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Inspiration for Gratitude When Life is Hard

Self | Attie Murphy | 6 mins

What are you thankful for this year? If the bad seems to outweigh the good, know you aren't the only one who struggles to feel gratitude. Life is full of curve balls, and once we get past one obstacle, something crazier rolls our way. It's never as simple as, "This is gonna be my year!" Rather than celebrating all you have, the holidays can be a reminder of what you've lost or haven't accomplished. But finishing the year with regret won't help you move forward. If you're experiencing holiday dread, here are some wise quotes to renew your mindset. 

Let go of shadows 

"Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some." - Charles Dickens

Comparison culture pushes us to see what we don't have. Our past trauma and failures rise when we think our lives should look a certain way. If you want to move forward, it's time to look for the opportunities around you. You can trust in the constant value God sees in you. 

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." - James 1:17

Seek contentment 

"Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude." - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

One of the most difficult facts to accept is that good can come from our struggles. It's easier to use pain as an excuse not to do something with our blessings. What does it look like to choose contentment? Start with five minutes, thanking God for wherever you are. As you go through the day, remember that although things will go wrong, God will always provide purpose and peace for your future.

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." - Philippians 4:11–12

Train in thankfulness

"Being thankful is not always experienced as a natural state of existence, we must work at it, akin to a type of strength training for the heart." - Larissa Gomez

Some people act as if gratitude should come naturally if you follow Jesus. That is just not true. Our human nature invites doubt and fear, and we must work to posture our hearts toward God's will. When you're discouraged, give your grief to God and know He has compassion. Next, apply God's Word to your challenges and focus on the fruit of His Spirit.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." - Galatians 5:22-23

Embrace every new day

"This is a wonderful day. I have never seen this one before." - Maya Angelou

When I was a teenager, one of my favorite songs was "Brand New Day," by Fireflight. I loved that it wasn't about plastic smiling, blind optimism; it was a reminder that God provides a blank slate no matter what happened yesterday. Every new moment is a reason to thank God for His creations and love.

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." - Psalm 118:24

Live in the present

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." – J.R.R. Tolkien 

"Sunken cost fallacy" can steal so much time and energy. Our blueprints for life aren't foolproof, and we hold ourselves back when we try to stick to an outdated plan. If you're mourning ideas that didn't pan out, don't let that keep you from experiencing the path you're on now. 

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." - Isaiah 43:18-19

God is good all the time

"Gratitude exclaims... 'How good of God to give me this.'" - C.S. Lewis

In moments of worry, it helps to focus on one thing at a time. Take a deep breath and think of one good thing in your life. You can also try writing a list of things you are thankful for, to center you on the real positives that exist iny our life. The more you give thanks, the less negativity will control you. God will never leave you; His blessings are in and around you. 

"Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." - Lamentations 3:22-23

Written By

Attie Murphy

An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.

Published on Nov 22, 2022