This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
There is this gratitude thing going around. You read about it on a lot of different blogs nowadays. Ann Voskamp and her 1,000 Gifts is an example. The idea seems to be that if you find enough things to be grateful for, you'll be happier - or at least, more content. Michael Hyatt talks about it on his blog. There are many, many others. It almost seems to be the latest fad.
I learned the gratitude concept back when I was in graduate school. It was something we'd pull out of our bag of tricks and use with depressed clients.
To be honest, I never saw it work very well. Most folks were half-hearted about it at best.
So ... I was skeptical about the whole deal as I saw more and more people jump on board.
Then, I tried it.
No, it doesn't change your situation. But it sure changes how you see things. It sounds corny. Hokey even. But it works. And I think it works because we are thanking God for providing for us.
I know this from a psychological standpoint. Your mind can't hold two thoughts at exactly the same time. What you choose to focus on is what fills your mind.
I'm slowly moving forward with my own list of 1,000 gifts. I belong to an online chronic pain support group where I lead a small discussion board for folks who are heading toward their own list of 1,000 gifts.
There is an iPhone app (free last I looked) that allows you to either write down your gifts, or snap pictures of them. You can go to Ann's site and join up with others who are looking for all that God has gifted them with. It's probably never been easier to express your gratitude and acknowledge the good God still does in our lives.
Yes, there are many, many painful downsides to living with chronic pain and chronic illnesses. Yet, if we focus on those downsides, we come to expect them. We look for them. We might magnify them until our whole world consists of the painful parts of our lives.
Now, I'm not gonna pretend that making a list of things you are grateful for will make things all better. I'm not that naive. However, I do know (from experience) that choosing to look for the good, for the gifts God has given us, changes things. Changes us.
How much nicer to wake up with the thought wondering what good God has in store for us, rather than looking for confirmation that ours is indeed a miserable life.
In either case, we will find what we look for.
Which sounds better to you?
Father God, Thank you for the many, many faithful bloggers who share their wisdom with us and encourage us to look for the good in this life. I appreciate each and every one who shares the good they are finding in a life that could otherwise be lived in sorrow and pain. Amen and amen.
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