How to Be Thankful for Difficulties

When was the last time you were truly thankful for something ordinary which someone else would give anything to have? I’m talking about food, a roof over your head, clothes, and other basic necessities.

Photo Credit: Dan Foy via Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Dan Foy via Creative Commons

I have felt convicted recently.

I’m thankful for my vision. Being thankful for my vision is more detailed than most. I suffer from nystagmus and have had it for basically my whole life.

As far as living goes it doesn’t impact me at all. There are some who have the condition so severely they cannot drive or do other basic tasks and I’m thankful I don’t have that problem.

I absolutely have not always been this thankful for the vision I do have. When I was younger, in elementary school and middle school, people would often ask me about it but it never bothered me. However, sometime during high school and through college and even beyond I got really self-conscious.

I hated taking pictures because often it was hard for me to focus on the camera lens. I hated looking people in the eye because I didn’t want them to think something was wrong with me.

The longer this went on the more it negatively affected me. I kept it inside and didn’t tell anyone about it which obviously made it worse. I began to hate it. I began to make it a much bigger deal than it actually was.

I remember talking to my wife when we were still dating about it and having a transcendent moment. I remember the exact spot we were at on the interstate coming back to Nashville from visiting family in Chattanooga.

I was telling her about this and as I was talking I could feel the pressure fall off my shoulder like taking off a heavy backpack. As I began talking I realized the issue was not my vision but my self-inflicted burden.

Although I remember the moment clearly, I don’t remember what she said. I simply remember her grabbing my hand. She said more with that motion than she ever could have verbally.

It wasn’t that she helped me realize I was making more of the situation than it actually was but rather she was letting me know it’s OK. We all have issues we struggle with and often times what is a bigger issue than the issue itself is the loneliness which accompanies it.

We don’t need to be perfect. We may long for perfection but it’s unrealistic and the longing for it will only leave us unsatisfied. What we long for is to be told, “it is OK.” Sometimes it doesn’t even need to be expressed with words but simply felt with a touch. I had been climbing a mountain with a cumbersome weight and then realized I didn’t have to carry it.

Whatever you are feeling today I would encourage you to talk with someone about it. It is the last thing you want to do but it is the most important thing you can do. Let someone help you. You don’t have to worry about how they will respond but you will be greatly impacted by getting it out.

I thought nystagmus was my problem. It wasn’t. My problem was I was longing to be told it was OK.

And for that I am thankful.

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2 thoughts on “How to Be Thankful for Difficulties

  1. God always uses what you write to pierce my heart and it leads me to hear His truth in a new way.
    “His yoke is easy & His burden is light”

  2. Interesting. I never noticed.

    It reminds me of when I confessed to my wife that I take mental note of what she’s wearing when we go out in public because I struggle to discern faces.

    The Lord gave us all imperfect bodies for our tenure here to enhance the experience. To humble us to draw unto him; To learn to love an imperfect self, along with imperfect others. I think the two go hand in hand.

    It reminds me of Van Gogh’s The Scream, which depicting the vulnerability and angst that we all experience. It’s a fundamental part of being human, and yet we all assume that weakness is unique to us.

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