Giving Thanks in the Ugly Beautiful

Giving thanks does not come naturally for me. I have to constantly remind myself to live a life of intentional gratitude, otherwise it happens only when I’m feeling good and life is relatively easy and trouble-free. It’s not so hard then, when things feel warm and fuzzy, and life is wrapped up and tied with a pretty bow. What is hard is when I have to be intentional, when I have to choose to find something to be grateful for. Because gratitude is always a choice.

Gratitude is also a habit which must be cultivated in the shallow rocky soil of our hearts. A habit does not just happen, it must also be chosen. We must choose to choose differently, because somehow we think that when we are passive we are not making a choice, but even then we are choosing by default. Let us choose well.

Even today, it would be easy to go down the road of everything that is wrong with and in the world, but then I would only see the negative. I want to choose to see what is good and right with and in this world. I want to see where the light bleeds through the cracks of our broken lives. I want to hear positive, life-giving words even though they may be cloaked in negativity. I want to taste and remember the sweet richness of friendship and connection, rather than the sting and bitterness of rejection and broken trust.

We must choose to see differently. We must choose to hear differently. We must choose to remember differently. Not that we deny the hard things, but that we look for the light, the life, the richness with thoughtfulness. And thankfulness.

Gratitude is the gateway to joy. I could never understand this until I read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. I started my own list of gifts, all the ways God loves me. It has transformed my life! Not Ann, not the book, not the list; but learning to see differently. Cultivating a new habit of Thanksgiving to replace the old one of ingratitude. The seeing has transformed the ugly into the beautiful. It has allowed me to see God where previously I could not see Him. I don’t believe for a minute that He brings the ugly, but He longs to transform them into the beautiful. The transformation happens when our perspective changes. When we see differently.

Choose gratitude today. And every day. It is the birthplace of transformation!

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