Practicing Gratitude in 2021

Remembering the good in the midst of the chaos of 2020

For the past few months, I’ve been volunteering at my church to pass out food to the local community. In November, we passed out turkeys for Thanksgiving. In December, we passed out hams for Christmas.

At the last food drive, I had the chance to pray for people on their way out and some of the stories they shared were heart-breaking:

I never thought I’d ever be in this position.

I was the one passing out hams last year.

I can’t believe I collected unemployment.

My son has Covid and I’m scared.

Shame is what I saw on their faces as they told their story. Shame is what they carried with them on their shoulders. Shame is what I felt inside my heart because I understood where they were coming from.

I knew what it was like to be suddenly unemployed in 2020. It was scary and at first, I didn’t want to cash in my unemployment checks cuz it hurt my pride. But eventually, it got to a point where I needed to do it. And the shame I felt when I did was almost crippling.

And as I saw this sense of humiliation fill their faces, I told them that they had nothing to be ashamed of. Not in front me. I knew exactly what they were going through. I was one of them. But God brought me out of it and He will bring them out of theirs too. And when He does, our job is to remember this moment and share the blessings we receive. Not just physically, but spiritually as well.

Some of you might still be in the thick of it and I want to let you know that you’re not alone. I know what you’re going through and I’m rooting for you. I want you to know that I’m praying for you and if you want someone to talk to just email me at

There’s also a tool that I want to share with you that helped me to keep moving forward. But first, let’s call out 2020 for what it was.

2020 Was the Worst

To say that 2020 was a terrible year would be an understatement. It sucked and it sucked hard. For me specifically, I was:

  1. Unemployed

  2. Exhausted from applying and getting rejected to various jobs

  3. Lonely because staying at home was hard for me as an extrovert

  4. Frustrated because I couldn’t exercise well due to closed gyms (It’s one of my coping mechanisms)

  5. Sad I couldn’t see my brother’s family regularly

  6. Lost because I couldn’t find a church community for a long time

  7. Scared about my parents getting COVID

  8. Disheartened because a relationship ended early in the year

  9. And the list goes on and on…

I’m sure you some of these things sound familiar and maybe you have even worse ones on your list. But in the midst of all this chaos, there is one thing I want you to practice: Gratitude.

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Practicing Gratitude

There are many things to be grateful for and practicing gratitude is a powerful tool. It helps put things in perspective. It helps you not get overwhelmed by negativity. It combats hopelessness and depression.

Gratitude is also a skill. It’s something we can cultivate and it’s important that we do because we as humans are a forgetful species. We remember the negative and painful things more than we remember the good things.

One great way to practice gratitude is to keep a list. For example, here’s a snippet of mine.

I’m grateful that:

  1. I got closer to my parents

  2. I eventually got plugged into a church community

  3. I got a job

  4. I discovered kdramas on Netflix

  5. I have a roof over my head

  6. I have friends who care for me

  7. I met new friends

  8. My parents are healthy

  9. I have food on the table

  10. I get to spend eternity with God after this life

  11. And this list can go on and on…

So as we go into 2021 and you find yourself in the midst of massive carry overs of 2020, I encourage you to practice gratitude. Remind yourself of all the blessings in your life. Remind yourself of all the things you have instead of the things you don’t. Remind yourself that God is good. Because there are many things to be grateful for.

UPDATE: I’m sure you’ve noticed but I wanted to apologize for not sending out emails the past couple of weeks. Work has been crazy this past month and it’s been difficult to find the time to sit, think, and write. Also, I’m not sure I can commit to weekly emails anymore. But that doesn’t mean I’m stopping Heem completely! It’s just that it’ll be less frequent and when I have a time to really push out something I think is meaningful. Thank you in advance for understanding. 🙏🙏🙏

Also if there’s any topics in particular you want me to talk about, email me at!

Share With Heem

  1. What are you grateful for in 2020? Make a list of at least 10 things.

  2. What differences do you notice after practicing gratitude?

  3. If there’s a person in particular you’re grateful for, tell them.