teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name... psalm 86:11

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

reflections on september...

I tend to be anxiety prone… it’s ridiculous really… this moment of panic, of feeling like the time is ticking and I still have some big task to complete before that last grain of sand falls to the bottom of the hour glass. It’s completely unfounded and ridiculous, I realize… but it’s how my mind has always worked. There are two moments that get me the most- the first one is New Year’s Eve. As everyone is counting down 10-9-8… I inevitably have a momentary heart attack from feeling like I forgot something and it’s soon going to be too late. The other is my birthday, where I always feel like there was something else I should have accomplished before I add another candle to my cake, but I can never quite put my finger on it. Like I said… ridiculous.

This year, I made a tangible list I could cross off as I go… and I wanted to start the year off with something other than anxiety… hence, the September Challenge. They say that it takes 21 days to form a habit- so after 30 days, I was really hoping I would have conquered this whole “give thanks in all circumstances” thing. Now that I’m on the other side, I wouldn’t say that I’m a pro at being grateful or anything… but I did learn a few things along the way. It’s nothing profound, just lessons that take root a little deeper when you’ve experienced them firsthand…

  • sometimes the things we SHOULD be most grateful for are the things we take for granted because they’re always there and we just get used to their presence
  • every good and perfect gift is from God… not from coincidence or from good luck… but from our gracious Creator who knows what we need and when we need it
  • writing every day what you’re thankful for can be addicting… and contagious… and severely alters your prayer life
  • being thankful for a crockpot is no less holy than being thankful for a good sermon…

Some days I had to really stop and reflect on the day to wrestle up three things I could write in my journal… but other days, there were too many to count. Our perspective of blessing is an ebb and flow, a constant give and take. The overall message reiterated to my heart, though, was that whether in plenty or in want, there is always… and I do mean always… something to be thankful for. God’s extravagant love and his crazy abundant grace should alone be enough to fill our hearts for a lifetime of gratefulness.

Perspective is a choice no one else can make for us… gratitude isn’t an automatic response- we’re more prone to react with jealousy, comparison, selfishness… but like one of my favorite quotes says: “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it.” May we learn to “water” our lot in life and cultivate a perspective of appreciation. May we get to a place of saying, “My cup runneth over”… because if we stop and think about it, we really do have more than we could ever need.


  1. I loved this and really needed it today!

  2. Love it when we get a timely word... so glad we can all be an encouragement to each other! :)

  3. Hi Denise,

    This is beautifully and wonderfully true... I kept nodding my head "yes" as I read your post. I really like the quote about the grass...I will have to try to remember that one.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.


  4. Enjoyed your reflections on gratitude and the grass quote. Haven't heard that one! I have enjoyed this discipline as well, it changes how you see everything. Thanks for visiting my blog earlier this week. Glad I found yours today!