being grateful when it is hard

The day I moved into my new apartment was a little stressful.

I drove to the new place with a U-Haul full of my life, excited about this cute yellow door that God opened for me.

After literal hours of unpacking and arranging things, I went to drop off the U-Haul. My frat brothers followed me in the car because we had plans to go to Costco after I finished up.

I finished the inspection, locked the U-Haul, put the key in the lockbox, and climbed into the backseat. I was finally finished for the day.

It wasn’t until we were about 10 minutes from Costco that I realized I locked my house keys in the U-Haul. I called their customer service line anxiously, hoping that I would be able to get my keys that evening. The kind woman informed me that since it was the day before Thanksgiving, it might be difficult or almost impossible for her to get someone who was willing to come out to assist me.

She took my name and number and said that she would reach out to the district manager and explain the situation to them. I hung up with her and began to cry.

How could I be so stupid? So absentminded!

My frat brother D looked at me from the rearview mirror and said “No Mani, don’t cry! You gotta be grateful and thankful.”

I won’t lie – I was a little peeved when he first said that. I’m back here crying about my keys and you want me to be grateful?

Then I chose not to be offended and I really listened to what he said. Despite the negative overtone of the situation, I did have things to be grateful for.

I began to pray silently, expressing to God that despite the chaotic situation, I actually was grateful. The apartment of my dreams had my name on the lease. I was able to pay for the U-Haul. I could afford to buy myself dinner that night. I had a couch to sleep on if I wasn’t able to get my keys that evening.

I stopped crying and took a deep breath, grateful for the wise counsel he offered.

I did end up getting my keys back that night. The district manager called me and provided me with the passcode to the lockbox. I was able to sleep in my own apartment that night.

I’m not usually the type to tell God what I am grateful for when I’m upset. I’m more likely to express my frustrations to Him and go from there. I’ve had a change of heart since that experience. I choose to be grateful even when things seem bad or actually are bad.

Expressing my thankfulness in the bad times has made me appreciate the good times all the more. I know God is always working on my behalf because it says so in the Bible. God is so intentional about how He moves. So while it sucked that I locked my keys in the U-Haul, God allowed me to do that in the presence of people who could help me and provide a roof over the weekend.

Living a grateful life is hard at times. Sometimes I want to wallow in my disappointment. I want to sit in my dissatisfaction. All that does is make the bad situation seem worse.

So I choose to go about it with a grateful and thankful heart.

I used to hate the phrase ‘things could be worse’ because I felt it was insensitive. And maybe it is but there is some truth to it.

Every situation could actually be worse and it is up to you to decide how you will respond to it.

Me, I’ve decided to not dwell on the bad and to focus on the good, even if it is only 1 good thing. I will shout praises to the rooftops and thank God for that one good thing.

I want Him to know that I am grateful for whatever He chooses to bless me with not upset that He didn’t give more.

So yes, it is hard to walk in gratitude at times but I believe it helps to align us with God’s Spirit and helps us to be all the more appreciative of the wonderful blessings He gives us.

May today be another opportunity to thank God for everything, even the little things, because He deserves it.

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