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Selah

The gratitude filter

It’s officially winter and it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

That’s debatable.

I love the holidays, but I’m more of a sun and fun girl. But my least favorite season—fall. I kind of hate it. Leaves dying, cold weather inevitably coming. To say I hate it is a little dramatic, but I’ve always thought fall was overrated.

I remember driving one day this fall and realizing the leaves on a specific type of tree had turned a brilliant orange. Others were red, green or yellow. But the orange stood out to me.  I’m thirty?? years old and I’ve never seen them this shade. I’ve always thought the fall colors were beautiful, but cliché as it may sound, I felt like I was seeing them anew. It was so much so that I asked a few of my family and friends if the leaves looked different to them this year.  It looked like the color saturation you see with a social media filter. For weeks, every time I drove I paid attention. I took alternative routes to see what the trees looked like in other areas. It was absolutely beautiful and it gave me a new respect for fall. Still, I couldn’t figure out why it looked so different, until I realized it wasn’t the trees.

It was me. I’m different this year.

I’ve been working on gratitude, being more present and savoring the moments. I guess it was a success because I found myself enthralled by something I used to be indifferent towards.  

I’ve found myself looking at things a little differently lately. I don’t know if it’s because of an approaching birthday, the ever raging pandemic, the innumerable ways my life has changed, or all of the above. Either way, things are different and I am different. The past two years have taught me a lot. Don’t take the small moments for granted. Savor your happiness. Find joy. Seek peace. Wisdom is more valuable than money. One of the most impactful lessons has been an old faithful. Gratitude.

In my lowest and highest moments this year, and I’ve had my share of both, there was always something to be grateful for. During one of my more difficult times I began listing five things I was grateful for during my nightly prayers. Some days my list went over five. Some days it was challenging because I honestly didn’t feel grateful. So I started listing small things like, being able to smell my favorite scent or something that made me laugh or smile that day. That caused a shift for me.

When I started looking for things to be grateful for, I started finding things to be grateful for.

This is a gentle reminder for anyone reading (mostly for myself) that when looking at your situation, it helps to use a filter. Look through a lens of gratitude and see what changes. Notice the difference in color, contrast and tone. Does it look any different? Is there anything you missed at first glance?

As my gratitude practice progressed, I began to list five of God’s characteristics to thank him for. His kindness, patience, love, mercy, forgiveness, wisdom, friendship… I went on like this for a week and I never needed to repeat one.

When my circumstances aren’t overflowing with reasons to be grateful at first glance, I can look again with a different lens. And no matter the season, I can always be grateful to God for who he is. He never changes. He is always the same and because of that, I’ll always have a reason to be grateful.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hebrews 13:8

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