When the economy first dropped in 2008, my life literally changed over night.
We are a single income, self-employed family. Within 48 hours, I went from not worrying about money at all, to being overly consumed with worry and fears.
Over the course of the next 12 months, we were forced to spend our savings and make some seriously tough choices. It was a scary time.
My earth was shaken. I went through a period of being angry with God. Wondering why He would allow this to happen.
It wasn’t until then that I realized I was under the assumption that since I was a Christian, life would be easy. I was wrong. Life is difficult, whether you are a Christian or not.
During that time I learned what it meant to truly live out my faith.
When life is good and things are going well, it is easy to say that God is good and that you trust Him. My eyes were opened to the reality that I believed IN God, but didn’t believe Him. My worry was a testament to the fact that I didn’t believe that God would provide.
I became aware of how much I valued earthly possessions. Earthly things were providing temporary fulfillment. I was not seeking Christ as my joy.
After living in fear and worry, I decided that something HAD to change. It wasn’t good for me and it was taking a toll on my relationships.
I am grateful the experience is over, but also grateful for what I learned.
How I cultivated a thankful heart:
I looked through Scripture searching for God’s promises.
I prayed even more.
I wrote down my blessings.
I forced myself to shift my mind from earthly concerns to heavenly things. Giving thanks to God for all that I still had.
When my mind would start to cycle through worries I would think about my blessings. A miracle truly does happen! I went from having an anxiously yucky day, to a day filled with peace and joy. And all it took was to think about all that I have.
I memorized Scriptures and recalled them in times of worry and fear. This helped me mentally to shift my focus to God’s promises and away from myself.
I discovered that having a grateful heart was something that I needed to learn. In my humanness, being truly grateful didn’t come naturally. In fact Paul wrote to the Philippians “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstance.” Philippians 4:10 (emphasis added).
I tried to slow down and look around. Taking the time to notice all that was around me helped me to see how much was God providing.
Based on the Scripture Matthew 6:25-34, I started to tell myself each day “Today you are ok. Today the lights are on. Today you have food to eat.” This helped me to not worry about the next day and to focus on the blessings of the present day. Out of this I soon realized that months, even years had gone by and God had fulfilled His promises.
The Scriptures that I held onto during that time and still use often:
2 Timothy 1:7
Having a grateful heart is a gift. It may not be easy, especially during difficult circumstances but if you allow God to transform you, you will be amazed by what He can do.
How have you learned to be content in all circumstances?
© 2012 Standing on Peace