Michelle Shumaker, a member of our Congregation Council, shared an interactive devotion last night about thanks-giving. I asked her permission to use it for today’s blog.
“It’s the season of thanks. Even Facebook says so, with those taking the challenge to list one thing each day that they are thankful for. God tells us to give thanks, even when we’re struggling. This isn’t the easiest thing to put into practice. It’s far more simple to thank God for all the good things in our lives.
Every day I see people at my office who are struggling with depression and anxiety, sometimes at debilitating levels. They often feel hopeless and have difficulty seeing that anything could possibly get better in their lives. So what do I do? I listen as they talk about their experiences. I validate their feelings. Then I tell them to start keeping a gratitude list. And that’s when I get the, “You’ve got to be kidding me” look. “My mom’s an alcoholic, my uncle molested me, my husband is divorcing me. What do I have to be grateful for?” I tell them to just do it every day until I see them the next time. Some are eager to try anything, others are skeptical, to say the least. But the majority come back and say they feel a little better.
In recent years, the American Psychological Association and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, among others, have published studies demonstrating that depressed people have started to feel more content after just a week of making a daily list of three to five things that happened each day for which they were grateful. It actually changes our brain chemistry. When we think about all that we have to be grateful for, even the smalls things, we start to appreciate what we have and feel more positive.
Albert Einstein said, ‘There are only two ways to life your life: one, is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle.’ God has wanted us to look at things this way for as long as we’ve been around.”
After Michelle read this we went around the table and each person shared something they were thankful for that day. So why don’t you stop for a moment and be thankful. Remember something that will pilot you through the day with a heart that is filled with gratitude. Thanks, Michelle.