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Christmas and New Year 21/22 were problematic. Check out my previous blog, ‘Really God? Really?’ However, once the busy season slowed down, it should have been the end of the stress and tension. But I was still struggling, evidenced by waking in the early hours and thinking or worrying. My normal practice is to pray and cast my cares but this time I was not seeing much change. I reasoned that hubby and I have had a busy year building our dream home, without any holiday breaks and then came along Christmas, moving house, family visiting and a painful fall, all culminating in one overloaded Peta.

We all have times like these. I know, I hear many concerns in my coaching practice. So, I put in place my absolute fail-safe interventions – regular check-ins with God (on the hour), to include a five minute deep breathing and downloading session with God. I made an appointment with my supervisor/counsellor to unload whatever was required. Still on leave from my coaching practice, after my daily prayer time, I loosely scheduled an hour each in my day to do some study, some work, some house sorting (to get things achieved for one goal oriented person) and then best of all, some time watching something hilarious on Netflix or TV.

The extra time I spent on the hour with God receiving the peace of Jesus (John 14:27) and casting my cares (1 Peter 5:7), allowed me to hear God’s voice and His leading. I began to hear these words: thank you, thankfulness and gratitude.

So here I am talking about these to you as led by the Lord!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to:

'Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.' (NKJV)

I find this verse not only encouraging but also challenging as God highlights that He has so much for us, yet we don’t receive all that is on offer because we are caught up in our own troubles, worries, health issues, relationship problems etc. In this verse there is a recipe to receive all that He has for us according to His will, by being joyful and praying in an attitude of thankfulness to Him.

Okay, I know that it's easy to say but is it easy to do? You might be thinking, ‘I’m trying but not finding much joy.’ I hear you. That was me in the early hours over the past month. Let me encourage you to persevere and not give up but keep going until something clicks into place. You hopefully can then slide into your groove that fits who you are and what you need in the way that works for you.

For me, I searched for worship songs that have thank you or gratitude in the words and began to listen in the early hours and I even did some dancing in the dark or worshipful moving. My rumination turned to thankful thoughts towards God and His blessings in my life. It was a game changer for me.

Gratitude has amazing results and it’s backed up biblically and scientifically. Applying gratitude is an intervention used by psychologists and counsellors to improve optimism and hope. Interestingly, when used as prayer, particularly in journaling, mental health issues are reduced and the benefits are sustained over many months. Studies are looking at children, adolescents, adults as well as older adults – right across the board for suicide prevention, depression and anxiety. The impact is increased when gratitude is directed towards a person, particularly to God in prayer, resulting in daily experiences of positive emotions and even more gratitude.

To you precious one, perhaps you are in a time of need—you have a choice in this season that you find yourself in. You can continue to wallow in the muddiness of sadness, grief, loss, anger, bitterness, fear or you can be proactive and make a change to focus on being grateful and thankful to God. Even in these days of uncertainty that a global pandemic elicits in our lives, find things for which you can be grateful.

Please remember that the enemy has a plan to keep you and I wallowing in our problems, but God wonderfully has a bigger and better purpose for our lives. And that is to rise above our issues, looking to Him and actively saying thank you God for…

As a therapeutic life coach, allow me to coach you bye suggesting if it’s all too overwhelming, just start by doing the smallest thing you can today towards being grateful to our wonderful God.

What will you do?

God bless

Love Peta

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