The Surprising Rewards of Counting Your Blessings
Feeling unsettled or anxious? Is it blocking your ability to hear from God? Try this method for shifting your focus and opening your heart to hear from God.
For weeks I had felt off-kilter. Nothing obvious was wrong, but I felt unsettled and out of sorts. I just couldn’t find my equilibrium. God’s voice was nowhere to be found. All I could sense was my inner anxiety at who-knew-what. I couldn’t even identify the culprit.
Then I remembered I had not counted my blessings in a while. I pulled out my gratitude journal. It had been weeks since I had written down what I was thankful for!
Why not? I thought. It wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.
I jotted down three thanksgivings. What flowed from my pen was not at all what I thought was in my mind. My own notes surprised me. I sat there looking at my list, recognizing I had finally quieted my soul long enough to hear from God.
The thing is, God knew this all along. The Bible is replete with encouragement to be thankful, and the point isn’t just so we’ll feel better. The apostle Paul had a thing or two (or three!) to say about this. The bold is mine:
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17 ESV)
Centuries earlier, the psalmist penned words pointing people’s hearts to God, reminding them of all that God had done for them:
1 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
4 Seek the LORD and his strength;
seek his presence continually! (Psalm 105:1-4 ESV)
When we count our blessings, we refocus on what God has given us. If we are quiet long enough, we might be surprised at what God brings to mind as a thanksgiving, and in this way, we allow God to speak into our lives.
What is one blessing that comes to your mind right now?
Digging Deeper: Counting Your Blessings
Treasure this time with the Lord. Reflect on or journal about the following questions, listening for what God has to say to you.
1. What clouds your countenance? How could counting your blessings help you not to second guess or panic in those dark, quiet moments? (Many thanks to my Facebook friend, Heather, who stated this as a goal for the coming year. It’s a good goal, isn’t it?)
2. Look back at the Bible passages in today’s devotion. What is the focus of the thanksgiving encouraged in these verses? Why does that matter?
3. Go ahead and count your blessings! Find a notebook or use an app and list 3 or more things you are thankful for. Some days, these will come easy. Some days, you will have to strain to find them. Listen for what God brings to your mind and pay attention to any that surprise you.
To start this series on Hearing God’s Voice from the beginning, click here.
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