A Puppy, Worry and Finding Gratitude
Have you ever experienced missing out on a blessing right in front of you because you were too worried? Recently we got a puppy. Honestly, I wasn’t very excited about it. The thought of potty training and cleaning up after her created a lot of internal stress. I became consumed with worrying about all the things that could go wrong with having a puppy, and I was making my family miserable over it. I passive-aggressively made comments about how my work load increased while everyone else was smiling and having fun. I watched as they laughed and played with her.
I was missing out on the present blessings of laughter and joy with my family. Worry was blinding me of all I had to be grateful for.
The Problem with Worry
When worry gets out of control it can become a stronghold. Worry makes it difficult to see life’s blessings because the mind is filled with what-ifs and doubt. The focus is on everything that could go wrong, and it seems impossible to be thankful and to notice good things. Worry steals joy, peace and thankfulness, and replaces it with overthinking, stress and an uneasy heart. It has a blinding affect that keeps one from seeing the present blessings. This constant anxiety creates a spiral effect that is difficult to reverse. Where do you turn when worry has consumed you? The Bible is a great place to start.
Help From the Bible
Luke 22:24 is a great biblical example of worry stealing the present moment. The disciples were sitting with Jesus at the last supper and they began to argue about who among them would be the greatest in the coming kingdom. Their worry was causing them to miss what Jesus was teaching them, and to miss out on being present in His presence. These were the last hours of Jesus’s life before being crucified…precious moments that I am sure they didn’t want to miss! I wonder what precious moments you and I are missing out on because of worry.
So many of the things we worry about today won’t matter one bit twenty-years from now! But it is very likely we will regret the loss of being present in those lost moments.
A Valuable Skill to Increase Gratitude
Worrier’s have a valuable skill that can be leveraged to cultivate gratitude. That skill is the mastery of fixating on thoughts. Instead of using it to ruminate on worry thoughts, let’s turn that skill around and use it to our advantage. We can begin to find gratitude in our hearts by fixating on Christ and by focusing on the present blessings in our lives. God can transform us into new people by changing the way we think (Romans 12:2), but it requires us to take action. We can take action by pondering on what we are thankful for. This can seem like a sacrifice at times because it is difficult to feel thankful. But that is ok. Do it anyway.
“I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving.” Psalm 116:17
God Changed My Heart
It took God working in my heart for several weeks to turn my worry about the new puppy into gratitude. As I poured out my worry thoughts to Him, He replaced them with new thoughts…thankful thoughts that turned into gratitude for the puppy. My focus transformed from what could go wrong to what was right. Bella is the most adorable, floppy, uncoordinated German Shepherd puppy and she has brought laughter into our home. Sure I still have concerns, but those concerns are not controlling my attitude. Instead, I am enjoying the present blessings!
30 Days of Cultivating Gratitude in the Midst of Worry
To help us get started, I’ve created a “30 Days Cultivating Gratitude in the Midst of Worry” campaign that is launched Nov 1st. One new thankful thought a day to help decrease worry and increase gratitude. Cultivation takes time and there is no quick fix to breaking free from the stronghold of worry. It is like a bad habit that won’t go away. However, experts say that it takes 30 days to create a new habit. Today we can start defeating worry thoughts by increasing our thankfulness. We could be 30 days away from finding gratitude in the midst of worry and thanking ourselves out of the anxiety cycle!
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