Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness
It seems an easy enough concept, but much like love, gratitude is not an emotion. It’s an action.
We say we are grateful for our health, but our actions say otherwise. We say we are grateful for our families, but our actions say otherwise. You see where I’m going with this. I just went through what has probably been the roughest 4 years of my life. The majority of the latter 2 where spent in a deep and very dark depression. I don’t know that I’m evenly fully ready to speak about the depths of where it took me because honestly, I’m still…I don’t know.
I think part of it is I have always tried to be the tough girl. The “I don’t need anything from anyone girl,” and I guess I’m still afraid to admit publicly just how weak I actually am. (I know. I know. Obviously, pride is I something I struggle with. I’m working on it y’all! One thing at a time! lol)
I think another part is…actually, you know what?
I think that’s actually the other part. As I’m typing this trying to search for another reason – anything other than simply just dealing with my stupid, stubborn pride I’m realizing that the only other reason is I refuse to deal with it and keep looking for other reasons instead of just facing it. Because if I ever do actually start dealing with my pride issue…I’mma have to deal with my pride issue y’all!!!!! And clearly, I don’t want to do that, but you know what? That’s going on my list of things to deal with in 2019 right now!
Anyway, I’ve gotten off topic. Let’s get back to gratitude.
It’s been a couple years since I’ve chosen a “word of the year.” I honestly didn’t know whether I’d choose one this year or not. I decided to put it in God’s hands, and without getting into too much detail, it’s the word I felt God did put on my heart. I prayed about whether or not I should choose one and let it go. Then over the next few days, I kept coming across messages and Scripture that didn’t even necessarily have the word gratitude in them, but that was the overall message.
And I felt truly convicted that I had not been leading a life that exhibited gratitude. Jordan Peterson once said something to the effect of “I didn’t say I believe in God. I said I behave as though I believe in God.” (I’m quoting from memory because I don’t have time to search through his hundreds of videos for the exact quote, but that was the jist.)
There’s something very powerful in that, and though only he can speak to exactly what he was trying to communicate with that statement, what I took from it was that behavior is the true measure of our hearts. I can say that I’m grateful, but my words mean very little if they are not backed by actions.
So my (main) goal for 2019 is to not only say I am grateful, but to behave as though I am grateful.
I don’t have to eat healthy. I get to eat healthy. I have access to clean water, tons of knowledge available to me for free via the internet, and grocery stores. Is it easy? No. Budget and willpower are just 2 obstacles that quickly come to mind, but those are things that can be overcome if I’m willing to set aside my murmuring and complaining and simply have an attitude of gratitude for the options available to me.
Same goes for my attitude towards household chores, homeschooling, paying bills, etc…I could go on forever. If we are looking for something to complain about, we will find it. My goal this year is to stop complaining about all the things that suck – and y’all, please don’t misunderstand me because so many things about life do in fact SUCK. The difference is in where I am putting my focus and what my goal is.
Is it to whine and complain? Or is it to find something to be grateful for? Are my eyes fixed on complaining about the really sucky thing? Or are they fixed on the blessings attached to the really sucky thing? And y’all I have lost my grandmother and mother in law to cancer in the past 4 years. I’ve went through the depression and while I never was suicidal, I did get to the point that I thought an awful lot about how it wouldn’t be so bad if another vehicle crashed into me on my way home (when my kids weren’t with me of course), and I didn’t make it home.
So y’all I want to be very real right now. That point of my life is not something I’m ready to talk about in detail because honestly I am afraid it will end up getting me bogged back down in that space. I need to work very hard right now at keeping my eyes on the good. While I know all to well that depression is not something you can control (I’ve dealt with it since childhood and was diagnosed with clinical depression at age 10), I also know there are things you can do that affect it. I also fully understand those things are different for every individual and what works for me might not work for you, so the last thing I ever want to do is come across like I have all the answers.
What I do want to do is to encourage you not to stop fighting to find yours. I honestly thought I was just broken. There was no fix for me. And that is what lead me down into my darkest days, so my prayer is that that can be the lesson anyone struggling with depression or anxiety takes away when they read something I’ve written – and that feels like such a tall order…
So if He can use me for this I pray He does. If He’s got other ideas, well I’m down for that too. So we’ll see where this road leads. I think this is the first time in my life I’m ever truly attempting to follow His plan instead of mine, and I would be lying if I so much as even said I had enough faith in myself that I knew I could do it.
So whatever His purpose for me – whether it’s to continue this blog or unplug completely. I am down for it, but I want to finish with what is on my heart right now andwhat I would like to share on this blog going forward.
A diary of REDEMPTION.
I know I’m supposed to pick some “niche,” but God’s girls were not created to come in a box or fit some standard the world has set. I’m actually pretty convinced that had I followed my instincts years ago and listened to God instead of listening to the world I may have been able to sidestep the worst part of my depression, but it is what it is and I am trusting that while God didn’t cause those times, that He will turn around and use it for good somehow.
So you can expect to see a lot of me just being happy and not sounding a whole lot like a girl who less than a year ago was wondering how bad it would be to get hit head on by a Mack truck because she couldn’t imagine a physical pain bad enough to outweigh the pain inside her. It’s not a place I’m anxious to revisit for obvious reasons so you probably won’t see me going into much detail about that time in my life but rather sharing ways that I am overcoming – again with the understanding that I know regardless of what you do it’s just something you will likely always deal with, but also an attitude that it does not define nor can it defeat you if you will just keep working to find ways to manage it that work for YOU.
For me, I’m hoping it will look like regular exercise, cooking healthy recipes with my kids, and a lot of hiking because I know those are things that make it a lot more manageable for me personally. It may also look like sewing tutorials, posts about homeschooling, books, podcasts…I’m really not sure. Whatever it is, I want Him to be in the lead, so I’m not going to make any sweeping declarations, but whatever it is will be approached with an attitude of gratitude for the beautiful story of redemption the Author + Finisher is writing.
That post didn’t go exactly the way I planned…or even anywhere in the same neighborhood, but I guess that’s how life goes. In the past, I would have freaked out and threw a fit that the title doesn’t really go with the post and tried to figure out a way to make it work so that it fit into the box of my expectations, but as usual, what actually happened (imho) is far superior to what I envisioned so I’m just going to go with…
Cheers to 2019.
A year of gratitude that we can let go and let God…
April was born and raised in south Louisiana where she still resides with her husband and their 3 children who she homeschools. Her hobbies include sleeping late, procrastinating, starting complicated DIY projects it takes her ages to complete, buying more books even though she hasn’t had time to read the last batch she bought, and finding ways to mildly annoy her husband (see first 4 hobbies). She’s overly opinionated, talks too much and too loud, and refuses to simply go along with the status quo. While she would love to be able to say she is one of those ride or die chicks, she simply has too many questions such as, “where are we going, but more importantly, can we stop for nachos??”