3 Things I Never Thought To Be Grateful For

December 30, 2020

3 things you never thought to be grateful for that are a major part of your journey to transforming and elevating your life.

Gratitude is not about what is received, it's about how you receive what is there. - Unknown

Recently, I was praying with my two boys, ages four and six. We make giving thanks to God a routine part of our prayers since I'm teaching them to be thankful for even the insignificant things in their lives. As I sat there, eyes closed and listening to my four-year-old run down the list of everything he's thankful for, It dawned on me; have I given thanks for the things that led me to this moment?

Being at a place in my life where I'm happy, free, and fulfilled is a huge accomplishment. I thought, perhaps it's not the work that I put in that got me to this place, although that played a huge part. In actuality, It was something deeper that helped me to realize that I could be happy and have better for myself, despite my circumstances, and that came before the work. 

When I initially started my journey to transforming my life back in January 2017, three things precipitated the change. Those three things ultimately led me to face my challenges head-on and to do the work required to make lasting changes in my life. Those three things also led me to discover my true purpose and passion and build my coaching practice.

So, while sitting there in a room filled with Marvel superhero wall art and Hot Wheels cars and snuggled up with two little boys who barely know what it is to be grateful; I finally gave thanks for the things I had overlooked in my journey. Let me know in the comments if anything sticks out to you or if you have something you are thankful for that helped you to realize you deserve more for your life not mentioned. Here are three things I never thought to be grateful for;

A Changed Mind

Regardless of how low I felt or the missteps and mistakes I made, I still had the ability to change my mind about what I wanted for my life. Nothing is permanent, and every day God's mercies are new (Lamentations 3:22-23), so we have the ability to start over. Think of this as us coming to a fork in the road, and we initially chose the left side. What is stopping us from turning around, going back, and now choosing the right side?  

At my lowest point, I realized that I didn't have to live like I was living anymore. I didn't have to keep feeling depressed, worthless, and like nothing ever works out for me. I didn't have to be responsible for my husband's infidelity, my mother's abuse, or my father's abandonment. I decided that I was only responsible for myself and my actions, and with that realization, I decided that I could go back and take a different route in my life.    

If you feel stuck and helpless, Sis, it's as simple as changing your mind about your circumstances. You can decide that you will do everything in your power to create a life that you love and are proud of. You can also decide not to carry around yesterday's burdens and focus more on what you want for tomorrow. Here's how I did it;

  1. I decided what I wanted my life to look like in the future; I was very specific.
  2. I made a list of everything that needed to change in my current life to have the new life I wanted.
  3. I started changing those things one-by-one, starting with the one that was causing me the most pain at that time.
  4. I documented my progress and made adjustments where needed.
  5. I only looked back at my old life as moments for me to learn from, not moments that define who I am or where my story ends.

Want to learn more about my 5-step system for accomplishing life-transforming goals? Check back for next week's article that will give you all the details. New articles posted every Wednesday. 

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The Desire to Have More

Naturally, my changed mind led me to develop a desire to have more, be more, and do more. It wasn't enough that I no longer accepted my life as is and stopped defining myself in terms of what happened to me. I also wanted more for myself and my family. I was tired of living an okay and sometimes even mediocre life. But, it was more than wanting to have more. It really was me developing the faith that there is more out there in the world for me to have.

During this time in my life, I meditated on Jeremiah 29:11 day and night. So much so, that when I saw the words "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future," painted over a simple wooden canvas at Hobby Lobby I had to have it. I kept the canvas in my front room at first, but when I got enough courage to start my coaching practice, I moved the canvas to my home office. I used it as a daily reminder that God has already set things in motion for me to have more and that it is up to me to do the work to obtain what He has stored up for me to receive. 

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. - James 2: 26

I thank God that from his word, I understood that through it all, the plan has been and still remains to prosper me. You must understand that when you focus on the negative; the pain, heartache, and disappointments become your story. However, when you focus on the fact that God wants to prosper you, you can begin to write a new narrative. The new story is how, through it all, and despite what you've been through, you're still here. The difference is you're more mature, wiser, and stronger. 

The Ability to Recognize What's Not You

For a large part of my adult life, I believed the things people had said about me. It started when I was a child, and I would hear things like "you're so selfish" or "you're a bitch." I was told numerous times that my brother was a better child than me and how my mother knew from the beginning that I would be the one to disappoint her.  

Looking back now, as my healthy, adult self, I realize how ridiculous it would be to believe such lies. For the most part, I was a straight-A student, never snuck out, never got into trouble at school or otherwise, and I didn't have any issues with boys. My "attitude" was nothing different from any other teenage girl, and I made it through college with a Master's degree and no babies or bad habits and addictions. 

However, the young me, the one whose brain hadn't fully developed and who was an insecure teenager, believed every word my mother said about me. Even when others would give me praise and tell me not to pay her any attention, I still hung onto her every word. I tried hard to please her, only to come up short every time, which only made me feel even more like a failure.  

Related Posts: 3 Keys to Being Happy

During a low point in my life, after I had pushed friends, family members, and my husband away, something happened; I surrendered. The surrender wasn't by choice; it was more out of an inability to hold on anymore. At the point that I surrendered, that's when God was able to take over and to show me who I really am. 

These things that my mother had described were not me. They were a manifestation of her own hurt and pain. What I discovered is that she had no right to determine who I am. My Creator, the one who knew me before He placed me in her womb (Jeremiah 1:5), decides who I am. Once I made the separation between the vessel used (my mother) and my actual Creator (God), I was then able to accept whom He says I am.

I am His child (John 1:12).

I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).   

I am chosen (John 15:16).

I am seated in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6).

And I am a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17).

It's the newness that did it for me. Doesn't it feel good to not have to keep being the things that people say you are? I am so grateful that God has the authority and final say on what I am, not the world. 

Are you trapped like I was? Do you find yourself manifesting in your life the very things people accuse you of being? Decide today to be the things that your Creator said you are instead. And if you find yourself needing a partner to help you through this process, complete the form below to schedule a free session with me today. And don't forget to leave your comments below; did this list make you reflect on the things you're most grateful for?  

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