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Navigating life successfully requires facing difficulty with authenticity. We often grow the most during times of trial and tribulation. Hardship builds muscles of compassion, empathy, intentionality, persistence, will, endurance and faith. These strengths enable us to climb the mountain of life successfully – in both good times and bad.

Having acknowledged that reality, let’s look at the other side of the coin.  Gratitude is the antibody in the face of disappointment!  As Oprah states, gratitude looks toward what we have, rather than what we don’t have.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” — Oprah Winfrey

Many people face hardships and still manage to stay positive.  They intentionally focus on the good, rather than resenting their current situation.  Although at times life seems difficult, what we focus on gets transcribed upon our heart and flows like a river out into the world.

Out of heart flows the wellspring of life.  (Proverbs 4:23)

Commit to nurturing a grateful heart as we prepare for a new year.  One tool that can help you move in that direction is a gratitude journal.  Begin each day recording at least 5 items that you appreciate that morning.  It is amazing what recording your thanks and gratitude can do to improve your perspective on life.  Taking stock of the good things in our life helps us to put the trials into perspective.  Hardships don’t define us; we define them by how we decide to respond.