The rescuing power of gratitude

“Mercies and blessings come in different forms–sometimes as hard things. Yet the Lord said, ‘Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things’ (D&C 59:7). All things means just that: good things, difficult things–not just some things. He has commanded us to be grateful because He knows being grateful will make us happy. This is another evidence of His love.”  –Bonnie D. Parkin, “Gratitude: A Path to Happiness,” Ensign, May 2007, 35

I have a problem where I internalize news stories a little too much and get so disturbed that I almost lose my faith in humanity.  (I know, I know, stop reading the news!)  Last night, I went to bed after reading a news item that gnawed at my guts.  Even though it was late and I was very tired, I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  I felt sad and shocked and discouraged and horrible sympathy and a little anger and, basically, I felt heavy and sick to my stomach.  As I lay there feeling gross, this thought popped into my mind:  Count your blessings.

So I did.  I began deliberately focusing on gratitude— for Matt’s job, our home, warmth, a roof, three sleeping children, good health, the list went on . . .

This exercise literally began to heal me.  I felt a warmth come over me, a sense of peace and well-being, and a little insight into Heavenly Father’s acute awareness of me and people in the news.  And even though I couldn’t make sense of it, I knew it was all okay, and He is in charge, and people are cared for in ways we don’t see or expect or even understand.  My whole body and mind relaxed, and I was able to drift off to sleep.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done. . . .

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

What better time than the week of Thanskgiving to reflect on all we’ve been given?  And it’s always a good time to be healed, rescued, and made glad.

(If you haven’t entered in the Adventures with FHE giveaway, there’s still time until Sunday night.)

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12 thoughts on “The rescuing power of gratitude

  1. Did you know I started a new medicine two days ago, have had six combined hours of sleep in the last 52 hours, have a migraine that just won’t stop, AND my babies are doing the whole “maturation program” at school today, and my little teenager has a quiz on STD’s today so I’m feeling a little bit like it’s me and my little girls against the world that seems out of focus and is making them grow up too fast? (And I also seem to be having a problem with run-on sentences.)

    Because it sort of seems like you knew all that so you could remind me who is in charge and all that I have to be grateful for. Thanks. 🙂

    (Deep cleansing breath.)

  2. I went through a period, several years ago, where I couldn’t read the news at all. It would send my anxiety through the roof, and I would think of every bad thing that could possibly happen to us.

    I love this idea. It’s something I need to do more of.

  3. I love that quote from Sis. Parkin. I really felt like I had grown-up and matured when I could look at my trials and find things to be thankful for. Careful reflection helped me to see that even in the midst of turmoil and overwhelming stress, the Lord had been manifesting his presence in my life–kind, thoughful friends; inspired priesthood blessings; scriptures that seemed to have been written just for me; and on some days, just the ability to get out of bed and face it all again. As I get some distance from the harder experiences of my life, I really do feel gratitude for them, not that I would wish to experience them all over again, but because of how I see that they have helped me to grow and become better. Stopping to count my blessings, whether times are good or bad, seems to be an instant mood lifter. I need to do it more often. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. I read a disturbing news story the other day and it totally made me sick to my stomach and put me in a bad mood. I can’t remember what snapped me out of it, but I’ll remember this for next time!

  5. What a great suggestion. I have been having more frequent problems of not getting to sleep at night, worrying about things. Maybe this solution would work for me as well.

  6. What a beautiful reminder, Stephanie. So much of this world is broken and the realization that we can’t fix all that is wrong with it can be shattering. But there is room for the healing you describe. We can’t fix the world, but we can fix ourselves.

  7. I watch Glenn Beck on tv and as he explains how we are losing our freedoms and becoming a Socialist country and that the Constitution is literally hanging by the slimmest of threads, it upsets me no end. I think of all kinds of threats to our wonderful, blessed, beautiful and free way of life.

    Our children will live a very different life than we have. We have saddled them with an unimaginably high debt to pay. How will they ever do it? The worst depression ever is just starting.

    I can only leave it in God’s capable hands

  8. Yesterday was one of those tempest-tossed days for me. I can see now why I didn’t have time to read this post until right now. It’s helping me heal and let go of yesterday. I almost didn’t want to go to church today, because I knew it would be filled with gratitude, and I didn’t feel grateful for anything yesterday! But gratitude is exactly what I need right now! Today’s a new day. Thanks.

  9. I learned some years ago that gratitude is essential to mental and spiritual health. It is absolutely NOT optional baggage. If you are going to continue on this trek called mortality, gratitude absolutely MUST be the first thing you pack.

  10. Some days I can hardly believe what is on the news.

    It is so reassuring to remember that “God is over all”. And stopping to count our blessings is always so helpful. This is the perfect week to remember.

  11. This is great food for thought. I want to know what’s going on with around me so I can pray and be grateful but not let hide from it or let it increase the anxiety in my life.

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