A man in black staring at a snowy mountain.

The Power of Alive and Able

I don’t remember the title or even the author, just the thought I read in a book years ago that has stuck with me of how even the most uncomfortable circumstances can be cause for joy.

I have an ask. Here it is:
Please don’t judge what I am sharing as fluff thinking without giving it a sincere try.
Because there would be a temptation, even in myself, to think it fluff… if I hadn’t experienced the power of how it has shifted me personally.

Back to the book… the example I remember reading was of when you are outside in the shivering cold, and you are tempted to complain about being miserable. Instead, if you begin to be thankful for being fully alive and therefore able to feel the harsh wind on your face, alive and able to experience the chill bumps getting larger and spreading, your gratefulness can overtake the grumbling.

Of course, this only applies in whatever circumstance is personally unpleasant for you. Some like the cold and consider it extremely pleasant. For me, I experience discomfort when it is too hot…or when I see people being rude or inconsiderate of others’ time or feelings. Sitting at a signal light when it appears all directions have the red light particularly annoys my husband. You know what irritates you.

For several weeks now that thought from years ago has come back to me and I have been practicing the gratitude. I realize more than ever how many insignificant things we give significant place to, when the blessing of simply being alive and able, a gift to which we are not entitled or guaranteed, far outweighs the discomfort of unwanted circumstances.

Why do we give such great attention to things that steal our joy?

As simplistic as this may sound, there is power in remembering the blessing of being alive and able to make the choices we make. The power of that remembrance can shift anxiety, frustration, and anger to joy and thankfulness, which can then open up all kinds of positive and creative solution thinking.

It is your choice which road to take, even if ends up being the most congested one. You can be glad in the midst of the traffic that you are alive and able to have made that choice.

It is your choice which restaurant to dine in, even if the service is slow. Be thankful you got to make that choice, too. And even if (I can hear you!) you are saying it was your spouse or boss or whomever that made that choice, ultimately it was your choice to go along with them. You were alive and able to make that choice.

And let’s talk email. (Thanks for reading mine!) You can choose whether to spend time going through your email, or letting it accumulate. Granted, both of those choices can illicit feelings of frustration, but when you remember you are alive and able to check email, or alive and able to ignore it, the frustration shifts. You realize how much more the incredible blessing of being alive and able to make those choices far outweighs the inconveniences that come with having made them.

Would you commit to being intentional to make this shift, even if just for this week? When you find yourself annoyed, will you begin to be thankful for the choices you made that put you in the situation you are in? And continue being thankful all the way through it?

I have a feeling you will not only see your joy increase and your anxiety decrease, but you might just see the same in those around you as well.

Then joy might become the new norm!
Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Here’s to joy…
in every circumstance!

Brenda is a believer in impossible possibilities. In brokenness becoming beautiful. In justice and mercy and honor and power – with love perfecting them all. She is a wife, mom, mimi, daughter, and friend who also enjoys speaking, writing, and coaching.