Wednesday, December 1, 2010

From Worry To Thankfulness


Are you like me in that you are one who falls into worrying very easily? How much of your day do you spend worrying about, well, you name it. Money, health, relationships, your job, your family. As soon as we wake up in the morning our minds almost automatically go to worry and anxiety. "What will I do if?" "How will I cope when?" And the list goes on and on. Before we even get out of our comfy beds our minds are already caught in the drama of worry, and if we don't stop it worry will hold our mind hostage for the rest of the day. Worry can make us depressed and overly tired even if we are young and should be full of strength. Worry dims our outlook and fills up so much mental space that there is little room left for our dreams, aspirations and goals. There is little room for the Spirit of God to speak her words of truth an encouragement to us.

One way to counter worry and anxiety is by gratitude. When we stop and consciously think about the things we are thankful for, there is less room for worry and negativity to take hold. For example, I've had a pretty shitty day today, December 1st. I often let worry and anxiety get the best of me, to the point where I don't want to get out of bed. By the time that I do, anxiety has such a hold on me that I can barely hear the Spirit of God whispering words of encouragement and life to me. Thankfully, now that I'm up and around I am calming down and hearing that voice again, spurring me on to "step out of the boat" and walk on water like the disciple Peter.

Back to gratitude, though. It's hard to stay negative if you live a life of gratitude. It's easy to cultivate this, and only takes a minute or two. It can be done any time of the day. For example, here at the coffee shop I am thankful for many things. I am thankful for my sweater which is comfortable and is keeping me warm on a cold December night. I am thankful for my glasses by which I can see clearly. I am thankful for this coffee which is warming me up and pleasing my tastebuds. I am thankful for this comfy red chair that I am sitting on. I am thankful for the yellow Christmas lights on the tree outside the shop here, its limbs swaying in the wind. As I look around me at the other people in the café here, I marvel that no two people are exactly alike; in a world with billions of people, this is wondrous. You see how easy that was? And I was only listing things immediately present here at the coffee shop. During that whole time of listening off what I am thankful for, not a thought of worry or anxiety crept into my mind, it was too occupied with being grateful.

Let's try to raise our minds to a level of continuous gratitude and we'll see more peace and calm in our lives.