Do you ever really stop to count your blessings? All of them? I have shared in other posts about one of my favourite hymns is Count Your Blessings. When I need a little positive boost in the right direction, I sit down and start listing all of the blessings in my life. My list is very, very long. Welcome to Day Twenty Five of 30 Days to Forgiveness!
Now before you accuse me of being a Pollyanna (which is not actually a bad thing, if you’ve ever read the book), let me assure you that my life has never been perfect.
For one thing, I am a brain tumour survivor and I’ll be honest that it has left me with some mild brain damage. The mister says that I’m a goldfish when it comes to memory. How bad? One Monday evening, I saw a lady with an absolutely lovely smile and introduced myself. I can be bold like that with strangers, and I told her that I really wanted to get to know her.
She laughed and said, “You know, Marie, you said that exact same thing yesterday at church. And last Sunday. And this summer when we met at the church barbecue.”
That’s what happens when a tumor causes damage for years and then surgeons stick scalpels in your brain. Things don’t work quite the same anymore. But my brain still works – and I can stay grateful for that.
Do you count your blessings regularly? If not, it’s a great habit to get into. It doesn’t really take more than a few minutes a day and it can have a huge impact on your life, how you feel and how you interact with those around you.
When we count our blessings regularly, the benefits go far beyond this forgiveness journey. Yes, it’s a great tool for that, but there’s so much more.
There’s an incredible power in looking at our blessings.
It is almost impossible to close your heart and stay mad while at the same time you’re sincerely saying “Thank you. Wow. Thank you. This is wonderful. This is good.”
As I’m teaching my children how to pray, by the way, “Thank you” is how we start. Last night, my four year old daughter said, “Dear God, we love you. Thank you for …” and the three year old said, “good day!” Her sister continued “And watch us …” which her sister completed with “when we s’eep, AY-MEN!” Covers the basics, don’t you think?
Counting your blessings will instantly improve your mood.
It’s impossible to feel down when you practice this daily. It’s also good for your health. We live in stressful times where we are constantly overloaded with information. We’re short on time, have too much to do, and are bombarded with news and social media posts. It’s no wonder we’re experiencing more stress and stress related illnesses than ever.
Sitting still for a few minutes every day and simply listing off everything and everyone we are thankful for is a great stress buster. It forces us to slow down and shift from busy and overwhelmed to calm and joyful. I probably don’t have to tell you how beneficial that is to your mind and your mood. It makes you a nicer and better person, which is good for you and those around you.
So far, we’ve established that counting your blessings is good for your state of mind, your health, and how easy it is to forgive, but how do you actually do it?
Honestly, it’s simple.
You just do it.
Look around you and think about everything you’re thankful for. Don’t edit or judge yourself and don’t try to go in any sort of order.
You’re grateful for that heavy feather comforter that a friend gave you a few years ago? Okay, that’s me.
You’re grateful for the lovely burgundy cardigan that’s just exactly the right weight and style? Oh, me again. I’m really good at finding things that I’m grateful for because I am surrounded by them.
Frozen pizzas in the chest freezer for when I have a sinus attack.
A house that’s big enough to give all my autistic loved ones space to get away from each other.
A man who thinks I hung the moon and stars.
Six beautiful amazing children that I love beyond measure.
If your mind starts to wander and you find yourself thinking about what you have left to do today or you end up with negative thoughts, stop yourself.
It’s not like you’re going to be at this all day.
Just five minutes focused on what IS good in your life.
Anytime you feel a ‘but’ at the end of a blessing, just stop and move to the next one. (Really – I could list a ‘but’ for every one of my blessings. This is not the time for that!)
This is something you want to do daily for best results.
Like a vitamin for your heart.
If you’d like, you can even do it several times per day. Find a time of day when it’s easy for you to sit quietly and undistracted for a few minutes and start making “counting your blessings” part of your daily routine.