10 Ways To Redefine Gratitude (From Me to You)

By November 26, 2014 5 Comments
Redefine Gratitude_RelevantMagazine

I have mixed feelings about the Thanksgiving holiday.

On one hand, it’s a wonderful holiday tucked right before Christmas with no agenda other than to gather and eat a traditional turkey meal.

But for some of us, Thanksgiving holds a different kind of stress: Brokenness.

There’s a myth in some Christian social circles that if we’re struggling with discouragement, doubt or feelings of hurt or sadness, it may be due to the fact that we’re not being grateful.

For most of my life, I’ve been afraid to share about the times I’ve felt overwhelmed emotionally, especially when I felt stuck–whether in friendships, ministry, my career, relationships or dysfunctional family dynamics—and particularly during the holidays.

I didn’t want people to misjudge me, because I honestly have been grateful for everything God’s done for me and provided. But, does being grateful mean emotional amnesia?

Guilt and Compartmentalizing

I don’t think God wants to guilt us into feeling better about our struggles because others are suffering more.

I’ve always felt like I had to hold my breath until God resolved my journey so I could then show how God came through for me. I based my faith on how competent I was in being happy and strong until everything ended up wrapped up with a pretty bow.

But, most of life isn’t like this.

I had to learn this the hard way. Compartmentalizing certain parts of my story led me to eventually experience anxiety and panic attacks so intense I literally struggled to breathe.

Most of us have been there. Sometimes, when I was down about things, someone would say, “Be thankful. There are so many people who are worse off.” I know it was well intended, but it made me feel guilty and ashamed, so I hid those parts of me that suffered.

That doesn’t sit right with me anymore. In my journey to heal, I’m experiencing a new freedom and intimacy with God that comes from confiding in my wounds and fears.

I don’t think God wants to guilt us into feeling better about our struggles because others are suffering more.

Jesus didn’t say to the blind man, “Be thankful you can walk.”

Jesus had compassion for each person’s plight and condition, never comparing….

… {to be continued}

To Read The Rest Of the Story

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Today, I’d like to share an article I wrote for Relevant Magazine: 10 Ways To Redefine Gratefulness – that has become one of top 5 trending posts on Relevant this week.

To read the rest of the story – click here to join me over at Relevant Magazine, where today’s post is published.

I hope these 10 Ways to Redefine Gratefulness will refresh you for Thanksgiving Day, just as it has for me.

If God’s brought someone you know on a journey through a difficult season, I invite you to read the entire article on Relevant Magazine — and share the article with them.

May this article encourage you and those you love.  From me to you.

Here And Now
My Heartfelt Thank You!

I want to say here and now — I am thanking God for you this Thanksgiving.  

You were among those I listed at #10 on the 10 Ways to Redefine Gratefulness

Thank you for sharing the quiet with me.

Thank you, for celebrating the release of the book birthed in my soul this summer:  Finding Spiritual Whitespace.  Thank you for telling your family and friends about my book — giving this book its wings.  I would have never written it, if you had not been here.

This book’s message would not be reaching the hearts and hands of new readers, apart from your recommendations.

Thank you for giving me courage, before I knew God would resurrect my dreams, by sharing your stories.

By sharing your voice, I realized that I had a voice to share as well.

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May you have a real, Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow.

I’ll be taking a break from the blog tomorrow, to be present and enjoy some spiritual whitespace with Eric, the boys and some friends.

If you’re on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter, feel free to share your Thanksgiving moments with me using #spiritualwhitespace.  I’ll share mine as the moments prompt.

I’ll be thinking of you as I take time to create some new memories. I’ll be thinking of you, with affection, between bites of turkey with cranberry sauce, because what’s sweetening my heart is the gift of kindreds. Like you.  

Love, Bonnie

Take a virtual coffee break with me now. Come with me now over to Relevant.  Click here – http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/10-ways-redefine-gratitude

incourage_BonnieGray_JesusLeading

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Because some days you need a double shot of faith