During a serious health crisis, I reached a moment of—I’m ashamed to say—full on, wild-eyed hysteria. I called my best friend and began to unleash a tsunami of panic and was about to implode when she stopped me and said, “Wait a minute! Where’s your gratitude?”
Her question stopped me short—it seemed misplaced. Wasn’t she listening to me? Didn’t she hear how terrible things were? How irretrievably dark my future was going to be? How terrified I was?
But then she went on, pummeling me with her wisdom and experience.
“You need to have gratitude all over the place,” she said. “Thank God for your illness, thank Him for this experience and the plans He has for you, for the extraordinary and hidden ways He is creating a life for you. Thank Him for the future you cannot see.”
I struggled at first to put fear and gratitude together, but once I followed her lead and began thanking God for everything, even those things that were scaring the pants off of me in the moment, it was like a surge of joy was released in me. All the fear that was threatening to topple me was suddenly washed away, and I was a-righted in gratitude and the irrefutable knowledge that God is good and He is with me. It was the beginning of true healing.
Gratitude, I have learned, is one of the great antidotes to fear, negativity, self-pity, self-centeredness, and so many other ills of the soul. It’s like spiritual kryptonite to sin, to fear, to pride. Try it, even if you have to fake it at first: give thanks for everything.
“In all circumstances,” says Saint Paul to the Thessalonians in the Alleluia refrain, “give thanks.” Is he mad? Making undue demands on us? Doesn’t he know how terrible things can really get? Or is he following the lead of the Lord in Saint Luke’s Gospel?
He teaches us that gratitude is a vehicle to radical freedom of heart. Gratitude places us in right posture to God and to the world, and nothing can be more healing than that. What can you proclaim your gratitude for today?Give thanks for everything. // Liz Kelly Click To Tweet
Thank you for being here.
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