“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Sitting on the edge of my bed, I am establishing a morning habit of thinking of five things for which I am grateful, without repeating. Oh, this is easy, I thought to myself. I have much for which to be thankful. So day one, I thought, “Okay, God, You are my number one “grateful” card, so I will play it first and then cannot use that card again. It is a given.”
Then, of course, the next grateful card would be my husband. My family came next, and I continued down the line with the names of loved ones and friends and roof over my head, a car to get us to church. Then I counted all the ways I am thankful for my church and its staff who make certain the flock is fed and tended.
After the family, friend, and church cards were played, I began to think through the duties and appointments for each day and was grateful for doctors, dentists and physical therapists, Starbucks, and Dutch Bros, of course.
Ok, now what. I am grateful for air to breathe, rain to water the earth, my pets, and neighbors etc.
All the “normal” stuff I have already processed. Now I have to think. Hmmm… my health is good (although there are age-related aches, pains, and issues.) My mind switches to the need to be praying for the ones who aren’t as healthy, and for those who have had to endure loss.
My focus had switched to considering the needs of my family and friends, so I pulled my mind back to my goal of first giving thanks. Being thankful, however, was becoming a challenge, so I purchased a “Gratitude Journal” to help focus my heart on being grateful. He is teaching me to pray—beginning with thanksgiving.
As I dig deeper past anxiety over personal situations, I am reminded of Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6 NIV).
Has anxiety robbed me of my thankful, joyful heart? A cheerful, thankful heart does good like a medicine, right? Perhaps it is even a cure for anxiety!
“Thank You, Father, for bringing me back to the reality that I have all I need to combat anxiety because as I focus on Your goodness, my heart will be full of thanksgiving. My desire is to delight You, Lord, so I will continue to cultivate a thankful heart.”