Have you had a ‘Make-or-Break’ time in your life? It feels like the weight of your actions will have long term effects on your future.
used to describe a decision, event, or period of time that is very important because it can make something succeed or fail completelyCambridge English Dictionary
The specifics of your ‘Make-or-Break” situation could be very different from the next person’s. Some people battle health challenges, family challenges, financial challenges or ‘fill in the blank’ challenges.
David and I are very interested with the specific challenges of moving into a new culture as much of our work involves those hurdles. Jumping into a new country with so many things that are completely different from what I have been used to is difficult indeed. Perhaps learning a new language, local taboos, event v. clock time, roles and responsibilities, and very different cultural traditions are part of that learning curve. In Colorado there is an organization that specializes in helping to prepare people for moving into another culture. I was fascinated to learn recently of the value that they put on gratitude.
“The president of MTI has been studying missionary resilience, and one of the main make-or-break characteristics is gratitude.”
“So what is easy for you to give thanks for and what is difficult for you to give thanks for?” The question lingered in the air for a moment. It was easy to quickly give thanks for some helpful things that had happened recently. But choosing to give thanks for the frustrations and ‘out-of-my-comfort-zone’ things were harder. He started with the easy stuff.
- The sun was actually shining today and brightening things
- Although my head still hurt, it was manageable
- We were able to find a store in this new country and buy food
- God’s Word was truth and helpful in all cultures
- Our children are healthy so far
The list was just gaining momentum. Then the heavy thought of difficulties, frustrations and overwhelming challenges flooded his mind. Can I think thanks for that visa office, that septic smell, those empty grocery shelves, those staring eyes and people taking our pics with their phones? Give thanks for that yucky stuff???
When you have started a pattern to be looking for things to think thanks about, and expressing that thanks orally to God and to others, you are in a good rut. According to the president of MTI (Missionary Training International), you have begun to develop a ‘Make-or-Break’ habit that could make a huge, defining difference in your life. It could mean your growing success on the field, or concluding your ministry after less than one term.
Stress exposes what we are really trusting in. To go through a stressful time is not very pleasant, but it is revealing to discover where we go to cope. When we choose to invest in gratitude and deliberately develop and train ourselves towards th(i)nkfulness, we are building a good foundation that will hold when the blustery winds of adversity and struggle assail.
You could express your thanks orally to others or write it down, but in order for those beautiful fruits to be brought forth, you first have to cultivate that gratitude in your mind. It is a battle that takes place in your thinking. Will I choose to pursue and exercise gratitude, especially when I am overwhelmed and frustrated, and discouraged?
“The more we express our gratitude to God for our blessings, the more He will bring to our mind other blessings. The more we are aware of hidden gifts to be grateful for, the happier we become.”Ezra Taft Benson
Why not start today in developing gratitude? Set a goal of expressing something you are thankful for in the presence of another person and see how it affects them? See how it affects you. 🙂