How do you have a thankful heart when you have a broken heart? Perhaps this year you’ve lost a spouse, a child, your job, your health, your parents or a dream? There are things you can do to help get back the joy. Sometimes as difficult as it is you have to make the best of a bad situation and that means putting one foot in front of the other and keep going. Even if you don’t feel like it, you keep on going because somewhere, sometime ahead in the journey there is new joy! There is hope. You can make it. And, it starts with taking time out to look at what you are thankful for. It’s all where you have your eyes.
I just realized I had five out of six of these and God sustained me through every situation. When I became a widow at 32, God promised that I could make it “ underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27). Even when I felt like I was falling and my world was coming apart, God had me in the palm of His hand. When I lost my son in an auto accident God reassured me Zachary was in glory with Him. When I got struck with Multiple Sclerosis (this effected my job), I was covered with much prayer and recovered. Wow, I am blessed!
You can look for many ways to have an attitude of gratitude which releases new joy and that helps mend the broken heart.
Giving to others also releases joy. What you do for them gives back to you. Here are a few ways to make your load lighter.
1) Look for ways to help others. Feed the hungry, volunteer in a nursing home, give someone a ride to the doctor, or help someone after they are devastated by a tornado. There are many lonely, needy people in this world.
2) Show appreciation to others for whatever they have done for you. Big or small. It’s round robin. Both will feel satisfaction
3) Connections are powerful. Like plugging in an electric cord. Plug into friends and family. You will feel a surge of energy and joy. Naomi in the book of Ruth returned not just to her people, after her heart was broken, but returned to the land of her God. This resulted in restoration and healing.
4) Exercise in whatever way you can. Even a short walk will release endorphins that make you feel better, physically and emotionally. These little endorphins will tickle your happy bone and release new energy.
5) Smile, even if you don’t feel like it. Feeling often follows action. Smiling will be followed with real joy. The first time it may be forced, but keep it up! Smile all day, all week and pretty soon the emotion of joy will tag along. Also, many others will smile in return.
6) Thanksgiving and praise will be followed by victory. The Lord will honor praise, and deliverance will come, and it all begins by breaking out of the bondage of depression or ungratefulness.
We have so many blessings and reasons to be grateful in this life, despite seasons of heartache. As my Tennessee cousins would say, “Ya’ll have a happy Thanksgiving.”