Staying grateful through thick and thin

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When traffic is heavier, schedules are crazy, and life, in general, seems to be more taxing, it’s easy to get away from being grateful and become wrapped up in the struggles.

During these times, I inevitably end up anxious, overwhelmed and cranky – not my best look. Right now our struggle is that we’re trying to sell our home, and, as the “days on market” keep ticking by, I’ve had a hard time keeping the faith.

Keeping myself grounded in gratitude is my sure-fire way of escaping “the funk,” and over the years I’ve come up with three things that do the trick every time.

Say “yes” to help.

This is hard. It defies our inner desires of perfectionism to admit, “No, I’m not Superwoman,” and “Yes, I would really love some help … any help!” While I'm more than happy to bend over backward for you, I, wrongly assumed that I would be inconveniencing my family and friends to ask them for anything. What I’ve begun to learn over the last few years is that they're not offering assistance just to be nice – they love me and genuinely want to help. I think people (most of us) love to help one another. It brings us joy, and, truthfully, it feels fantastic to be on the receiving end. So, the next time someone offers to bring you a meal or pick up your kids from school – say “please and thank you!"

Make time to take time.

Sometimes I'll go for a walk with the dog, head to Starbucks to write, or maybe even get my nails done, but there are days when I have to get out of the house and breathe. It doesn’t take more than five or 10 minutes of being gone for me to feel thankful again – thankful for my healthy children, our home, and my seriously amazing husband. It happens like clockwork, once I get just a little bit of distance and separation, my brain clears up enough that I truly see the greatness of the life I’ve been blessed with. (Side note: The only trick to this one is I need to remember that amazing husband of mine needs a break too. He’s just as busy and equally deserving. Marriage can be tough. We’re not about keeping score of who gets what, but maintaining the balance of "give and take" is crucial for our health as a couple).

Keep a gratitude journal.

A couple of years ago it was suggested to me that I start a gratitude journal. I was bogged down in the daily struggles of life, and was losing perspective. I was way too focused on what was going wrong or what I still “needed" and, in turn, I felt cranky and unfulfilled. Once I started a gratitude journal, my attitude changed remarkably fast. Being consciously aware of all the gifts God has given me, was an instant attitude adjustment, and, as it turns out, I’ve got it pretty good. I am blessed in a million different ways every day, and when I am most aware of God’s love for me, I feel satisfied and safe. Now my journal stays in my bedside table, and every evening I write down a few things, and they range from small things like, “coffee” to bigger ones like, “having jobs so we can provide for our family.”

I wish I stayed in a perfect place of peace where I thanked God all day long for the laundry list of ways in which he cares for us, but I find that’s a pretty tall order. Whether you’re selling a house, knee-deep in deadlines, or just living life, gratitude can easily slip away. These three things are my “cheat sheet” for getting back to good when it comes to being grateful and strengthening my relationship with God.

Jordan Schupbach is a mother of three living in the Houston area. She blogs at www.lattesandliving.com - sharing the good, the bad and the frenzied.

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