Continued from here.
One reason thanksgiving is so powerful is that it focuses our thoughts on our blessings, and whatever we focus our thoughts on is magnified while whatever we turn our thoughts away from shrinks. See this blog entry for a more in-depth discussion of the how changing your perspective can change how you view God versus your problems.
I’ll use my eczema flare up as an example. During the day, it’s easier for me to focus on something other than the itching. I’ll treat the rashes with ointments and then go about my day, choosing to focus my thoughts on something positive rather than my physical discomfort. I have much to be grateful for in my life, and as I focus on those things, the blessings magnify while the physical discomfort shrinks.
However, this is harder for me to do at night, when the ointments wear off and I’m awakened at 3:00 a.m. with intense itching. I’ll rub more ointment on the rashes and then try to go back to sleep. However, in my dark bedroom with no other distractions, I find it much harder to turn my focus away from my physical discomfort. This magnifies the problem and greatly tempts me to “unchoose” joy.
Last night, the itching was so bad at 3:00 a.m., even after applying the ointment, that I begged God to help me do this right. I told Him that we both know that I am incapable to maintaining a good attitude while experiencing so much physical discomfort. If He doesn’t equip me to do it, then I’ll fail.
After saying this prayer, I recited the Book of 1 Thessalonians (which I have memorized) and then moved on to the Book of James (which I have also memorized) and then fell back to sleep halfway through. (Side note – This is one example of how memorizing large passages can benefit you.) Focusing on God’s Word took my focus off my physical discomfort and onto Him, who is excellent and praiseworthy. In other words, I magnified God and “shrank” my problem by refusing to dwell on it. Is this easy to do? No, but it is that simple and quite effective.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace standing by a staircase that says, “What’s good?” Courtesy Bitmoji.]