- Dixie Thomas
A Different Take on Gratitude:
Learn How Gratitude Can Re-frame Your Life, so You Can See a More Beautiful Picture.
Hello, friends. Thanks for stopping by. You have probably heard how gratitude can be beneficial and life changing. Scientific research shows that gratitude has many benefits including opening the door to new relationships, improving physical and psychological well-being, increased self-esteem, and better sleep. Gratitude has even been shown to help people overcome trauma.
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity...it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” --Melody Beattie
My personal belief as a life coach is that gratitude helps us see from a healthier perspective. When we are thankful, we begin to focus on the good in life and can even be more contented in difficult circumstances. But what if we were thankful for the not so perfect, or not so good things? You might not have considered how pain, loss, or those things we consider to be negative can be a gift. Consider the story I’m about to tell you, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
In the middle of World War II, Betsie and Corrie Ten Boom were sisters that spent time in the Ravensbruck Concentration camp north of Berlin, because they had hidden Jews in their home in Holland. Though her whole family was imprisoned, Corrie was the only one who lived to tell the story. She and her sister stayed in overcrowded barracks in the camp, a dark building with barely enough space for each person to sleep on foul smelling straw. The sisters quickly discovered another discomfort: fleas in the barracks. As time went on, Corrie began to wonder how they could get through their miserable circumstances.
Betsie began to pray, “God show us how,” and the scripture from I Thessalonians 5:16 came to mind: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Betsie and Corrie began to realize that part of God’s answer was to be thankful in their circumstance. The sisters began to thank God for all things: being able to be in the same barracks together, for the Bible they had managed to smuggle in, for the fact that they weren’t searched. Instead of complaining that the barracks were crowded, they were thankful for the many people around them that they could share God’s word with, and with some prodding from Betsie, they gave thanks even for the fleas. Giving thanks to God began to change the sisters’ perspectives.
Days went by in those dark barracks and Betsie and Corrie retreated to the back room where a single light bulb provided a dim light to read from the Bible. Guards would often make rounds through the barracks, but unknown to the guards, the sisters held worship services around the dim light. If the guards found out about the worship service, the punishment would be unimaginable, so they had to be secretive. The fleas and the circumstances didn’t seem to improve, but the people in the barracks found reasons to be thankful and joyful as they worshiped together. Mysteriously, the guards were less and less interested in coming into the back of the barracks where the worship service was held. One day the mystery as to why the guards refused to come in was solved: the fleas! The guards didn’t come near the worship service because they didn’t want to be near the fleas. In the end, Betsie and Corrie saw the beauty of God at work in their circumstances as they shifted their perspective and gave thanks.
How might God be working through challenging situations in your life to bring good? How might re-framing a situation through gratitude help you to see from a better perspective? Gratitude can help us to re-frame a situation so that we can see things in a new way. We don’t deny the pain or the problem, but we learn to recognize the opportunities and positive aspects. Through gratitude, we often discover something beautiful and good that we had not seen before.
Thanksgiving is a great time to consider what we can be grateful for and to shift our perspective.
Take a few minutes to write down things that you are thankful for, as well as the positive aspects of difficult situations in your life. As you wake up in the morning, try to think of at least one thing for which you are thankful. Use gratitude to re-frame life’s picture, and you’ll be amazed at the transformation.
Dixie Thomas is a wife, mother, Life Coach, and shepherdess. Learn more at TheCompassLifeCoach.com