After growing based on focusing on simplicity in 2010 and embrace in 2011, I narrowed in on a specific aspect of mindset by choosing gratitude for 2012. I saw choosing gratitude as a step further than merely embracing all that came my way. I chose the word at a time when I was going to be finishing up my last doctoral courses and powering through my the rest of my dissertation process. I was finishing up an academic year as a teacher educator and trying to decide between making a permanent switch to teacher education and going back to a K-12 context and feeling completely torn. In that season of life, I was also trying to slow down and pay attention to the small things that brought me joy in my day to day life.
By focusing on gratitude, especially while navigating a season of transition (I went back to my K-12 context for the next school year, was pregnant with my 3rd baby and graduated from my doctoral program), I was able to recognize the power of choosing to see the good in where I was at in life. I also thought about how I was often worrying and living with a high level of stress unnecessarily.
Looking back, I can see how this all pointed towards strengthening a foundation to be able to focus on the present moment, rather than over-thinking the future, as well as being properly disposed to accept and surrender. One of the biggest pieces of my journey related to gratitude was in 2018 when a discernment process did not unfold as I perceived it was going to. Along the way, one of my prayers was, “Lord, open the doors you want to open, and help me to walk through. Close the doors you want to close, and help me to be grateful.” Nonetheless, when one dream was actually a closed door, I recognized that my efforts to focus on gratitude were followed up with caveats, such as, “I am grateful for ____, but ____ would have been better.” When I brought that tension to my spiritual director, he replied, “Gratitude is about being grateful for what is, not about what could be or should be.”
His words drew me deeper into growth, and I was able receive his words in a more powerful way because of how God had already been preparing my heart for years. The journey continues on as I am once again discerning certain layers of life, recognizing that my heart desires a certain outcome that may or may not come to fruition. I am trying to navigate the process of waiting by placing it in God’s hand without clinging or grasping to what I desire and instead trust in however it works out. Drawing on the foundation of the value of simplicity, I am able to strip away certain aspects of life in order to see what matters most at the core, in order keep other layers of life in proper focus. This helps me to see the abundance of blessings as life unfolds.
Copyright 2021 Amanda Villagómez // Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash