Growth 4 min read

3 Reasons To Be Thankful During Life's Tests

Your attitude determines your altitude.

You are hurt and struggling and want nothing more than to protect yourself, to run away and let out your pain. But, it’s during life’s tests that we must be most thankful about what remains. The gratitude will not erase the struggle and pain, but it will provide a breather just long enough to think outside the box for solutions to our troubles. The act of giving thanks will remind you not to let the injuries drown you.

Below are three reasons we can remain thankful as we climb out of the inevitable valleys in life.

1. The Door May Be Closed But Look For The Window!

T.D. Jakes writes, “Every obstacle contains an opportunity. It may not be the doorway to success you were looking for –– it may be a second-story window left open just a crack!” In his book, "Instinct: The Power to Unleash Your Inborn Drive," Jakes discusses a time in his life when he lost his job while living in West Virginia. It was during a time of economic devastation for this area. There wasn't a single job “... within a fifty-mile radius.” He had to look within to find the answers as his family was depending on him. He could have used this hardship to give up and let worry overtake him, but instead he actively looked for solutions. He writes, “If necessity is indeed the mother of invention, then desperation is the father!” He started up a lawn mowing company that helped keep his family afloat and cultivated his business skills. Life’s tests did not break him; he looked for that second-story window!  

In your own life, look for the windows when doors close.  If you were to lose your job, a flood of negative emotions would come; this is to be expected. What is unexpected and brave is to set your mind with the belief that you are stronger than this obstacle. Your old job may have ended, but your new career path just opened up.  

2. Life’s Tests Refine Us

Jakes reminds us, “For every pain in your heart there is a strategy, for every pain in your soul, there is a strategy ... God has a plan for you.” Writer/director Tyler Perry endured soul-shattering sexual and physical abuse as a child. He explained to that “he never felt safe." But his rise to stardom started with a simple concept –– he would think of his family. He used images of his family being somewhere safe together in order to endure the devastation and push toward a life where he positively impacted the world. Tyler suffered more pain than any person should, but he utilized that pain and those experiences to fortify his spirit. Perry recounts, “He turned to his faith for comfort and sought refuge.” He was emotionally shattered and picked up the pieces and will to live. He now dedicates his life to healing others through his writing, films, and creating projects that he is proud of. We can apply this blueprint as we struggle with life’s tests. If you lose your health, if you are betrayed, if your spouse leaves you, pain and suffering are inevitable; but so, too, are emotional refinement and the development of resilience. The pain is real.  The suffering is unimaginable, but when the dust has settled a bit, the trauma will act as a defining point.

3. The Struggle Transforms Us

Civilizations the world over have used the symbol of the mythical phoenix to represent rebirth, growth and emergence from the past. It is commonly understood that the phoenix rises from the ashes, but in the Egyptian tradition, these ancients embalmed the ashes of its predecessor in myrrh. Like them, we, too, must acknowledge our past and our struggles with a balm of gratitude as they provided the rich soil of transformative growth. In "Instinct," T.D. Jakes reminds us to “... filter adversity through your instinct to survive. When expectations don’t run according to plan, you must be willing to change course, adapt your vision, and recalculate what’s needed to survive.” When you are approaching the part of personal transformation that feels like a death, envision the phoenix; this moment, this pain is the catalyst for rebirth. In fact, it’s the engine. Remain grateful for the struggle as you never doubt the stronger you that will emerge!

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