We are all fighting an unseen battle in our hearts and homes. Trials are constantly surrounding us and beating us against the journey we call life. We all have that “perfect” neighbor we think has her life perfectly put together. I can promise the one we think is perfect, isn’t.
She knows it, and God knows it too. And that’s okay. It’s supposed to be this way. As you experience your trials you will feel overwhelmed. You don’t need to add more fuel to the fire by comparing yourself to others.
You will be tired and you wonder if you can keep going. Then, when you feel you’re about to break the trial is over and you somehow overcome. God gives you a time to rest before the next hardship comes along. This one will feel harder than the previous trial. Why is that?!
I had a friend tell me that “trials are Gods way of telling us He trusts us.” In sarcasm, I promptly responded, “I wish He would trust me a little less.” In good humor, my friend responded, “The trials will come no matter what you do, it’s how you react that will determine a greater outcome.”
As I have reflected on my friend’s response, I began to think how I react to trials. I had the normal feelings of disappointment and questioning, being upset, and sometimes angry. During one particular trial, I was experiencing I made the decision to start being grateful.
Cultivating this attitude didn’t happen overnight. I was constantly working on improving myself. But as difficult as it might be, there is power in being grateful during hard times. You can choose to be grateful for your trials, but the important key to realizing is being grateful for who you can become because of your trials.
5 Simple Ways to be Grateful During Hard Times
1. Remember Your Blessings
We all have blessings in our lives. Some are more easily seen than others, but they are there. If you’re having a difficult time thinking of your blessings, that’s okay! Take some time to sit and reflect. Grab a piece of paper and pen.
Write the first 5 blessings that come to your mind. Are they your family? Friends? Neighbors? Your pet? Chocolate? The smell of the flowers in your garden? Your blessings are yours alone, and that’s what makes them so special.
After your list is made, place this list in a spot where you frequently visit. A daily reminder will help you stay focused on the things God has sent and given you. A few blessings on my list include my children’s laughter, my husband’s silly smile when he thinks he’s in trouble, and dark chocolate.
2. Remember Where Blessings Come From
Blessings come from a loving Father in Heaven who wants our happiness. I know this sounds a little crazy. God wants our happiness but He’s sending us trials and difficulties!? Yes!
The reason for trials is so we can be tested and prove to God we will do all He asks. He wants us to learn more about him and the suffering he went through for each one of us. Our faith doesn’t have to be perfect, but we do have to be willing to trust in Him.
Blessings are God’s way of telling us He is with us. He loves you and wants your happiness. He wants you to smile even though you might feel like crying. These blessings are the tender mercies to help see us through what we are facing.
3. Reflect & Review
There is a purpose to the trials God sends to us. Our trials are not random rolls of the dice. God does not say, “plagues for them, health and financial crises for those, and let’s give every elementary student playing the Oregon Trail game dysentery!”
Our trials are for our personal growth. I want you to conduct an experiment with me. During your reflection and quiet time, I want you to take a private notebook and write the trial you’re currently experiencing on the top of the page.
Then I want you to write your current feelings about this trial in less than 5 sentences. Below this paragraph I want you to write one thing you hope to learn from this trial. You can hope to learn a lesson or develop a characteristic trait. You decide.
Keep this notebook in the back of your mind. Bring the book out periodically to reflect and review your progress. Are you progressing as you hoped you would?
4. Keep Yourself Humble
God has given us a promise that all things we experience will be for our good. No matter what trials we suffer, the tears we shed, or the pain we feel. All things will draw us closer to Christ and be for our good.
I often think of the Savior, Jesus Christ. He’s the perfect lamb of the Father, given to mankind. He did no wrong and yet suffered the greatest. Are we better than him? No. He suffered the most and experienced all the pains of sin and death because of the great love he has for us. He did his Father’s will because he loves the Father and us.
We can do the Father’s will also. During times of trial and hardship, we can draw closer to the Savior. You are in good company. He has already suffered what you are feeling because he loves you. He wants to help you and can help you. If you let him in. Let him into your heart and allow him to strengthen you during this difficult time.
5. Final Step in Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude
Be diligent in reminding yourself of your blessings and maintaining a cheerful countenance. It’s okay to have days when you want to cry. Cry, it’s very therapeutic and wonderful. After you’re done crying remind yourself God wants your happiness.
As you cultivate and create an attitude of gratitude you will find strength through your trials. The strength will come from inside you. Don’t be discouraged when you feel you’re failing at being grateful. You don’t have to be perfect! Isn’t that wonderful! Do your best today. Your best today will be different from your best of yesterday and tomorrow.
But after you’re done crying remind yourself God wants your happiness. As you cultivate and create an attitude of gratitude you will find strength through your trials. The strength will come from inside you.
Don’t be discouraged when you feel you’re failing at being grateful. You don’t have to be perfect! Isn’t that wonderful! Do your best today. Your best today will be different from your best of yesterday and tomorrow.
You don’t have to be perfect! Isn’t that wonderful! Do your best today. Your best today will be different from your best of yesterday and tomorrow.
As you remember to be grateful during hard times you will feel God’s love for you in your life. You will feel His love stronger and more readily than before. I know the trials you experience will not be easy, but as you put your faith and trust in God and His Son, you will be in good company. As Christ said,
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.
In the world ye shall have tribulation:
but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
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