes we’re quiet or far apart, but I am thankful that we all RALLY behind each other when there is a need. If you don’t have a community yet, spend the time and do the work to build one, no matter how small. It’s worth it.
  4. I’m grateful for God’s goodness. God is good all the time and all the time, God is good! I’m thankful that even in my darkest hours God can use any experience for my good and His glory. Amen? 
  5. I’m grateful for all the little details I don’t always stop to notice. When life is good, I move quickly, but when life gets hard, it forces me to slow down. And in the slowness I find my grateful heart in baking pumpkin bread, Netflix marathons with my kids, movie night, game nights, singing in the car, friends and kids that make me laugh, grab coffee with me and give me hugs just because. You can’t get a hug unless you stop and slow down.

So this week, in the midst of love or pain, family or solitude, or the chaos or the calm, I challenge you to be grateful. To find the good. It’s out there. 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful...And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~Colossians 3:15-17