Things are difficult right now.
This week families all over the world are either being forced to cancel their Thanksgiving gatherings or are choosing to do so. Things feel bleak and blah and not anywhere near how it should be this time of year.
And while it’s easy to say (and true) that this, too, shall pass and will someday be a distant memory, right now we’re living in it and it feels like it’s going to last forever. For our well-being and sanity, we need to rise above this mess.
I love movies, and my list of favorites is long. One of those favorites has held its place on the list since I was a little girl – Disney’s Pollyanna (which is on Disney+ if you’d like to watch it). It’s a sweet story with a sweeter message, and it’s where I learned “the glad game,” that has stuck with me my whole life. Watch this clip to see what I’m talking about (and seriously, if you haven’t seen this movie, please do. It’ll warm your heart right up, I promise).
Pollyanna taught me years ago that there is always something to be grateful for. Always.
There are circumstances where it feels impossible to find anything to be thankful for. There are some of you reading this right now who are thinking that I have no idea where you’ve walked or what you’ve been through.
And you’re exactly right. I don’t know.
There are hard parts to each of our stories, and while those hard parts often become marking points where our faith grew, it doesn’t make it any easier to talk about. But I could argue that if we don’t learn how to walk through those times with a rise-above-it-all mentality, it’s going to make our time here pretty miserable.
So I’m going to share my tried-and-true trick for not only surviving difficult times, but thriving through them – find something to be thankful for every single day and simply thank God for it.
And if you think you don’t have anything to be thankful for, think again, my sweet friend. As Christ-followers we have an automatic default answer:
This world is not our home.
Yes. And if you really think about it, that alone is enough to endure whatever mess we’re currently in. .
We have the promise of Heaven, yes, but we also have the promise of the Coming King, and I can’t wait to witness all the ways He will make all that is wrong with this world right again.
He will do it because He promised He would, and God always keeps His promises.
Practice gratitude. The more you do it the easier it gets, and before you know it you’ll have a healthy new habit that makes a big difference.
You’ll start noticing little things you once overlooked.
All of sudden, watching birds eat the food you set out for them will make you smile. (thankful God used you to provide for them)
Folding your family’s clean laundry will feel less like a burden and more like a privilege. (thankful God gave you a family to care for)
Turning off that 5:30 AM alarm clock will hurt a little less. (thankful you have a job to go to every day)
There you go, I’ve given you three examples to get the ball rolling, and now it’s your turn. If it will help you to start a journal to write down the things your grateful for each day, please do that. Find what works for you and stick to it.
I haven’t handled things perfectly AT ALL during this pandemic, but I can say that I have not allowed myself to slip into the fear that so many are paralyzed by these days. I refuse to do that. For one, I have a houseful of boys watching their dad and me to see how we’re going to react to the constantly changing news stories. And for another, I spend my days with classrooms full of kids who are watching too. They need to see the reason for the hope I have, and being grumpy and gripped with fear isn’t it.
When you are full of gratitude, your perspective changes. And when your perspective is different, it’s easy to remember that this too shall pass. Everything really is going to be okay. Life is much better than you realize. Think about it. Write it down.
Much love to all of you, and Happy Thanksgiving!