Chances are you are feeling stressed. Seems as if the entire world is feeling stressed these days. Especially after coming through the last year that was filled with turmoil. Did you know that mental stress can cause a variety of health conditions? It’s true. Stress can cause your blood pressure to rise, your body to slow metabolism and upset your sleep patterns. Stress stands in the way of living in peace. And, it keeps you from focusing on contentment. But, peace truly begins when we learn gratitude. Being grateful helps us to see how we can be content with what we’ve been blessed with.
Funny thing, last year for my word of the year I chose contentment. Little did I know what lay ahead as the world faced pandemic, financial crisis, an hotly contested election cycle, not to mention the strange and seemingly random and bazaar natural disasters. And some happenings, and disasters that were perhaps not so natural. It really was a strange year.
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In the midst of that strangeness I, like many of you, found myself struggling with stress and discontentment.
We’re told in scripture that we should in all circumstances be content.
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”— Hebrews 13:5
And, I try, honestly I do. I’ve discovered, however, that the more time I spend on social media, the less content I am. Rather than focusing on what truly matters, I find myself hyper aware of things going on in the world that are entirely out of my control.
Do you feel stressed? It would be surprising if you weren’t. With the demands of raising children, seeing to their education along with family life, balancing finances, and jobs, and even marriage, it’s tough balancing it all. And for many, it all changed this past year. And, these things can cause stress.
Whether you are traditional homeschoolers or virtual schoolers these days every parent is feeling the stress of trying to help their children succeed in school when their entire world has been turned upside down.
This year, I’ve chosen a new word. It’s one that I believe will help me to be even more content.
Gratitude a Foundation for Peace
My word for the new year is GRATITUDE.
The goal will be to help you, as I help myself, to focus on the existing blessings in life. This way, I’ll learn to focus on the good rather than the bad. And, in so doing, my heart will dwell in peace.
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”— Colossians 3:15
Isn’t that the goal of this blog, peaceful living? And, while we can have peace in the day to day by managing the household, and finding ease in cooking family dinners, true peace begins in the heart in finding joy in the blessings which the Lord grants.
Over the years I’ve not always focused the blog on the spiritual aspect of peace. But, I’m refocusing to share spiritual peace with you. As we move forward together I pray we each find the ability to be grateful in the daily blessings of life and the joy that comes in finding peace in God given blessings.
The Gratitude Challenge
Over the next few weeks I’m going to be sharing with you a Gratitude Challenge.
We’re going to look at how focusing on gratitude can motivate us toward finding the abundant joy that already exists in our lives.
You’ll want to get a journal of some kind. Whether it’s a simple notebook, or something specifically dedicated to this project is up to you. I’ll be adding a section to my daily planner that helps me to focus my mind on gratitude each week.
Don’t stress too much about what you’ll put into your gratitude journal. The goal is simply to write out the joyful things we find to be grateful for. You may want to do this daily or weekly as we progress through the challenge.
Getting Started with Gratitude
Once you have your gratitude journal start by making a list of all of your family members. Family is one of life’s greatest blessings. God designed family for companionship, and joy as well as for helping each other to grow and be accountable. Having family teaches us responsibility and gives us a sense of connection.
The truth is, Biblical family should be a reflection of God’s family and His love for us.
What is your word or most important goal for the year? Share yours with me in the comments below.
Be sure to read these series as well.
*Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.