Sunday, January 29, 2017

Gratitude Is the Best Filter

Over and over these last few days, I keep coming back to how perspective changes everything.

Friday I woke up and immediately knew I felt different.  It actually took me a few minutes to pinpoint what "that" feeling was.  Then it hit me that I actually felt GOOD.  I honestly hadn't physically had a "good" day since October.  Over three months is a long time to wake up feeling weighted down and enslaved to lupus, knowing that the flare you are in is just not going to give you any reprieve. Or sick from whatever germs the family has been sharing. It had been so long since I'd felt good that I didn't remember what it felt like. Yucky, in pain, swimming through peanut butter with concrete blocks on your limbs, lack of mental clarity, and depression nagging to take over.  Those things had become the normal and I just dealt with it.  But, to wake up, feeling ALIVE gave me a new found perspective. IT reminded me what good felt like, how much more I could accomplish with less effort, and the need to not have to plan EVERY little moment around what part of the day I'd feel the best, in order to give what best I could.  My perspective is once again changed by gratitude.  The good days, when they come are that much sweeter when you've been through struggles.

Today I was literally overcome with tears to be cleaning our bathroom.  While it's not a task I hate, it is something that is typically done out of habit and need.  I don't necessarily jump for joy at the thought of cleaning it.  However, today, as I cleaned it for the first time since we finished remodeling it, my heart was just extra grateful.  I was reflecting on how God brought us through every step of starting over, providing in countless ways.  I was thankful to have a husband that could tackle such a big project and was WILLING to do so, even multiple nights still at it at midnight despite the fact he goes to work at 4 AM.  Gratitude changes perspective.  A not so joyful task can be filled with joy when you remember where you've been, where you're going, and WHO brought you through it.

Today at church we were reminded of what a PRIVILEGE it is to be able to pray and personally have a relationship with God.  Reminded how God desires that connection with us.  Our Pastor, also with sons in the military, related it to how he felt in recent days of being on base and welcoming his son home from a long deployment.  As much as it was an overwhelming joy, such an overwhelming moment to hug him, it's the same way when we go to God and connect with Him.  It's as if He is waiting there with that same enthusiasm and open arms to embrace us.  Prayer can be just a habit, half-hearted, a quick check mark, or even dropped so low on our priority list that it is ignored until it is a last resort or we're desperate. However, when we frame it from the perspective of gratitude, a new passion arises.  We remember that it is not only a privilege, but it's a life-giving force. WE become changed when we've been in His presence.

I read tonight that "Gratitude is the best filter".  I LOVE that.  When we look at life through the filter of gratitude, our eyes are truly opened and our hearts can overflow with true joy.  Not finicky happiness.  True Joy.

May this week we all look through that filter.  You only need to spend .2 seconds on social media to quickly find yourself overwhelmed with darkness, frustration, division, vulgarity, hatred, etc...  Look away from the screen this week.  It's not about putting your head in the sand or being silent on important matters, but it is about choosing where to focus and remaining in a state of gratitude. Focus on how you are fueling your thoughts.  Be grateful.  Change your filter.

Oh boy---change your filter---I KNEW there was something I was supposed to buy on our multi trips out to the big box DIY stores this weekend.  Ugh.  :)

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