I was running late. Again. I started chastising myself for trying to get too much done before heading out the door and ending up leaving later than I needed to. Which lead to wishing I was a better mother, wife, Christian, neighbor, etc. My mind flooded with all the latest frustrations, disappointments, and unmet expectations that weighed on my heart.
And I allowed my train of thinking to continue to spiral down. That morning I had woken up to lightning, thunder, and pouring rain outside. And in that moment, it felt like there was a storm raging in my heart as well.
As I was driving along my phone automatically connected to my Bluetooth and my Spotify music started up. We had been listening to Matt Kearney’s song “Face to Face” the night before and so when the music started, I heard the words, “I feel Your thunder pourin’ like rain, down on the mountains of all my mistakes, rolling like rivers running with grace, into the ocean of Your embrace . . .”
I immediately felt a rush of praise and gratitude flow through me. Here I was on a train wreck line of thinking and God immediately stopped me in my tracks and reminded me of his amazing love and grace. In that moment I also remembered reading in the latest book I am reading, (Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa Terkeurst) that when we are faced with moments of trial or difficulty, we should make our response to praise the Lord.
So, I started to praise God.
I praised him for His grace that provided for me in my moment of need with the words I desperately needed to hear. I thanked him for my husband and kids, my home, and the life he has gracefully given me. I praised him for the rain and thunderstorms that I absolutely love and enjoy. I even thanked Him that because of the storms I didn’t need to water my plants that day!
Then finally, I thanked him that even if I was running late, I was still loved and approved of by Him.
And suddenly I felt better.
The gray clouds lifted off my heart and were replaced by the sunshine of gratitude.
I was still late. But I was no longer beating myself up about it because my perspective had changed. Just like when it’s too bright out making it hard to see, and then you put on sunglasses and all of a sudden you can see clearly again.
I have heard it often before that if we are feeling down the best thing to do is to remember things that we are grateful for. Or to remind ourselves of the good in our lives. But this is much easier said than done. So often in those moments I forget to be grateful and instead allow my thoughts to spiral down into worry and anxiety. But by doing that I don’t change anything, and I simply make myself feel awful.
Which is why I am so grateful that God stopped me that morning. My situation didn’t change, but my perspective did, which in turn made it easier to face the situation. And all I had to do in order to change my perspective was to practice gratitude. And I say practice because it’s not my natural response. It’s something I must be intentional about and work at. But I am hoping that as I practice gratitude more and more, day by day, that it will start to become a knee-jerk response. I want it to become something so automatic that whenever I feel my heart start to darken, instead of allowing myself to fall into a pit of despair and negativity, I respond with gratitude, praise, and prayer.
Lord Jesus, help me to see when I fall into the trap of negative thinking and help me to instead focus on all I can be grateful for. Thank you for seeing me in the middle of my mess, my chaos, my mistakes, and loving me anyway. Thank you for shining Your light into my dark moments. And thank you for helping me to change my perspective. Amen.