Photo credit: Jelle Vancoppennolle
Rosanne Bowman from Divine Ordinary is sharing her story about the power of thanks-giving!
The cell was small and square. I had tried to make it homey and comfortable –there was a pretty comforter on the cot in the corner, frilly curtains hung over steel bars. To combat the musty air, I lit candles in my favorite scents.
But no matter how much I tried to make it home, it wasn’t. It was a cell, a prison and I was stuck – hemmed in on all sides by fear. Fear of “what if.” Fear of “if only.” Fear that kept me a prisoner, my emotions stuffed down so deep I hardly recognized them.
The problem was, my emotions weren’t staying stuffed down. They were leaking out in panic attacks and anxiety so severe, I often found myself sitting on the floor in my bedroom just trying to breath, sure I was having a heart attack because my heart was beating so erratically.
When God showed me the prison cell I had been making my home, I cried – for the first time in a long time (remember those stuffed emotions?). I tried to point out my cute curtains and homey décor, but God pointed out the cold walls and floor, the bars on the windows.
When I pointed to the cell door, trying to explain that I couldn’t get out, God gently nudged the door open – showing me that it had never been locked. I had kept myself stuck inside that cell.
With a deep breath, reminding myself that God did not give me the spirit of fear, I stepped out of that cell.
It was exhilarating and terrifying all at the same moment. It was tempting to run back and swing the door shut again, but once I smelled the fresh air of freedom, the thought of going back made me shudder.
I was free.
So, what does a journey out of anxiety and fearfulness have to do with giving thanks? In my case, everything.
Giving thanks is one way - a major way – that I wage war against fearfulness and anxiety.
Psalms 103:1-5 (NASB) says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”
See, when I purposefully take time to thank God for all He has done for me, all He has blessed me with, then it makes me see His goodness, His faithfulness, His sheer awesomeness.
It was when I started to see how big God truly is that my fear started to shrink. How can I be afraid in the face of His majesty and bigness?
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?” Psalms 27:1 (NASB)
Taking time to worship God, to truly give thanks for all He has done is one way that I battle fearfulness and anxiety because at its root, fear and anxiety are a lack of trust in God’s goodness.
When I take time to be thankful, I see up close and personal God’s goodness. When I take time to be thankful, I am lifted out of feelings (which are real but not always true), and see the truth of God’s lovingkindness and mercy. When I take time to be thankful, I remember the truth of God’s character. When I take time to be thankful, I am reminded of the height and breadth and depth of God’s love, and as I John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…”
So next time fear or anxiety are breathing down your neck, stop running. Instead, turn and face them down with a little thanksgiving.
Rosanne Bowman has been a story lover almost since birth, and has been writing stories in various forms since she could hold a pencil. She believes that stories have the power to change people by encouraging and inspiring them. Rosanne has been married for 20 years to the Coach and has two boys, ages 12 and 15, who are also sports nuts. She currently blogs about God making a daily difference in ordinary lives at Divine Ordinary.
As we give thanks for all His gifts, our hearts are prepared to celebrate The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Jesus. I'm so excited to read this daily devotional beginning December 1. We will be discussing it at Winsome Reads, a Facebook book club. Join us?!
I'm giving away a copy of The Greatest Gift!
The giveaway will be open through Sunday at midnight, and I will announce the winner on Monday. Enter below!
We're celebrating Thirty Days of Thanks by focusing on gratitude here for the month of November. Join us every day or any day by posting your thanks-givings in the comments, at Winsome Woman on Facebook, and/or on your own FB wall!
Labels: Guest Post, Thanks-Giving Stories, Thirty Days