When Gratitude Captures Beauty
Posted December 14, 2021 by Sarah Green
Categories: Featured, Sarah, Sister Post
Confucius once stated, “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” I remember catching glimpses of beauty and goodness as a child, yet I knew those gifts could not be for me; they were fleeting like a vanishing sunset. I recall grieving over moments where life (God) touched me, but I knew they were passing. I would grieve before the moment was even gone. It was engraved on my heart that beauty and goodness were for others, not a reality I could hold onto or trust.
How could my young heart trust when life was relentlessly unraveling at the seams? As a young girl, I felt the world in a big way, the highs and the lows. As I grew older with life’s twists, turns and hardships, gloom settled on my heart, crowding out goodness. Undeniably, everyone hinted at a better lot in life than me. Melancholy and pessimism were close friends. Was gloom my destiny? Or was I just stuck in a vicious cycle? Certainly, a cycle Satan delighted in me believing was my destiny.
I unknowingly set out to sabotage the beauty and goodness life offered me. Webster’s Dictionary names the destructive behavior for what it is, “an act or process tending to hamper or hurt.” I wasn’t out to hurt anyone else, just myself. This sabotage reinforced my belief that everyone had it better, or that beauty and goodness weren’t meant for me. Eventually, I questioned this deception. It wasn’t until I became desperate to see with different eyes that God opened my heart and mind to daily keep track of what He was doing in my life.
Desperate To See
That was when I embarked on a journey that revealed God’s hand in every moment of beauty and goodness I had encountered. Gratitude shockingly exposed how much more He had in store for me.
I started a gratitude journal twenty years ago, mostly in order to wake up. I needed to appreciate all the little moments in my day, the gifts that were right before me, to what Jesus was doing in my life, every single day, every single hour, and every single moment. I clamored to counter the sabotage voices in my head with the truth. I had no idea where the journey would take me. Some days I wrote a few things, some days I wrote a lot, some days I didn’t write at all because life was a whirlwind. Yet, I’ve always returned to my gratitude journal because of the gift gratitude has played in my life.
Whether I gave thanks for something large or tiny did not matter — I wrote it all. I had to. A 2003 journal reminds me of my gratitude list: “good books, inspiring people, early mornings, prayer, exercise, flowers in a jar, giggles from my children.” I can’t even imagine how many times I’ve jotted the same thing over the past twenty years. Yet, some things are just worth repeating. As I journeyed along the path of gratitude, I realized gratitude isn’t meant for just the good times. I was challenged to scan, spot, and scrutinize beauty and goodness even when life was hard.
Gratitude taught me joy even in tough and broken situations, which revealed the lies I so readily clung to. Gratitude does not mean life is easy or problem free. Gratitude simply opens the eyes and heart to catch beauty and goodness where someone else may not see it. It reveals that God is intimately involved in life’s relentless messes and hardships. Gratitude is like a net for catching His blessings.
Gratitude is pen to paper for me. I attempt to write every single day. The goal is not a whole journal nor a whole page. Just one blessing. Blessing begets blessing. Similarly, it’s hard not to add one more blessing once you’ve started. I continue to add just one more because gratitude gives me the eyes of a child, helps me enter into the story God ordained for me, and leaves me in awe. When I forget, which I most certainly do, I can sense the loss in my life. Something is always missing when I’m not giving thanks, so come rain or shine I continue living into the mystery of gratitude to capture the beauty and goodness that He has in store for me.
Friends, in the hustle and bustle of this busy season, I encourage you to snag a beautiful journal, old notebook, or even scrap paper. Anything, and jot down one thing amidst the hurry to be grateful for. Even if life is hard during this time of year, grab a fleeting moment to hold onto. What’s one beautiful or good thing you noticed today?