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Up For A Challenge? 3 Super Easy, But Massively Difficult Daily Disciplines

By November 21, 2020August 31st, 2022No Comments
express gratitude

Several years ago, Dave and I visited the home of Corrie Ten Boom in the Netherlands. The very home where Corrie and her family hid many Jews to escape from the Nazis in World War II. As we walked through the home and the neighborhood, I reflected on the crisis this family endured and suffered.

But, what struck me most was the gratitude Corrie expressed throughout the remainder of her life for the opportunity to be used by God.

Corrie Ten Boom said,

If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed.

If you look within, you’ll be depressed.

But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.

If you haven’t read her story, it is recounted in her book, The Hiding Place. It’s a thrilling read with inspiration for this present day.

She embodies the secret to peaceful living that we find in Philippians 4:6-8:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Sounds a bit crazy in these times, right?

Thinking back over this year, expressing gratitude may not be the first thing that comes to your mind.

It’s probably more like frustration, anxiety, concern, worry, or even depression and fear. So much changed in 2020 that destroyed our sense of normalcy.

But, reread those verses. Slowly.

There’s a formula here for expressing gratitude IN a crisis.

It’s something Corrie Ten Boom learned and spoke about often and one we would be wise to adopt right now.

  1. Stop worrying.

    Easier said than done, I know. But, think about the energy you spend worrying. What positive outcome has it accomplished?

    Worrying has kept me awake at night, which means I’m tired and irritable the next day. Not positive.

    Worrying accepts negative inputs instead of screening them out, increasing my worry.

    When I look at the world, listen to the news, and spend too much time on social media, my anxiety levels increase.</li >

  1. Pray about everything.

    Really? Everything? When was the last time you found yourself in a conundrum, perplexed, and stopped to pray? Praying is simply having a conversation with God. If I’ve learned anything through our marriage crisis, it’s that God cares about the details, the little stuff we think He’s too busy to mess with.

    Satan knows God cares about everything, which is why he does everything he can to distract us. The enemy of our soul’s goal is to hack our minds, heart, and emotions from God’s truth. If he can get us to believe for one moment that God could care less about our mess, Satan wins the skirmish. But never the battle.

    God told us to talk with Him about all the stuff that’s on our minds. Talk with God about anything on your mind and keep talking until your stress levels decrease. If you’re driving in a car alone, talk out loud. On a walk, have a conversation with God. Or, maybe like me, you prefer to journal. Great. Then do so until you can’t write anymore. Pour it out.

    Just this week, I wrestled through an issue by journaling. God cares about ALL the stuff on your mind. Every bit of it. Don’t fall for that old lie that He’s too busy to deal with something as insignificant as your fears. They aren’t insignificant to God. Why else would He track our sorrows and collect our tears?

  1. Thank God.

    Here’s that part about expressing gratitude IN the crisis. Gratitude changes our minds and hearts because we stop focusing on what is around us or within us. Instead, we look outward to see what God has done in our life.

    Start naming the things around you that you take for granted. Stuff like indoor plumbing, heat in your home, food to eat, or clothes to wear. Look around you at the world He created. Celebrate the birds, animals, trees. Marvel at the variety in nature.

    As you look at these things, your heart lightens. At first, it may feel awkward and maybe even a little silly. But don’t give up. Keep naming things you’re grateful for. Even if you don’t think you have anything to be grateful for, this exercise opens your mind to new possibilities.

    When Dave and I were walking through the darkest days of his recovery from pornography addiction and my depression, this exercise helped me move a bit toward center. It felt like a small movement, but over time it created a necessary mental shift.

This isn’t a difficult formula at first glance. However, walking this out IN the crisis means you decide to be grateful.

Let me repeat that: Decide to be grateful.

In this season, I choose to express gratitude no matter what is going on in the world.

Here are some gratitude in the crisis items on my list:

  • The global shutdown allowed Dave and me to develop our business dreams.
  • Being an entrepreneur allowed us to be with my mom in her last days on this earth without concern about running out of paid time off.
  • Video chat technology allowed us to stay connected with our children and grandchildren.
  • The internet provided the avenue to connect with friends and family in other countries even though we couldn’t leave our country.
  • The healing journey Dave and I have been on for over thirteen years allows us to be together 24/7 and enjoy it.
  • We have more time to be with friends and family when the opportunity arises.
  • We told our story of God’s redemption to millions. Thanks, Focus on the Family!
  • Life slowed down.
  • Dave and I started walking together daily on May 10, 2020. (5/10/20 is a fun number!) We haven’t missed a day yet.
  • Our daily walks provide time to talk and enjoy being outside together, exploring.

Are there things going on in the world that I don’t appreciate? Absolutely. But I have a choice—expressing gratitude or complaining.

I can choose, like Corrie Ten Boom, to help others, focus on Jesus, and be at rest. Or, I can choose to focus on the crisis and get hacked.

Each day I have to make the same choice. So do you. Practice expressing gratitude IN the crisis. Keep pushing into gratitude until you experience peace. It’s God’s promise to you and me. He said he’d give us peace the world can’t understand. That’s my choice today.

What’s yours? Need a little help? Perhaps, someone to hide you in safety and prepare you to emerge stronger in the face of the enemy? I’m here for you.

  • Kirsten D Samuel

    I empower Christian wives to discover they are seen, loved, and heard. These women find the freedom to be who they are beyond their partner’s struggles, and find hope that there is a life worth living.