Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Research continues to demonstrate that gratitude is good for you; it improves your mood, creativity, relationships, and sense of wellbeing in so many ways. Being grateful for family, friends, and any material blessings is wonderful and appropriate. But each year I also try to look for new things to be grateful for.

The more years that go by, the more I’ve become able to truly feel thankful for things that might not immediately feel good. That was one of the most important lessons I learned in my grief journey after my husband died. I kept at it until I actually felt grateful – not that he died, but for his life, for our loving relationship, and for who he had been to me.

So here are the top three things on my gratitude list for 2022.

YOU!

I am so profoundly grateful for you!

Without you there would be no reason to write these articles, or produce podcast episodes, or maintain all the goodies on our website.

Without you writing back to me I’d have no idea what you need help with, or what is especially meaningful. Your responses make it possible for me to connect in some way with people from around the country and around the world.

Those of you who have chosen to connect via one-on-one coaching bring me the joy of being such a close participant in the transformation God is working in you even in the middle of really hard times.

Without the gifts from those of you who can financially support us we would not be able to share these materials with hurting people.

If you could see and hear me right now, you would hear me saying Thank You!

The Long Process of Transformation

We all want a quick fix, a “pill” to make us feel better, an immediate answer from God. Sometimes He does things suddenly! And I’m grateful for that.

But I’ve become even more grateful for how He works through process. The experience of a gourmet meal can’t be created in 30 minutes. An elite soldier or athlete doesn’t get that way in a weekend. You and I don’t become the Fully Alive transformed human beings God designed us to be without the process.

In the last couple decades neurobiology has demonstrated so much about how our internal systems work. Our brains change slowly! Our natural reactions become sanctified not by trying harder or learning more facts, but by time – time with healthy people, time with God, time soaking in experiences that involve not only our logical left brains but also our sensory right brains. To get deep, to get to heart change, requires time.

I’ve come to feel in my own soul the benefits of investing for the long haul and embracing the process. And in working with many women and men, I’ve seen the lasting changes that come only by doing the same.

I’m grateful for the long process of transformation by which God changes us from the inside out.

Being Stretched

This year I’ve become more comfortable with being stretched out of my comfort zone. It’s not that I like it in the moment, but I’ve learned to embrace feeling on the edge, stretched, almost a little out of control.

It’s helped so much for me to see Jesus as leading and me following. I don’t have to try to make something happen and then ask God to “bless it.” That’s not really how He works anyway. I’ve learned to look to Jesus to see where He is leading and then follow Him even when it seems well-nigh impossible.

In business, in ministry, in dealing with the dynamics in my own soul, being stretched is the only way I grow. And I’m perhaps more hungry now than I’ve ever been to become all God has asked me to become. I’ve learned this isn’t about “doing” more, but about rhythms of being stretched and resting, joy and frustration, focusing on what’s most important while truly letting go of what I can’t change.

I’m grateful for how being stretched is making me more like Jesus and more useful to Him.

Your Gratitude

What are you grateful for this year?

Take the time to look more deeply. Ask, what does this make possible? How can you embrace the process of becoming? Where is God inviting you to step into something that will stretch you?

And nurture the attitude of gratitude when it springs up in your soul.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Your Turn: I’d love to hear from you about what you’re grateful for this year. Leave a comment below.

Tweetables: why not share this post?

  • My 2022 gratitude list is different this year. I’m grateful for YOU! For the long process of transformation. And for hard things that stretch me. What are you grateful for?  Tweet that.

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