One of my children has a food allergy. We have grown accustomed to reading food labels, asking people the ingredients of their homemade items, and bringing the Benadryl and Epi-pen with us everywhere.
Recently we received a package of baked goods in the mail. It came while the kids were still in school, so I opened it and read the list of ingredients. I soon saw the dreaded words, “Made on shared equipment.” She couldn’t have any of the goodies—again. I knew she would be devastated, so I ran to the store while the kids were in school and got her allergen-free cupcakes.
They came home, saw the baked goods, and in a matter of seconds, the happy, smiling child was devastated to learn she couldn’t have any. I quickly told her I had cupcakes just for her, but it was still just so disappointing to her.
I hugged her and she said, “I never get to have anything. This is not fair!”
I acknowledged her point—her feelings are real—and after sitting in her sadness with her for a few moments, I said, “We can’t change your allergy, right? So how about we practice seeing this whole situation differently?”
“Okay,” she said through tears.
“Instead of thinking about all the things you think you can’t have, how about we think about all the things you can have?”
It became a lesson I needed just as much as she did. Gratitude is not the posture I naturally take when I face disappointment, especially repeatedly. But that doesn’t mean I can’t reach for it and diligently choose it.
I’ve been listening to the song “Gratitude” by Brandon Lake on repeat for a while now. The lyrics go like this:
“Oh come on, my soul
Oh, don’t you get shy on me
Lift up your song
‘Cause you’ve got a lion inside of those lungs
Get up and praise the Lord”
They remind me of how I envision David when he penned the words “Why are you cast down, O my soul,” in Psalm 42:5. Sometimes I need to speak to my own soul in order to shift into a thought pattern of gratitude.
As you stare down disappointment, ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to all the good He has done. The disappointments this side of Heaven will never disappear, but shifting our eyes to see all the good and posturing our hearts toward Him helps us to walk this life in gratitude and not despair.
Sing a song of gratitude to your soul, and your soul will find Him.