You Actually Have Control Over This

Photo by Jordan Wozniak on Unsplash

“I got latitude / I got gratitude / And if you look up to the moon, you’ll see my attitude” – Real in My Veins, Young Thug

. . .

A few years back, there was a lot of hype/research/talk around the idea that gratitude was an antidote to fear. I bought into it, wrote about it, and practiced it.

Sometimes it worked for me, sometimes the anxiety won. 

If I felt a panic coming on, I’d close my eyes, breathe deeply, and think through a few things I was thankful for.

I wouldn’t just list them and be like: “I’m thankful for food, water, and shelter.”

I’d dig into each thought: 

“I’m thankful for healthy food because I know what it’s like to grow up with unhealthy habits. Eating better will help me live longer and be there for my family.” 

“I’m thankful for a roof over my head. I know what it’s like to not have stable housing. There are a lot of people waking up on sidewalks every day.” 

This practice grounded me and still does. These days I do it before I’m feeling anxious. I start my day with prayer.

I thank God each morning for waking me up another day, and I thank God for His protection and provision before I go to bed. I even thank Him when my bank account is empty and when depression has crept up again.

I find great comfort in 1 Chronicles 16:34.

Some people have filled journals with things they’re thankful for. Some just scribble a few words on a post-note and stick it on the bathroom mirror so they’re reminded.

The Shine app prompts you with a daily check in that’s pretty neat because you can track what you’ve written.

You can go on Pinterest right now and fill your board with quotes galore. Whatever floats your boat is cool with me because we need a whole lot of thankfulness these days. 

It seems like things get worse by the minute. Lock downs, shutdowns, layoffs, lack of benefits, and the birthdays and funerals we can’t attend are regular conversation. The National Guard rolled in a few days ago here in Baltimore and things are getting realer and realer.

There’s so much we can’t control.

It makes sense if hopelessness is an unwanted visitor camped in the backyard of your heart. But, I’m here today to tell you that gratitude still counts. It’s not a buzzword, it’s a word to hold onto. Let it fill you up a little while you wade through an ever growing to-do list. 

Maybe gratitude won’t help with your anxiety or fear, do it anyways. It certainly won’t vanquish illness or suffering, but still, do it anyways.

Find things to be thankful for, if nothing but the air in your lungs and the ability to read this text right now. 

I have readers all around the world, so I know your situation looks different depending on your latitude and longitude. I know you might be grieving, holding onto your last few pennies while waiting for a check to clear, or feeling trapped because you can’t even go outside and isolation has gotten the best of you.

But, I still invite you to take a moment each day this week to focus on something that came into your life that you didn’t deserve.

Think about a person who helped you when no one else would.

Reflect on the last time you had a hiccup of happiness.

And sit with it as long as the memory will last because we get to hold onto our joy – even when it’s just an echo.

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Published by Sinclair P Ceasar III

Sinclair Ceasar is a Christian mental health speaker and writer.

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