Gratitude is such a life-giving practice in recovery, as well as in life, relationships, and spiritual development. Expressing gratitude promotes humility and surrender in our hearts. It reminds us that we are humans on a spiritual journey and are ultimately not the one in control.
There are some things that come into our lives that we are instinctively grateful about. Our children, our health, any success we might achieve, the good stuff we didn’t expect, these are the things that make gratitude easy and natural.
What about the things that come into our lives that are more complicated? What about the things we spend a lot of energy wishing away from our lives? Do we engage the practice of gratitude in the shadows of our life?
When the numbers in the bank account don’t seem to add up in the way we need them to, where do we find gratitude? When we sit in a doctor’s office and hear a diagnosis that will alter our world, how do we practice gratitude? When everything our hands have worked to create begins to crumble in front of us, what is there to be grateful about?
I’ve learned that it’s in the shadows of my life where true gratitude is born. The kind of gratitude that grows humility and surrender in my soul. When I can find a shred of gratitude in the shadows, I’m exercising a supernatural trust in a God I cannot see.
My gratitude in the dark places of my life communicates that I trust that God’s plan, while mysterious, difficult, and sometimes even painful, is ultimately for my good. Gratitude in the shadows ignites my faith in a way nothing else can, because it doesn’t make sense to my human mind. It requires a deep and unique faith to be grateful in the shadows.
Gratitude we express for the beauty in our lives is important, needed, and valuable. It is a character building practice to engage in daily. But when we express gratitude in the shadowy places in our lives, that is a mysteriously beautiful gratitude!
What do you do to express gratitude? Think of the current shadows in your life. What does it look like for you to practice gratitude in those places?