Worry can consume us. It happens without us even realizing it. We are fine, moving forward, and BAM – it hits us. We can often worry about things which we have no control. I find that is most often the case. If I could control it, I would. But since it is out of my control, my next progression is to worry. Even those times when I tell myself I will not worry about something, it creeps in. It is in the back of my mind. It shows up in my sleep. Before I know it, I feel it in my body. It tires us out. It drains our mental energy. Most of all, it steals our joy.
It would be easy to just say – stop worrying. That isn’t helpful. I also hear that worrying is a lack of faith. That is also not helpful – it can just make someone worry about not having enough faith. It is difficult to “give it to God” because it is something we cannot control. It seeps back in as soon as we give it up. But what about gratitude?
Gratitude seems to begin to change things – even if it is ever so slight. When we begin to remind ourselves of the things which we are grateful, it causes us to change our view. We begin to seek the good. Joy seems to fill our hearts despite our circumstances. Don’t get me wrong – it is not a quick fix. It is also not the absolute answer to everything. But there is something about gratitude which causes us to shift – to experience life differently. Maybe that’s why Paul writes for us to give thanks in all circumstances. It isn’t so much we give thanks FOR the circumstance. Rather, it is a way of redirecting our thoughts away from the circumstance that is consuming us. Maybe the key to battling worry is gratefulness. Is there something you can live grateful for today?
I Thessalonians 5
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.