Give Thanks for the Bad Things

“What the heck is he talking about?”

I remember thinking that once during prayer after hearing my son say, “Thank you for everything in my life—the good things and the bad things.”

When he was finished I asked him about what he said. “Why did you give thanks for the bad things?”

He replied, “Because all things help me to learn, and the bad things help me to learn about myself and life so that I can grow.”

“Wow! He has a point!” That’s what I thought.

Dealing with a few frustrating issues recently brought me back to that memory. In a moment of wanting to go off on someone, I remembered, “Thank you for everything in my life.” I remembered that if I would just look at the situation differently, I could see how that frustrating moment would one day benefit me.

I am absolutely sure that at some point in the next few days, something or someone will frustrate you. A co-worker may get on your nerves, you may receive some news you didn’t expect, or someone’s actions may disappointment you. But if you can look beyond the frustration in that moment and see that everything contributes to a bigger picture, then perhaps you’ll be able to give thanks.

Getting there takes practice because it’s not natural to show gratitude when something or someone rubs you the wrong way. Expressing gratefulness in all things is a practice—one that is good to do daily; one that you can begin now by simply saying, I AM grateful for everything in my life.


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