My anxiety disorders and, especially, my bipolar tend to turn my attitude towards one of skepticism and pessimism. I find it truly difficult to be thankful and positive. I’m much better at complaining and seeing the worst in absolutely everything.
But something hit me today: if I spend more time giving praise and thanks, there’s not much room for that horrible skepticism and pessimism that infiltrates every aspect of my life.
How did it come to me? I honestly believe God put it on my heart through the Holy Spirit.
I had put in laundry to wash and emptied the dryer. Of course, the constant pull of, “I don’t have to fold this now,” was there, as always. But I forced myself, because it needed to be done.
So I sat on the couch and began to fold. About three pieces in, I realized something was missing. My normal, absolute favorite, radio station wasn’t playing. I usually play country music throughout the apartment as I do housework. It simply makes me happy. But as I folded two more pieces of laundry, I felt a pull to pray. I battled for a moment: do I pray, or do I play my feel-good music?! It only took another piece of laundry to realize I was feeling a sort of pressure to pray because I needed to.
So, I did.
I started with requests to God. But as I was requesting, throwing out my family’s and my desires and plans and needs, I kept thinking of the “ACTS” method of prayer—Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Although all important, as I paused, thinking of the fact that I needed to do more than just pour out my personal desires, I realized that I truly needed to spend some time in thanksgiving.
Thus, I began with what I was doing: laundry. I thanked God that we have a washer and dryer in our apartment, that we don’t have to use a laundromat or a community washer, both of which cost money. I thanked Him that our complex pays for our water. I praised Him for giving us clothes and the dressers and closets to put them in.
And I kept finding things for which to thank God as I folded laundry for a good half hour. I’m pretty sure I went through almost every seemingly insignificant thing in our home, but I was focusing on giving thanks instead of focusing on all that’s wrong, all that isn’t going correctly.
And, to be honest? It totally shifted my perspective…at least for this afternoon and evening. I’m sure tomorrow will be another fight, but I’m determined, in this new year and new decade, to give thanks every time I’m tempted to be skeptical or pessimistic. Thankfulness absolutely must win out!