Living a Gratitude-Driven Life
I was having a conversation with a friend the other day who was feeling stuck in between two seasons of life. She was caught in stagnation, feeling like her day-to-day wasn’t allowing her to live out her full purpose.
Then I went to church a few days later and the message spoke to me. The main point was this: the way we speak about our current reality influences our future, and if we forget our past, we can greatly underestimate what that future can look like. (If you’d like to listen to the full message, search City Church Chicago in Apple Podcasts and listen to the message titled Talk About It. Trust me, it is worth it.)
In both of these moments, I found myself turning my focus to gratitude. Maybe it’s because we’re in the season of Thanksgiving, but gratitude has been a steady theme for my life lately.
As I talked to my friend, I reminded her of all the steps that got her to the transitional season she is currently in. Without God pulling her through a lot of complex and transformational moments, she would be walking out very different steps.
Sometimes our weird, transitional, confusing, lonely times in our lives are the product of a season of growth and healing.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4
Dark seasons are tough. Transition seasons are tough. There’s no argument against that. But, if we live through those tough seasons with gratitude for all the growth we have experienced that brought us to that place, it is much more fulfilling to push through. The verse above from James 1 is one of my absolute favorites because it reminds us that tests of faith build our endurance. Live with joy for the growth of endurance!
Think about the person you were 2 years ago. It’s likely that that person is only a fraction of your current self. God is constantly providing growth in our lives, and if we don’t take time to look back and acknowledge how far we’ve come, we will struggle to look forward with the promise that God is providing us hope and a future. Living with gratitude for your past makes it so much simpler to surrender and trust in God’s plan for your future. I’ve had many ugly and dark seasons of life, and they have always ended with an element of growth. I am endlessly grateful every day that God brought me through those seasons because they helped me grow in ways I never could have without those tests of faith.
Just like our bodies experience physical growing pains, our souls experience spiritual growing pains.
Live with gratitude for that pain, knowing that it is bringing you towards the fulfillment of growth and a beautifully complex future. We will always have transition seasons. We will always have struggles. If we focus on being grateful for all of the hard seasons God has already brought us through, maybe we can start experiencing those difficult seasons with confidence and anticipation for the future.
A few more verses to pray in trying times:
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” Romans 8:18
“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Christina Graffagna // @cgraffagna
Hi! I’m Christina, and I’m currently 22 years old living in Chicago. I grew up right outside of Chicago, but recently graduated from the University of Alabama (Roll Tide), where I’ve been for the past four years. I am undeniably ill-equipped to be back in the snow after experiencing southern winters! While attempting not to turn into a popsicle, I’ll be working on my master’s degree in community counseling at Loyola University. My current plan is to become a Licensed Professional Counselor and work with adolescents in private therapy. I love connecting with people, learning their stories, and using the knowledge I have about human behavior coupled with the knowledge I have of Scripture to advise others and love them well.