While sipping coffee in front of our blazing fireplace this morning, I ran through a mental to-do list for Christmas. Except that my list was more of a can’t-possibly-get-it-all-done-in-time list—which caused me to feel overwhelmed. And it was only 7:30 a.m.—not exactly a great start to my day.
This kind of thinking wears us down. It can snowball into dreading the entire Christmas season. And, if you’re honest, it’s happened to you. Maybe as recently as this morning.
So how do we find the positive note in a chorus of heavy, oppressing stanzas? For me, it starts with my Thankful List.
During our unemployment, my family and I faced one difficulty after another, and it was easy to feel overwhelmed and defeated. It occurred to me that the way to counter a negative thought is by deliberately thinking a positive thought. Positive thoughts energize us and can propel us into action while negative thoughts weigh us down and can stop us from accomplishing things.
Deliberately counter a negative thought with a positive thought
That was the beginning of my Thankful List. I identified ten things that were going right in my life. Admittedly, there were many days when “I am still breathing” was the first item on my list. I decided that I would not get out of bed until I came up with ten things for which I was sincerely thankful—and in doing so, I recognized that each one was provided not by me but by God. By being aware of the good things in my life, the things that overwhelmed me lost their power.
Sometimes our thankfulness has to begin with “I am still breathing”
So, this morning, when I began to feel overwhelmed and discouraged that Christmas is just days away and my to-do list is too-big, I did my mental Thankful List:
I am thankful for:
- The cozy and cheerful fire in our fireplace and my hot cup of fresh coffee. (Yes, technically these are two things, but I’m counting it as one).
- My husband.
- My children.
- The good health that my husband, children, and I enjoy.
- My husband’s job. (I know what it’s like to have no job or income).
- Our house. (Remember, I’ve been through homelessness).
- The wonderful gift of being able to speak to God about everything!
- The fact that it’s still early in the morning and I can get a lot of things accomplished today.
- I can stay inside today and not have to drive on the icy roads.
- My devotional book—Jesus Calling by Sarah Young—and its passage that helped me focus on the One who makes all things possible.
Take a minute and come up with your own list of ten things that are going right in your life. Then give praise to the Lord for each of these blessings.
There, don’t you feel much better?
Now, let’s both start accomplishing things so our to-do list gets shorter.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 (NIV)
To God be the Glory