Gift of Gratitude

my-sweet-family

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving! In preparation for the big day, I’ve been hitting up spin classes. I’ve been traveling a lot these days for speaking, so it had been awhile since my last spin class. All that to say, about 10 minutes into the most recent class I thought I was going to hurl as my head started spinning and I reached for my water. I was about ready to throw in the towel when my super motivational instructor said this, “Challenge creates change. Give yourself the gift.” You best bet I dug a little deeper after hearing these words and pushed through the pain a little while longer. I couldn’t get those words out of my mind and as soon as I finished the class I had to write them down.

It’s been my experience that while we usually don’t choose the challenges we face, the greatest challenges to cross my path have produced the most positive changes in my life. The biggest change that challenge has given me is the gift of gratitude. There’s nothing like spending months in a cancer hospital to make you grateful for your health. There’s nothing like taking care of your dying loved one that makes you more grateful for your family. There’s nothing like watching someone battle cancer and then rise beyond their circumstance to give of their time, energy, God-given gifts, and love to make you realize, I have so much more to give and I’m so grateful I have the opportunity to do so. All of these challenges and more transformed my life.

When we can see and focus on the beauty and gifts in everything, that’s when we change our lives and the lives of others. I can remember a season of life (almost all of my twenties) when I would hear others talk about feeling grateful and all I could feel was envy toward them because, at the time, I could only focus on was what wasn’t going right in my life, how it wasn’t turning out the way I thought it should have. I didn’t know how to move away from that kind of thinking and into a grateful state of mind. I thought I was powerless. I became a victim to my own thoughts, and like most victims, I sadly chose to focus my resentment on the very people who loved me the most, instead of digging deep inside of myself to find the true problem, and ultimately the solution.

Then life hit me hard when my late husband, Andrew, got diagnosed with cancer. For some reason, what could have made me bitter toward life, by the grace of God, ended up making me more grateful. I see life through a whole new lens and I realize it’s a gift. I know what it’s like to not be in that place. I now know it doesn’t have to take a tragedy to create this change. It’s a state of mind you can create through practice. T. Harv Eker said, “What we focus on expands.” Every day, make a point to find the things that make you smile and then write them down or say them out loud. For me, a lot of those things are the simple things in life, like laughing with Ellie, a meaningful conversation with a friend, sitting by the fire, or spending time with my parents.

I would love to hear…What are you most grateful for right now in your life?

Thank you for spending your valuable time with me today. I’m grateful for YOU! Hope you have wonderful Thanksgiving! “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”- Robert Brault

With LOVE and Gratitude.

PS – Christmas is coming, and if you’re looking for a meaningful gift to share with those you love, please check out my late husband, Andrew’s, book, The Ellie Project! This book is truly for all ages. His drawings are simple and children love them, but his words are powerful and wise enough to carry us all through this life, no matter what our age. Get your signed copy at www.ellieproject.com.

PPS – Want to motivate, inspire, and encourage a group, company, or church you are a part of? My message is about “transforming life’s greatest challenges into a purposeful life” and I’d love to come share it! Email me today at bailey@baileyheard.com to book me as your speaker.

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