September 28, 2017

Have you watched the news lately? If you’re a little like me, you might be avoiding it. It can be really depressing! Mounting evidence of Russia’s intrusion into not only our election process but that of other countries as well. Hateful political rhetoric that deepens the divide in our country and throughout the world. Hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, and a volcano on the brink. Church and school shootings (there are way too many shootings everywhere but it seems even more tragic because the two places you should never have to worry about are church and school.) All of these issues on top of racism, child abuse, human trafficking, substance abuse, poverty, etc.

How can you have joy in the midst of these situations? There is a difference in having happiness because you choose to be uninformed as to the plight of those around you and choosing joy even when you or others experience troubling circumstances. If we allow ourselves to ignore the problems in the world – we might be blissfully unaware but we are also turning our back on the ones who need our help. If, however, we allow the problems in the world to depress us without finding a source for joy, we become unable to help because of the burden of overwhelming sadness.

We must be careful to find strength in the midst of pain and loss so that we are able to overcome. It is important for our own healing but equally so if we truly want to make a difference in the world. I find it helpful to remind myself of the many things for which I have have to be grateful. Giving thanks brings to mind all of the wonderful relationships I have, all of the incredible opportunities I have been given by people, and all of the moments that God’s grace has been shown to me.

Please take a moment right now and think of three things for which you are grateful. Seriously, go ahead and do it – what three things put a smile on your face? And now, challenge yourself to list three more things tomorrow, and then the next day, and the next. Commit to 30 days of gratitude and see if it doesn’t make you stronger and better able to make a difference in the world.

I am thankful for an awesome husband who has incredible patience with all of my quirks!

I am thankful for an incredible daughter who loves to show God’s kindness to people!

I am thankful for a wonderful son who is inspired to share God’s message of grace with others!

Yep! It works! Maybe, the best thing is to plan your gratitude list right after you watch the news – it could change you and through you, the world.