Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
As we enter this time of Lent, let us keep in mind that counting our blessings can actually make us feel better. While that sounds simplistic, gratitude is a demanding complex emotion that requires self-reflection, the ability to admit our dependency on the help of others, and the humility of recognizing our own limitations.
Being grateful causes us to overcome the tendency to dwell on problems, annoyances, and grievances rather than more pleasant encounters. Focusing on blessings can help ward off depression and build resilience in times of stress, grief, and the uncertainty caused by COVID-19. The ability to be positive is about 50% genetic according to some studies, and the rest is determined by experience. In large measure, we can choose how we respond to the world. If we look for reasons to be grateful, we are more likely to find them. Rather than reflecting on negatives, recalling those who have touched you in positive ways can bring more energy, more optimism, more social connections, and more of a sense of wellbeing.
I keep close at hand a paragraph that I find encouraging and sustaining.
I believe God hears our prayers and cherishes them. I believe He answers by sending his Spirit, giving us strength, peace, and insight. Sometimes the answer to our prayer is “this is life in all its variety. Make your way through it and never forget I love you.”
Prayer: Our Father, we gratefully acknowledge that you have been faithful to us, and we have thankful hearts for your many blessings. You have assured us of your love and saving grace, and that brings us comfort. In Christ’s name, we pray.