November 4: Gratitude Week 1

When The Blood Pressure Rises

At Sonlight we try to instill a great sense of gratitude in our staff and campers.  On a typical summer day this is heard as the dish crew receives a shout-out from another staffer walking by, as we say grace before a meal or as the cooks are thanked for a great meal.  In the winter this looks like the prayers of gratitude for our summer staff who filled our woodsheds.  With each armload of firewood, we thank God for their summer labors that keeps the Lodge and our homes warm in the winter. 

It is so easy to look at the struggles and hardships surrounding us and start drowning in the details that complicate our lives. Some days, the hard things are staring us in the face, raising our blood pressure and interrupting our sleep.  They steal our joy and disrupt our peace.  But the Apostle Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:13: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

I’ll be honest, this one is so much easier said than done.  I want to sit down with Paul and vent.  “Paul! Do you know what my life and our world looks like right now? Do you know what is going on here?  Do you understand how hard this is?”  But Paul spent much of his life in circumstances much worse than mine (think nasty jails, shipwrecked on islands, and beaten for his beliefs) so he has some credibility and his advice is straightforward. 

Don’t be anxious, look to God and present your requests with gratitude.

When the world starts swirling, your head starts aching and your blood pressure starts rising, I challenge you to stop and acknowledge those things that are of benefit or blessing to you.  If you’re in a space with your hands free, write them down.  If not, quiet thoughts are just as effective.  Refocus your mind and welcome back the Peace that passes all understanding that comes only through Christ Jesus.



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