Count Your Blessings

Dear Reader,

For years I struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety, and that horrific hormonal funk caused me to pick up some nasty mental habits that have taken an equal number of years to begin to break. We humans seem to create habits much more easily than we can break them. Recent studies have shown that it usually takes a life changing event to occur for us to more easily introduce new habits into our lifestyles. So what do I do when I find myself in a mind funk that I can’t seem to break? Something life changing. I count my blessings.

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It was around the time that my second child was born that I decided to practice meditating on the positives. Philippians 4:8 says “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” and with good reason. We have to focus on what is good because it is so easy to see that bad; it’s in our nature, and its all around us on the news, media, entertainment and even our daily lives.

I remember one night after crying for an hour-trying to decompress from a long day of mothering my two autistic babies (and my own personal identity crisis), praying for wisdom and joy in my circumstance. Then I read Philippians 4:8 and  a few moments later I found myself practicing an old habit: making a list. But it wasn’t my usual list of To Do’s that I was meditating on. It was a deliberate reflection on the things that I love. Things I am grateful for. Things that bring me joy. It was Philippians 4:8 in action. It started off with the big easy-to-see things, and then the process evolved into a sequence of little joys I observed in my life. I cried out for God. Then allowed Him to show me how to shape an old habit into something meaningful. The practice transformed my thinking if only in those moments, and changed my heart from self-pitying and desperate to content and reflective. It was so helpful that I started to do it more often. The more I practiced my list of joys, the more my thought processes changed, and the more my perspective shifted from gloom to growth.

My encouragement to you would be to consider the same practice. Find your quiet time, even it its only five minutes to yourself. Pray to God to meet you and change your heart and mind, and then list what joys He has brought into your life. I promise once you begin, more and more that was once concealed by dark thoughts will soon be illuminated by the light of truth, and when that happens you heart will sing again.

Joys

God

deep friendships

the familiarity of family

the ocean

the smell of salt water

the mountains

the sound of wind through tress

a book you can’t put down

finding God in the everyday

music obsessions

candles

rainy days

coffee

always coffee

oh and chocolate

dark chocolate

surprise gifts

giving gift bags to friends

a foggy morning

all things autumn

going to the movies alone

fuzzy blankets

fuzzy socks

fuzziness in general

campfires

smoke in the air on a cold day

sunbathing on my favorite rock at the beach

tan lines

champagne

baking

singing in the car

the smell of rain

smells that remind me of childhood

remembering a good dream

clean sheets

jasmine

bubble baths

baby giggles

picking wildflowers

cinnamon

rearranging furniture

sweet strawberries

worship when it envelopes me

sincere compliments

deep conversations

good wine

cheese

also cheese

dressing up

date nights

Shakespeare

Psalms

a good cry

all things vanilla

discovering new music

music chills

unexpected kisses

morning snuggles

breakfast in bed

travel

the basment of Stortorget 20111 29 Stockholm, Sweden

 

 

 

 

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