This week I have truly learned the importance of gratitude. It sounds cliche, as this week is Thanksgiving and all, but gratitude seriously is so crucial to being happy. I have experienced that as we allow ourselves to become ungrateful, we stop noticing all the wonderful, positive things that are happening in our lives. If we look for the negative in life, we will surely find it, because it is always there. There is always something to complain about, but where does that get you? It just brings sorrow and discouragement. Optimism, hope, and gratitude, however, bring joy, love, and hope for the future. In the Book of Mormon it says, "Behold, this is joy which none receiveth, save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness" (Alma 27: 18). Happiness does not always just come to us, we have to look for it. As we take the time to notice the blessings that we receive and the things we are thankful for, the things that we do not have or are upset about will seem less important.
We had a really special lesson this week with a less-active man we've been teaching regularly for the past 2 months. He struggles with a lot of things, including depression and anxiety, and he truly has been growing and changing so much. We had the lesson in a member's home, and it was so powerful. We talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ, or the path that we have been given to follow in order to return to our Heavenly Father. As we were teaching, I felt such inexplicable love for this person. Someone who, if I had seen on the street, would have probably immediately judged and not thought much of. But, I really have been able to learn to see him as a child of God, as someone who is special and needs to feel that Jesus Christ is there for him. His faith is amazing, and I'm grateful for the time I've had to get to see that. During the lesson, the Spirit was very strong and everyone could feel it. God loves us all so much and He wants nothing more than to bless us. But, because He loves us so much, He gives us our freedom to make our own decisions. As we turn to Him, we become happier and understand our purpose. Heavenly Father is loving and simply asks us to do our best to change and become better each day. He is perfectly patient with our frailties and gave us Jesus Christ in order to be able to overcome them. I am grateful for the knowledge that I am a daughter of God, and that He knows me individually and personally. I can talk to Him through prayer whenever and wherever I want and He answers. It may not always be in the ways or at the times I expect, but He does answer. I hope we all can strive to come closer to Him each day and thank Him for all the many blessings we have received. I'm grateful for the continued support of friends and family and hope you are all doing well!