by Mary Segers
Why Should You Focus on Feeling Blessed and Not Stressed?
There are several reasons why you should focus on feeling blessed and each one will make a dramatic difference in your life.
I’m going to use a very real and recent example to show you how each of these would play out in real life . . . as opposed to just theory.
A couple of days ago my car wouldn’t start at a convenience store. It just so happened (no coincidence) that there was a mechanic husband and wife couple in the car next to me. As he comes over to look at my fuses and tap the starter she’s giving him ideas of what to look for. Then a (Yes!) third mechanic pulls up behind me and they start brainstorming what it could be.
My car is 12 years-old and has 250,000 miles on it (go Toyota Camry). They mention that with all the rain we’d had recently water could have splashed up and just caused some temporary problems. So I get home and figure I’ll use my daughter’s car for a few days. After all, it had not been started for months and months.
Harm’s battery is so stone-cold dead that it takes all night to charge on the battery charger.
Now I could complain about having to drive her car because it’s 9 years older than mine, one of the rear windows has a garbage bag over the window to keep the rain and cats out, and . . . it just doesn’t ride as well as mine does. However, I chose to be grateful that I had an alternate.
Still, last night I decided to tap the starter and drive the car to Church. I figured driving short distances like that would help dry it out—if that was the problem. When my friend tapped on the starter after Church it almost started but didn’t and when I tried again there was a puff of smoke from the battery area.
Needless to say I left it alone and was still thankful that I had a ride home and an alternate car to drive until mine gets fixed.
I told God that I loved my car and He knew I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on it. I also told Him it was in His Hands because I knew He could fix anything . . . including my car.
Last night (Thursday) my friend was saying that he just knew he’d replaced that starter in the last couple of years. Since I save all receipts I knew I’d have that one. My glove compartment, however, looks like my teen’s room so I tried to get out of looking for it by calling where I knew I’d bought it.
Nope. No record which they said meant either I hadn’t bought it from there or it was out of warranty.
Still, when Tuck went to take the starter off in order to take the core in the next day when he bought the new one, I decided to try to look for that receipt.
I found it and it was, indeed, from the place who said if it wasn’t in their system it was out of warranty. The date was one day shy of 5 years so I put it in the garbage bag (may as well clean out the old receipts while I was going through them, right).
After a few minutes I pulled it out of the garbage because I figured I’d keep up with how long it lasted so I put it back in the glove compartment and went back to Harm’s car and continued reading.
After a little while something told me to look at that receipt again. Even as faded as it was (5 years in a hot car does certain things to a receipt) I could barely see the words “Limited lifetime replacement.”
Was I Ever Feeling Blessed!
Sure enough it was totally FREE. Talk about God coming through in a big way because:
1.) I had already been told it was not in the “system” at the place where I’d bought it so,
2.) Without the receipt I would not have had a leg to stand on
3.) Therefore there was no reason for me to have looked for the receipt in the first place, but after I’d found it,
4.) I’d already thrown it in the garbage bag but . . .
5.) I felt the need to take it out and put it back in the glove compartment and then
6.) I had actually walked away from the car but
7.) I felt an urge to look at it again and
8.) Was barely able to read the faded words and see that . . .
9.) It turned out to be under warranty and completely free
So, with this very recent and personal example I’ll use to illustrate the following 5 psychological reasons why you should Focus on Feeling Blessed Not Stressed and exactly how I did it in this particular situation.
1.) OUR FEELINGS AFFECT OUR WORDS
. . . and vice versa—our words affect our feelings. And that’s so important because your words impact your life not only at the psychological (emotional) level but . . . more importantly . . . they impact your life in the spiritual realm.
This is such a powerful concept that it’s referenced in the very first sentence of Charles Capp’s book titled “The Tongue—A Creative Force.” He says;
God’s Word that is conceived in your heart, then formed by the tongue, and spoken out of your own mouth, becomes a spiritual force releasing the ability of God within you.
I’d like to go a step further and say, “The same is true for the enemy’s words. Sickness is of Satan, poverty is of Satan, yet how often do we say . . . and our spirit is listening . . . that we’re sick, that we’re broke, that our kids are driving us crazy, or that we’ll be stuck in a dead end job forever.
If you wake up in a grumpy mood (feeling) and something doesn’t happen to change it your words that whole day will likely be reflective of your grumpy mood at the start.
Think about it—this is something probably everyone can relate to as we’ve all woken up in a bad mood—what’s the chance that pleasantries will come out of your mouth? Can you see yourself saying “Good Morning” to coworkers or will you fuss about your bad start? Will the rest of the day go better or will that grumpiness be the foundation for all other things. Won’t that sour start make other things be seen in a worse light than they normally would have?
How this applied in my car situation: From the time the car started acting up I said I was thankful that I still had Harm’s car available to drive around. Also, I said that Harm’s car needed to be driven anyway since it hadn’t been moved in months. I said it was no big deal . . . it was all in God’s hands (and He has BIG hands) and that I trusted Him to handle it for me. I told Him I knew that if He was big enough to use the earth as a footstool (Isaiah 66:1; Acts 7:49), He could certainly do something with my little car. I went on to give Him thanks for giving me this real life lesson right now where I can share it with you. And, finally, I told Him I would give Him the praise, the honor, and the glory . . . and He knows He can trust me to do just that—can you tell?
2.) OUR WORDS AFFECT OUR BEHAVIORS
Many times what we plan to do is spoken ahead of time. Examples include getting a shower, filling the car with gas, shutting ourselves in our prayer closets, or simply cleaning out the closet.
While not all thoughts are acted on, many times those which are are spoken in advance . . . especially when it comes to communicating our thoughts or intentions to others. For example, no one just walks down the hallway and falls into the shower. First, there is a thought, “I need a shower,” then there is possibly some communicating “Honey, I’m going to get in the shower,” then the corresponding action. This is an example of a simple necessary life activity.
However, there are other words which we speak . . . to and over ourselves . . . which aren’t so functional or planned. Examples include:
I’m no good at that
I just can’t get my act together
I’ll never get out of debt
I’ll never finish college
I’m not smart enough for college
I can’t get the house cleaned up
And on and on and on . . . day after day
These kinds of words not only affect our feelings, but also our behaviors.
On the flip side you have people at the gym saying “I can do this,” and they can. You find single parents who say “I must raise these children alone,” and they do.
How this applied in my car situation: I have determined that I’m not going to worry about things I can’t control. I have also determined that I will be very careful about the words that come out of my mouth. A few years ago God put it in my heart to really study out the power of words in our lives and I spent a year or so doing just that. Because of that I’m going to be held responsible for what I know and for how I use that knowledge. I choose to realize that if my words magnify God, then so does my behavior. It’s hard . . . if not impossible . . . to say (and really mean it in my heart) that God’s in control (words) and then worry (behavior).
It’s hard to say I trust God to handle the car in the way that will be best for me, (words) and then get depressed because He’s not doing it the way or as fast as I want Him to (behavior).
Not only that but we are to give thanks in everything no matter if the situation is good or bad (1 Thessalonians 5:18; Ephesians 5:20). This is good because . . . regardless of what people think . . . it’s a behavior and we can control our behaviors.
3.) OUR FEELINGS, WORDS, AND BEHAVIORS AFFECT OUR SPIRITUALITY AND OUR LIVES IN GENERAL
One simple aspect of our Christian walk is that of being a light to the world . . . being an instrument to drive out the darkness. Who wants what a grumpy person has? I’ve never seen someone be in a really bad mood and think, “You know, I think I’d like to have whatever he has.”
Our Christian walk is supposed to be Christ-like and I don’t think Jesus was particularly stressed out by the cares of the world. I don’t know about you but I just feel like a better Christian when I’m focused on how much God loves me, what Jesus did for me, and how the Holy Spirit is always there to comfort and guide me.
We say we want to be closer to God but we need to remember that God inhabits our praises. How can we lift our eyes, hands, and prayers to Him if we’re so busy looking down at our circumstances. We need to lift them to Him also.
We need to purposely line up our words with God’s words and that would have us focusing on His blessings . . . not the world’s stressors.
How this applied in my car situation: In times like this car trouble I like to think that my faith is growing and that my trust is deepening. I, personally, feel like I have no other option but to trust in the Lord. I know He has good plans for me. Therefore, if that car never got fixed I’d know He had something better for me (you never know when some crucial part would have went berserk the next day like brakes failing). And as far as affecting our lives in general, I don’t need to point out that focusing on feeling blessed leads to a happier life while focusing on feeling stressed does not.
4.) GOD TELLS US TO DEVELOP A LIFE OF THANKFULNESS
Feeling blessed is another way of saying feeling thankful. Using e-Sword (an online Bible study computer software package) I did a search on the general topic of “Thanks” and, depending on which Bible translation I looked at, there were anywhere from 71-108 verses that had the word “Thanks” in them.
If God thought the concept was important enough to mention it that many times then I think He’s letting us know it should be a pretty big part of our lives.
Here are just a few of them from the Amplified Bible:
Colossians 3:15—And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].
Philippians 4:6—Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.
Philippians 4:7—And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:8—For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].
Philippians 4:9—Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you.
****Through the Bible Day by Day with F.B. Meyer (Commentary)
We must turn over all causes of anxiety to the Father’s infinite care and leave them with Him. We must thank Him for the past, and count on Him for the future. While we pray, the Angel of Peace will descend to stand as sentry at our heart’s door. But we must possess the God of peace as well as the peace of God-the one condition being that we must earnestly pursue all things that are true, just, pure, and lovely.
Still dealing with the topic of peace Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says, “This peace will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus; it will keep us from sinning under troubles, and from sinking under them; keep us calm and with inward satisfaction.”
1Thessalonians 5:16—Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always);
1Thessalonians 5:17—Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly];
1Thessalonians 5:18—Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].
Ephesians 5:19—Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [and instruments] and making melody with all your heart to the Lord,
Ephesians 5:20—At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.
Again, having a researcher’s mind, I could bog you down with all kinds of studies that show how having a thankful attitude is good for you mentally, physically, and spiritually.
In other words, God knew what He was talking about. Imagine that!
How this applied in my car situation: From the beginning I was thankful that I had another way to get around. What if I hadn’t had that? I’d be thankful for a break from having to get around so much.
If you want more excerpts simply go to the main page titled Focus on Feeling Blessed and on that page you’ll find a list of links to more excerpts as I post them or just go ahead and buy my book on Amazon.