By Micha Kandal

Friends, 

Today, I encourage you to think about why this day is good, whatever “good” means to you—whether it be joy or contentment or simply an extra moment to breathe. I encourage you to do this because I don’t think we reflect on this often enough. I want you to know that my intention isn’t to give you another box to check off of your to-do list, or for this question to serve as a median of conviction. My intention is just a reminder, one that has changed my view on what’s good and how there is such truth and power in recognizing the good things. 

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with Samantha (dear friend and roommate), and I’m still thinking about it. Maybe it’s because I overanalyze all things, but this spontaneous conversation was too real not to share. It began with me venting all of my frustration, about my life and specifically how it doesn’t look like I thought it would at this point in time. I was justifying why I thought it was okay to be annoyed with God and why I thought I had the right to essentially demand the changes I thought I wanted. I’ve been in this season of waiting, a season I’m very familiar with—waiting to graduate, for a relationship, for connections with administrators for job offers, for fall to actually get here, to feel content. A considerable amount of waiting. 

(To compliment this season with my negative attitude, I was also treating my relationship with God like a formula. I was praying prayers of contentment and reading scripture that seemed like it applied to seasons of waiting, yet I woke up each day more frustrated and discouraged.)

It was after my rant that Sam asked, “Why don’t you just focus on something else? What if instead of thinking about what you don’t have or what you want, you focus on being thankful.” 

Mind blown. 

This idea didn’t even cross my mind. Yet Jesus directly spoke through Sam in that spontaneous-angst-filled conversation to open my eyes. I love when He does that. As a black and white thinker, those clear concise moments of instruction are total blessings, ones I rarely deserve.

So moving forward, in the weeks following that conversation, I began writing down why I was grateful. Having no idea where to even begin, my observations of gratitude varied from “thanks for coffee” to “God you are SO good, and the ways you provided for me in that random moment completely blows me away.” 

I also started reading Psalm 143, specifically meditating on verses 4 & 5 which says, “So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within is dismayed. I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.” 

The combination of spending intentional time in scripture and honestly praying what I was actually feeling, resulted in a change that shifted my heart. My relationship with God started to feel more like an actual relationship. I began to subtly notice the shift of my thoughts and how dwelling on the wants and desires became less. Slowly, seeing the joy in the mundane and noticing things to celebrate each day became easier and more life-giving. 

Along with this change, comes my new responsibility in my relationship with God. A responsibility that requires honest conversations and moments of listening. Since I started this habit of being aware of what I’m grateful for, I have experienced true and genuine joy. I know this isn’t a coincidence because 1.) I don’t believe in those, and 2.) I’m still in a season of waiting, for all of the same things I mentioned before. God has completely transformed my way of viewing each day, simply because I let Him. I’m still learning how to see the beauty in everyday, but I’m also learning to love searching for it. 

I encourage you to look for the beauty, the good, the things to be grateful for. It might be the hardest thing you’ve done this year, or maybe it’s just a new perspective to use. Regardless of your circumstances, I encourage you to do your own searching for the beauty and for the things to be grateful for. I ask you this because I believe with my whole heart that your joy is waiting. 

Humbled and still learning, 

Micha