Thankfulness Thursday:Living Blessed

Every Thursday, I am going to cover the topic of thankfulness. The topics will cover things such as the power of gratitude, things I am thankful for, and how to live in gratitude. Today, I am going to talk about my favorite word and how I have made it a part of my lifestyle.

Spend enough time in my presence or conversing with me and you will quickly learn one of my favorite words to use is blessed. I say it any chance I can get for it is the truth. All that I am, all that I do, all that I have, the life that I live are all blessings. How can I not see it that way when I am living a life that should not be? When I have been given a second chance? To think, I should not be alive. But here I am fully alive and experiencing so many beautiful things, how can I not be blessed? How could I hide my gratitude? How could I not share it with the world? Everything and every day is a gift, completely unexpected but extremely appreciated. 

I thought I didn’t want them, that I didn’t deserve them, that I had no fight in me to live to receive them. But I was proved wrong. I was shown what my heart really did want and that I truly did have it in me to beat this deadly disorder to witness the many blessings of life. I did nothing wrong to not warrant such amazing things nor did I have to be perfect to earn and deserve them.

I have never felt as blessed as I am today. Overwhelmingly so to the point words cannot even do it justice. I find myself with a permanent smile on my face. I am so thankful for the life that God has chosen me to live. I am so thankful for the opportunities that have been presented to me. I am so thankful God has seen me fit to live this life and helped guide me through it, the good and the bad. He has provided me with the strength and determination and hope I need to survive the storms. I am so thankful He believed and trusted in me enough to place challenges and tasks in my life that aid in my spiritual growth and would help me to lead others to Him and be a light. This life is beyond what I could have ever dreamed filled with more than I ever thought possible. I will say it again; blessed. It is what I am.

Do we say enough how blessed we are? Do we give enough thanks for all that we have? You have 86,400 chances in a day to say thank you. Are you using them? When is the last time you just took a second to express your gratitude? If you woke up tomorrow with the things you thanked God for today, what would you have? A short time ago, I would have had nothing. I took things for granted. I only saw the bad. My struggles had me hating life. Despite having a roof over my head, love, people who cared and supported me, all I could see was what was going wrong. I never used the word blessed with the anorexia. I used to be so spiteful about my circumstances. There was nothing blessed about them. I could see no good coming from my struggles. I could see nothing positive in my life. I focused on all that was going wrong and all that I was given that I did not want. I begged someone to tell me what was blessed about this life; unable to eat normally, being a slave to rituals, obsessive thoughts to the point I could not sleep, despising who I am, living in hate and anger, being confined to a couch with no energy to live, centering my mood and worth around a number some contraption showed me, refusing all love and affection, constant stares and judgment. Someone direct me where in the midst of all that pain and depression and obsession were there blessings. What was there to be thankful for? What thanks did I owe God for this life? The more angry and unsatisfied I became about my life, the harder it became to be grateful for anything and the easier it was to dwell in negativity. The less I loved my life and myself, the deeper my resentment became.

It took me a bit to reach this place of extreme thankfulness for life. I went through many phases of anger, frustration, despair, and isolation in the early stages of recovery to be where I am now. I had to allow myself to experience the fullness of life on the other side. I had to learn to live in the now and away from the past. I had to mature spiritually. My gratitude emerged when I accepted God back into my heart. I have been forever changed since.

I now begin each day with a grateful heart. From the moment I open my eyes, I am thanking God for getting me to another day, experience another day of blessings and opportunities, have another chance at fulfilling my dreams. I do not just speak my gratitude, I live it out as well. I look for blessings even in the most mundane days. I take nothing for granted. Something I may have once overlooked as a blessing could be one of the greatest things to ever happen to me and will make way for another and another. Eventually, I find reasons to be thankful everywhere. I found when my appreciation for what I do have grows, I am blessed with even more. Counting your blessings increases your happiness. Never had I felt less stressed, less overwhelmed, less discouraged, less hopeless, than when I adopted an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude leads you to finding peace of mind and happiness inside. No matter what is going on outside of us, there is always something we could be grateful for. Happiness does not come as a result of getting something we don’t have. It comes from recognizing and appreciating what we do have. Everything becomes enough, even beyond what I could ever ask for. All I have is all I need. All I needed is the awareness of how blessed I really am. Knowing what I have, gave me reasons to keep fighting.

Even when everything seems bad, when all hope seems to be gone, when it feels like the world is against you, there is always something to be grateful for. It doesn’t matter how small. Acknowledge it. Thank life for it. Treasure and appreciate it. It will be the thing to keep you going so you have the chance to welcome more blessings. And even the difficult experiences, people, and events are blessings. They are just in disguise. Everything that has happened to me has been a gift, an opportunity for growth. There is a reason and purpose for everything to help us develop, learn, and discovering who we are and what we need. Gratitude makes sense of my past. I see the blessings that came of my struggles and the purpose of the pain. I am thankful for the trials to lead me to my destiny. They have lead me to this beautiful life for which I am blessed…

What are you thankful for today? Take a moment to reflect on all that you have, the beauty surrounding you, the people in your life. If you cannot think of anything in a time of current darkness then project your gratitude into the future and express thanks for what will be and the opportunities you can have. Or go into the past and express gratitude for the things that grew you, enlightened you, strengthened you, and made you smile. In every moment, find something to be grateful for. That is the root of joy.

Love, light, and bravery, J.L.