Several weeks ago my husband challenged me to change my thinking. He asked that whenever I get worried about something that instead of sitting in the fear that I turn it to thanks. For example, if I was worried about finances I would recognize the worry and then thank God for providing for our family and for His abundance.
I fought doing this. Like crazy.
I wanted to sit in my worry — because I knew all the answers, right? And slowly, I found that instead of trusting I was becoming a bit pessimistic. And this, my friends, goes against my nature. So Todd, my husband, asked me again to praise whenever I was fearful.
I fought doing this. Again.
So I’d find myself awake at 2am while the rest of my family slept. Then when I’d awake, I’d be crabby — fearful. I’d storm around the house, muttering my dissatisfaction with everything — thus creating such a mood of discontent.
Then finally, I decided to try.
When anxiety welled up inside — health, or how to afford homeschool supplies, or job ops, or more — I just praised. I thanked our Father for what He has already provided and what will be provided. And gradually, I felt the robes of fear begin to fall off. I was looking at my plans, my agendas, my goals and was becoming discontent when they weren’t what I expected. Or wanted. I had been comparing myself and thus losing my contentment.
Until those days of thanks.
I had been so full of self and my own wants that I forgot to see what I was blessed with. Even though things might not be what I always imagined, I am still greatly blessed. I have a home, wonderful children, a faithful husband, food on my table, good health, a husband in remission, great neighbors, excellent friends, freedom to worship, freedom to homeschool — how could I forget all these?
I had forgotten because I forgot the need to be grateful.
Today, can I challenge you to post a comment of one thing that you are grateful for? Perhaps it is even simply blogger — there is great freedom in our ability to express ourselves. This a freedom that many do not have. Or for your health. Or your kids. Or your spouse. Or our country. Whatever it is — give thanks.
And I pray, that your words and ponderings about gratitude will fill your day with joy.
Hmmm, my family does something similar, but instead of thanking, it would be blessing the trouble. For instance, if some person was creating trouble for our family, we would say “Bless so and so…” It really helps you focus and let go of so much anger – if you can concentrate.
Just one thing?! Ok, I am thankful for QUIET. I am saying that, because a quiet house has been causing me anxiety, with my kids leaving the nest. So I am going to say I’m thankful for the QUIET. Because I know He will show me in the days to come that this is a blessing, and He has plans for my days.
What a wonderful husband you have to direct your thoughts this way…
I am thankful tonight for another day of communing with the Lord, feeling His presence, and having my needs met….
I’m thankful for you. I don’t comment often as time is limited over here sometimes but your posts make me think and they just make me happy. Your faith and love for God and your family are inspiring and encouraging! Thank you!
I am also so thankful for my son who, today wore me out thin and who is still fighting going to sleep. Who peed his pants at least 3 times and who’s smile melts me into a puddle of ooie gooie Mommy love. He is mine, he is a gift and I thank God for all my days with him!
Rachel – this post is really convicting! I’m going to make a conscious effort to turn my worries into thanks too. What a great attitude adjustment.
My biggest worry is usually my daughter who has diabetes. I frequently worry about her blood sugars and it bugs her when I ask. I need to give this over to God and give thanks for how well she does with this.
I am thankful for so many things. I am thankful that my parents stopped by today and saw what the girls and I are doing and my dad told me that they are behind me 100%! I am thankful that last night when I prayed, I asked Jesus to take the wheel in a big decision and I woke up with the words I needed. I am so thankful that my days with my girls won’t end the day after Labor Day and that my boss is willing to work with me on a schedule so that I can homeschool my girls.
What a beautiful post. You have a wonderful husband who points you back tot he Lord.
I am thankful that there is a sun to shine and keep our planet warm.
I am thankful for the wonderful people at our church who built Martin a sand box! The smile on his face was just wonderful…
It really is amazing how the Lord changes our perspective when we choose to view our situation with thankfulness and gratitude. We ALWAYS have something to be thankful for.
Thank you for this wonderful, inspiring post. In the midst of our crazy traveling schedule, I needed to be reminded to thank God for the wonderful opportunity of spending so much time with my precious family.
I’ve been counting my blessings/gifts with the Gratitude Community at Holy Experience, and that exercise has really helped me see God’s blessings in the everyday things.
I’m thankful that a friend sent me a pic of herself today. May not sound like a big deal, but it was huge for her! I felt so blessed that she trusted me to be the only one she sent it to…then the day went down the drain……..
What comfort these words give! Praying!
John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
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I’m so thankful for this post–and for finding your blog; it’s so inspiring to me. When I am in a difficult situation, I find that thanking God for something that has to do with that situation changes my perspective and attitude.
A simple one as an example would be I’m anxious/mad, etc. about having a chronic illness–but I am thankful for good medical care. I am mad we spend so much money on medication but I am thankful for those medications–that I can have them and that they help a lot–that kind of thing.
So to answer your challenge–I am grateful for all the things you listed–but I am most thankful that the Lord still loves and forgives and guides and protects me even when I’ve messed up by having a bad attitude or not doing something I know He wants me to do.
It makes me rely on Him more in order to please Him more, so it makes me grow in our relationship more–and I so need that.
IT definitely can be hard to choose an attitude of gratitude. With chronic pain I sometimes have those days where I need to just choose it no matter what…
I am thankful for my family and friends who are always there for me and always listen.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful post!
Rachel, I can completely relate. I am usually an optimistic person, but when I become weighed down by anxiety, I get irritable and not myself. And it’s something I struggle with off and on.
I joined the Gratitude Community with Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience not too long ago to count my blessings. I worry about my kids’ health, the economy, changes in our life, etc. Like you, I wanted to be intentional about praise, and I’m thankful for Ann’s community because it reminds me to be looking for it constantly. Blessings to you!
I have been trying to do this same thing recently and I can say it has made a huge difference in my mood. One thing I am most thankful for…a godly husband! Hope you have a great day!
I had thought of being thankful when discontent or having a bad attitude, but not when worried – that put a whole new (much needed) spin on things!
I”m thankful for abundant provision in my life, the health of my hubby and children, a hubby who loves me as I am, a porch in our backyard after 5 years of no shade, a wonderful church, and blueberries on sale. 😉
Hey, you used my dandelion pic. Sweetness. I’m thankful for, can you guess? YOU, momma! Love you!
X’s and O’s and all that,
I am thankful for many things. I am so thankful that His mercies are new every morning, Great is His faithfulness!!!
I’m thankful for my parents, who always lead me in the right direction, even when I don’t want to listen. I’m thankful for God’s love – even when the rest of the world turns their back on me, HE DOESN’T. I’m thankful for my family and friends, who always make me laugh and feel just a little lighter. I’m thankful for all the lovely bloggers, including you Rachel, who encourage me on a daily basis. And I’m thankful for all the BEAUTY in God’s creation.
I think that’s a bit more then one… 🙂
I am thankful for you and your BLOG full of encouragement, grace, and inspiration. I always learn something when I visit you. Thank you Rachel.
I’m thankful that I read this blog this morning when I was tired and headed for a very “Woe is me” kind of day. I am now reminded that I am a very blessed woman.
I have a wonderful husband, three healthy children, a great family, a place to live, food to eat, and I live in a country where it’s not against the law to read the Bible or worship the Lord.
Oh, I could go on and on. And as the day goes on, and I am tempted to fall into worry or ungratefulness, I will instead praise Him and remember all that He has blessed me with.
Thank you for the reminder.
I absolutely love this! As a kid my parents would always remind us to start our prayers out with thanksgiving, even if we were in desperate need of a touch from Him. That has stuck with me my whole life, so quick we are to run to him, fall on our knees and beg and plead – forgetting that even if He never did another thing for us, it would still be enough.
I’m thankful that my need is only limited by His supply, and not by my own admittance or determination!
This concept is something we need to instill into the hearts of our young people, and this is a great reminder that it needs to start now.