Glimmers of Gratitude

Glimmers of Gratitude, and article by Hannah Hocutt

Glimmers of Gratitude

“Be grateful.”

These words can be haunting. Usually, it’s what people tell you when you’ve gone through something hard. While the sentiment is a kind reminder to look for the good in life, it usually feels like a backhanded disregard for the hard you just endured. The casual reminder to just “be grateful” for what you have instead of acknowledging what was lost is a very common form of comforting others. But I can’t point fingers— because I’ve done that, too.

We need to reframe the idea of “being grateful.” Gratitude does not replace grief or loss but comes alongside it.

“Gratitude turns what you have into enough.”

This quote started to reframe my own thinking about gratefulness. It has been up on my letter board for 2+ years now, and I just can’t seem to take it down yet because I don’t feel like I’ve really learned this lesson yet. The idea is that choosing to be grateful in life doesn’t negate or replace the hard things that happen; instead, it reminds you of the good that has happened, even amidst the bad or hard. 

We need to reframe the idea of “being grateful.” Gratitude does not replace grief or loss but comes alongside it.

Sansone & Sansone are quoted in a article as saying that “[gratitude] is the act of recognizing and acknowledging the good things that happen…” There’s no need to replace the hard things that have happened – just take a moment to linger on the good things that have happened. 

The article goes on to say that many health and life benefits occur in people who choose to show gratitude regularly. Once you start creating the habit of noticing those little good things— like a good passage in a book you are reading, a small flower by the sidewalk, or a cool fall breeze that blows around you on a walk— you’ll start to see more and more little good things that eventually start dotting the landscape of your days and memories with beauty even amidst the broken.

I learned a term in the past year called “glimmers” – glimmers are the opposite of triggers. Triggers are things that remind you of trauma, pain, or brokenness, but glimmers are those tiny things that remind you of hope. Starting to recognize and name those glimmers is one way to incorporate gratitude into your day. It does not mean you gloss over and ignore hard things; it just gives you permission to see something beautiful and bask in that beauty for a moment.

Looking at my life right now, you would probably say I’m a happy person. But there’s one area in which I continue to struggle with being grateful—singleness. All I wanted growing up was to be a wife and mom. That is one part of life that God has not given me, no matter how much I’ve desired it. If you use the toxic positivity and “just be grateful” model, you’d quickly tell me many reasons why I should be grateful being single. But deep inside, bitterness is quick to wrap its iron arms around my heart and steal the joy from me if I let it.

I have to make the choice. I have to choose the glimmers

I have to choose to be grateful for the state of my life— which does not currently include a husband or the sweet companionship that marriage brings. If I don’t choose gratitude, bitterness wins. And that’s simply a miserable, hurting place to be. I have to make the choice. I have to choose the glimmers— a slow, quiet morning at home, the ability to catch up with dear friends over leisurely coffee dates, the gift of time where I can drop everything and come alongside those around me.

1 Peter 4: 10-11 is such a good reminder to use all that we have and all that we are for the glory of God. “Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”

In our own strength, we will regularly fail at choosing gratitude. Finding glimmers of gratitude can only be accomplished through the Lord’s strength. Start small and start now. Let’s begin training ourselves to see the little beautiful things so that when we eventually go through a loss, disappointment, or hard season, we’ve already created the habit of being grateful.

Hannah Hocutt has lived in multiple countries throughout her life. Currently, she works in Hungary at the International Christian School of Budapest as a first-grade teacher. She has strived to walk worthy of the call of being a Christian since coming to salvation in childhood and seeks to use her life to further the Kingdom of God. She enjoys coffee shop meetings, savoring the peace of nature, and growing in her love of reading. She also dabbles in writing occasionally on her blog, Wisteria Crayon, mostly about what she is learning in life, and desires to continue growing as a writer.

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