It's Thankful Thursday today, but instead of making gratitude lists, I'd like to do something different. I've been writing on this topic for at least six years now (I started with a different blog), and I'd like to highlight the changes in my life, since gratitude took root.
~ I worry far less. I think worrying is an unfortunate characteristic of conscientious people. If you knew me in real life, you would easily describe me as conscientious. I try hard. I fail often, but I try hard. My worry-wort tendency is no longer a dominant factor in my life. Any worrying I do now is short-lived, relieved by gratitude thoughts, writing out my thoughts here on the blog, and recalling memorized Scripture. I recognize the folly--the sin, really--of worry, fairly quickly, whereas before I let it have free reign, allowing it to quickly snowball into anxiety.
~ I am more content, and could actually describe myself as very happy (okay well, except for those hormones). Even though many a post may sound melancholy, remember that as I write, I am dumping my melancholy, my self-absorbedness, for something better: gratitude, the peace of Christ. As I dump my sin, I embrace the gracious God who's already forgiven me. While dumping personal issues can seem indiscreet, the opposite, an extreme reserve, can be unhealthy for the person clinging to all their issues in the interest of dignity. That's not to say they can't be dumped at the Lord's feet, bypassing any other audience. For me, writing is a way to get in touch with my feelings, enabling me to then dump them.
Writing for an audience forces me toward greater clarity, which is a mental discipline I don't otherwise pursue. I would say that understanding ourselves, and thereby acknowledging our sins, is Holy Spirit driven, but quickened by our cooperation. Once I am free of the "baggage", gratitude floods my heart and mind. Our sins are a barrier to gratitude.
~ I see God's hand in my life. It is easier to submit to His will when I can easily recall His acts of graciousness and love toward me and others. Gratitude reminds me that God is faithful and powerful, able to handle all the details of my life.
~ I don't play the comparison game. Though others may seem to have an easier life than me, I quickly reject any comparison because of a fundamental belief that I am truly blessed by God, that my life displays his grace and goodness. Taking a regular account of blessings has given me that foundational belief--that I am blessed.
~ I can be a servant. Whereas before I attended more to what I wanted for my life, I now attend more to what God's wants, enabling me to embrace servanthood more. Knowing how he has blessed me allows me to yield to Him in my daily duties and in any additional duties.
How long have you been counting your blessings, and how has it changed you?