If you've never had a serious health problem or deal with a chronic disease there's no way you can fully grasp how much of a gift it is to be healthy. But, you should try. Sit and think about how your life would be different if you couldn't use your arms or legs. How would it be different if you had diabetes? What if you can't see? Or you have conditions that require medications that make you feel irritable, tired, foggy, numb? What would life look like if you had 8 medical appointments during a typical month? Would your car, house, vacations have to be different if you were spending $1100 a month on medications?
Health is something that we tend to take for granted and don't realize how hugely it can impact our life until it's altered. We complain about the effort it takes to live a healthy lifestyle instead of being grateful for the ability to go to the grocery store and reach the stuff that's high up, buy fresh produce because your budget allows because you can maintain a good paying job and don't have a lot of medical expenses, exercise without major modifications, travel without worrying about how your medications need to be stored or cleared through security, drink water without worrying about your water restriction, sleep without worrying about wearing a mask and wake up in the morning without every part of your body hurting. Whew!
Your health is a gift. Are you taking care of your health? Or are you taking it for granted?
I had zero idea there was a difference between gratefulness and thankfulness until I saw this cheesy phrase and thought to myself- why are they saying both thankful AND grateful? The dictionary defines thankful as "pleased and relieved." Grateful is defined as "feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness." They do sound very similar even in definition but gratefulness seems to carry more of an action or having thankfulness with intention. You can be thankful without fully recognizing it and practicing gratitude.
Tis the season for thankfulness and gratefulness because if you are reading this- you have access to the internet, probably a smart phone and you're concerned about how your health could impact the purpose you have in life instead of worrying about food, shelter and safety. You are blessed. (I'm saying this to myself too.)
So, in effort to not only be thankful but to be grateful- take a few minutes to name as many things as you can that you're grateful for and then express that gratitude. Whether that be texting or calling someone to tell them they made the list or sharing your list on social media, spread the attitude of gratitude!
My list includes: headphones, coffee, fall leaves, planners, technology, car, house, my kids getting to grow up around family (esp cousins), being a momma, salvation in Jesus, running shoes, hoodies, leggings, norwex mop, coworkers, freedom, Juice Plus, ability to exercise, good smelling candles, prayer, quiet mornings, new roof, sunrise, sunset, stars... I could go on and on.
Now it's your turn. What makes you thankful, grateful and blessed? Practicing gratitude should be something you do at least once a day. The next time you're having a "bad" day try finding the good- the things you're grateful for and meditate on the good.
Philippians 4:8 says "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
We as a culture are constantly thinking about what we can do to get the next best thing. How can we "one up" what we've already got in life? Is there a trip or experience that will make life more fulfilling? All the striving and attempting to be as good as your neighbors can get exhausting and I bet, even if you got everything your heart desires right now you'll still be unfulfilled.
I believe that focusing on being grateful for what we have is an important part of stress management and leading a fulfilling life. Passion for improvement and continued growth have their places but don't let the desire for these outgrow your gratefulness.
What are you grateful for today?