Just one month shy of closing a full year with my One Word friend, Resilience, I marvel at the complexity of this year’s word. The varied lessons have encouraged, challenged, and surprised me as I travelled the paths of 2022. Revealing the unique bond between Resilience and gratitude, November’s lesson nurtured my heart along the hard paths.
Gratitude acknowledges God’s goodness even in the hard places enabling us to thrive in adversity through our implicit trust in Him.
Revisiting the lessons often, I created a special page on my blog where all my Resilience posts live, please take the time to read past posts for more insight into my journey.
gratitude is a superpower
Well-known by all, the amazing benefits of gratitude on emotional resilience and physical health provide enough science backed evidence to lure us into embracing gratitude as a lifestyle.
Yet most of us fail in seeing the bond between Resilience and gratitude.
Until God invited me to open the gift of gratitude in hard places, I never realized the importance of the component of gratitude hidden within Resilience.
In its simplicity, gratitude celebrates appreciation for what IS; for what you have and experience rather than keeping a mindset of lack.
Emotional maturity moves to thankfulness even along the rough paths as we realize practicing gratitude in seasons of grief demonstrates our trust in God’s sovereign hand in our lives.
Gratitude, then, seems arguably the most valuable superpower to cultivate for greater emotional and physical health, but also for strengthening your ability to endure adversity.
cultivate gratitude, grow resilience
Rooted in implicit trust in God’s sovereign ways, Resilience thrives in the presence of gratitude. With each new hard path I face, gratitude defeats fear and anxiety surrounding future outcomes. Fear and anxiety simply cannot coexist within a grateful heart simultaneously.
But gratitude also builds emotional Resilience by strengthening relationship connections, reframing harsh realities through the lens of God’s goodness, and maintaining a present focus on God’s abundant blessings.
Gratitude is one of the chief ways God infuses Joy and Resilience into the daily struggle of life.Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Gratitude for Others
Say Thank you well. In the same way we should not only express gratitude for God’s gifts, but also for Him as our benefactor, we should thank others well by celebrating them.
Instead of simply saying, “Thank you for the meal.”, imagine the difference if you said, “Thank you for the meal. I so appreciate your creativity in preparing meals, given the limitations and fluctuations of diet requirements in our family.”
Both statements express gratitude for the meal, but the second statement adds gratitude for the person who lovingly prepared the meal.
When we thank others well, we build and nurture relationships so important for our support during hard times.
Send thank you messages. Taking the time to write out a card, email, even a text for gratitude not only strengthens relationships, but our own well-being.
Taking the time daily to thank someone “in writing” trains our brains to focus on the positive aspects of our lives as well as God moving in and through others.
When done in the midst of adversity, we shift from pity party mode to thankfulness for others and humble submission to God’s good ways.
Set up a gratitude visit. As an introvert, this one presents a challenge for me, but the sheer power of transformation from this one activity alone makes it worth all the uncomfortable feelings.
Start by identifying someone who did or said something which truly helped change your life or encourage you in a trial. Compose a letter of gratitude; not just a few lines but include specifics and the impact their actions had on you.
Then ask to meet at a convenient time but avoid sharing the full reason for the meeting. Keep it informal. Once together read the letter you wrote. If they interrupt, kindly say you would like them to listen until the end. Afterwards you can discuss the contents and emotions.
If the person lives far away, consider Facetime or Zoom, or at worst a phone call.
Cultivating gratitude in these ways helped me build Resilience by strengthening relationships with those who nurtured and supported me, transforming my negative perspective to one of humble submission to God’s chosen path for me, and embracing God’s blessings right in front of me.
the bond between resilience and gratitude
Adversity naturally engages our focus on hardship, fueling anxiety and fear of the future. Gratitude brings Resilience to the forefront, reminding us of past victories, God’s faithfulness, provision, and presence, while shifting our focus to the good things present right now.
Choosing to see God’s goodness in adverse circumstances through gratitude, reveals Him in the kindness of others, trusts Him in the dark, and celebrates His good gifts even if they are not the ones for which we hoped.
Understanding the bond between Resilience and gratitude empowered me to pursue offering the sacrifice of thanksgiving from a heart resting in God’s past faithfulness while trusting in His unfailing love.