Tuesday, November 25, 2014

10 Days of Gratitude: Day 1 - I Am Grateful by SharRon Jamison

November is the time of the year when many of us are feeling a bit fatigued. Even if it has been a year filled with celebration and success, somewhere in our spirits we are craving renewal, rejuvenation, restoration and relaxation. We have worked hard, studied hard, labored hard and loved hard and in many ways we have reached a crescendo. We need a release because we are full, pregnant with accumulated experiences, and our minds, spirits and bodies need a break, a respite. We need to emotionally, spiritually and physically exhale to release the residue of our transitions, losses, challenges, disappointments, changes and pain. We also need to exhale to release the residue of our growth, development and success because even though positive, those experiences required much of us and also required much from us. We desire, and in some ways, our spirits beg for rest.

But it is in those quiet nights when I am tossing and turning when my mind won’t rest and my body won’t relax, that I list my blessings. I enumerate how God has orchestrated my pains and my gains, a little bit of good and a little bit of bad, the simple and the complex, and the ups and the downs to get me where I am today. And God is so amazing that many times I just sit and wonder.  Because it is in those midnight hours that I see how my experiences fit like pieces of an intricate puzzle. And in those reflective moments, I realize how each piece, some smooth and some jagged, was used to develop me, equip me and strengthen me. And it is at those moments when I am all alone, sometimes crying in desperation and sometimes crying in celebration, that I am the most grateful.
Sometimes I am grateful that things are going well and sometimes I am grateful that things are not as bad as they could be. But nestled in my spirit is a song, an old hymn of the church, called “It Is Well With My Soul”. I sing that song or I just dwell on the meaning of the song and thankfully peace finds me. I don’t feel peaceful immediately, but that song slowly penetrates my soul and reaches those hidden, vulnerable crevices of my spirit to remind me that indeed “It Is Well With My Soul”.  It is at those quiet meditative moments when I feel most grateful.
So, what am I am most grateful for in 2014? I am grateful for agitation. This year I have been pestered, provoked, pushed, pulled and pursued. I have worried more than I should have even though I didn’t realize at the time that I was worrying at all. Unfortunately, my body knew and it protested vigorously.
But it has been at those times when I felt the most aggravated that I really experienced my full potential as a mother, daughter, minister, business owner, professional and person. It was at those most emotionally demanding times that I was able to use frustration as fuel to create new options, develop innovative approaches, generate new revenue, form strategic alliances, seek wiser counsel and most importantly, pray. It was at those times when I was at my most vulnerable places that I reached out, reached in and reached up for strength to handle situations and circumstances that were painful, complicated, baffling and life-threatening.  It was hard, God knows it was hard, and some issues have yet to be resolved.  But I am so grateful that I was agitated, and frequently so, because it forced me to see my potential, nurture my resilience, forgive others, forgive myself and to love differently, not always more deeply, but differently.
I am grateful that God used agitation as a catalyst and clarifier in my life. I am grateful that God shook the proverbial nest and forced me to fly, albeit sometimes reluctantly. I grateful that I was forced out my comfort zone and into my genius zone which allowed  me to get a glimpse of what God could do if I would open my head, my heart and my hand  to new possibilities and to new options. I am grateful that I was agitated and fired up to be the best SharRon I could be. I am grateful!
I am grateful for inspiration. In 2014, I have been inspired to try things that I never tried before and inspired to imagine possibilities than I never imagined before. I wasn’t good at everything I tried, but trying identified and confirmed my strengths, talents and abilities which convinced me that I was not performing up to my full potential or capacity. And so, I am grateful for succeeding at some things and failing at some things because I now have new data to propel me forward. I now have information that will help me better direct, maximize and focus my efforts in my personal and professional lives. I am ready for growth, expansion, new horizons, new ideas and new opportunities.  I now have a clearer vision for my life. I am grateful!
I am also grateful for the inspiration that God sent me through other amazing people. God is so God that God always sent me encouragement just when I needed it most. God sent me the right song at the right time to soothe me. God sent me the right friends at the right time to encourage and me. God lead people to send cards, letters, text messages and email messages that supported me. Even during the tough times, and there were many, I was encouraged, motivated, calmed, comforted, fortified and urged to do, to be, to go, to say and to try. I was blessed by poems, pictures, proverbs, pasta and pats on the back. All acts of kindness were instrumental in healing my heart when it was broken, lifting my spirit when it was low, filling my stomach when it was empty and strengthening my soul when it was weak.  I was blessed!  Thank you. I am grateful!
I am grateful for affirmation. Let’s face it – it is a wonderful feeling when people affirm you, your gifts, your calling and your vision because we all desire to be noticed, appreciated and valued even if we don’t admit it.  And even though public affirmation is not the “be-all, in-all”, it does feel good. It feels good to be affirmed by your peers, family members, colleagues and co-laborers. It feels amazing to have your talent respected, lauded and applauded. It feels good when people take the time to express respect for what you do and for who you are. It is feels good because affirmation is more than a compliment. It is one of the highest expressions of gratitude because it is a way of telling people thank you for just being you, thank you for your contributions, thank you for sharing yourself with the world, thank you for your inner beauty and thank you for walking in your purpose. Affirmations are powerful and life-giving; they are salve for the human soul.
I am grateful for all of you who have affirmed my work and affirmed my very existence. You have encouraged me to step more out on faith, to speak more of my truth, to celebrate more of who I am and to live authentically as I can – flaws, failures, faults and all. You created, supported and fortified a space where I can be vulnerable, transparent, wrong and silly without judgment and ridicule. This adage is so true for me: only free people can free people. You were free and you allowed me to be free. Thank you! I am grateful!
Agitation, inspiration and affirmation!!!   I am grateful that all three have aided in my transformation, edification, preparation and propelled me toward my divine destination. I am grateful for these three wonderful gifts that have helped me become a better me. Thank you! I appreciate all of you so much and I am not only grateful, but I am hopeful because the best ME is yet to come. Blessings!
SharRon Jamison 

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