The Peace Of Thanksgiving

I may be young, and my life may seem simple but I am, without a doubt, a constant worrier. Just give me a topic or a phrase and I’ll go off in a tangent, either in thought or spoken words.

What do I worry about, you might ask? The list is endless….School deadlines. Selling enough tickets for a show that I’m in. If I’ll ever get my Learner’s license after failing it and being a bad test writer. Finding the right clothes to wear to church. That my friends will take what I say to them the wrong way. That I’ve made a bad impression on someone. That a director doesn’t like the way that I say a certain line and consequently, won’t choose me again. Over the projects that I am working on. That I won’t wake up on time.  About getting into my choice university and having enough money for it. That I won’t get married and have kids. And the list goes on…

I don’t know about you, but when I’m worried about something, I get really worked up with anxiety and I can’t concentrate or fully enjoy anything. I end up getting irritated with my family, which gets them annoyed or crying which makes me even worse or just simply not getting any of the things that I need to get  done finished (which creates even more worries, by the way.)

I’ve tried saying a quick prayer to God about my problems and while that does help, my worries still bother me from time to time. I was at my whits end for a while: there just didn’t seem to be a way out!  That is, until last Wednesday when I was at my GEMS (a group for girls held at my church) meeting and one of the other counselors read a devotion on worrying! And God used her words to speak to my heart…

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Phillipians 4:6

Such a simple verse, such a simple lesson. A passage that I’m sure I’ve heard many times between church and it being the GEMS theme verse last year. A verse that I even had memorized for a while and which came flooding back to me as “something I knew” when I heard it read. Yet God spoke through it in a new way. God revealed something that I’d never seen before, though I’d taught it and memorized it. God showed me how I can cure my worrying heart…by giving thanks. 

Of course, being a procrastinator, I didn’t put it into practice right away. No, I was too tired that night from teaching my group of girls and working on school stuff throughout the day. Thursday and Friday were filled with school and rehearsals. Saturday I slept in, hung out with a friend and went out with my mom. Sunday I had bible study, church, and a rehearsal. Of course, I prayed during those times and read my bible but I was too caught up in my own things to apply thankfulness. That is, until Sunday night when my worries caught up with me and I realized that it was time for a real prayer, one from the heart, one of thanksgiving.

And you know what, it worked? When I got into bed that night I had the Math and the Social Studies that I had fallen behind in; the Student Council issues to which I fall heir to taking care of, being the president; the worries that I had been too silly when I was with my friends on Friday and that they all thought that I was weird now, that my church family thought that I was not as “Christian” as I used to be and that my fellow actors thought I was strange and the fear that I wouldn’t fall asleep in time to wake up at 7:00 and would have another bad dream were all weighing on my mind.

But then, I started to pray…I asked Him for help…and then I thanked Him for all of the things that were weighing me down (for, without the stress, they were good things) and most of all, I thanked Him for always, always being there for me and helping me through each situation, no matter how big or small. And then, it started…I can’t explain exactly how it happened but by the time I fell asleep that night, my mind was at rest and I no longer worried about the problems that had haunted me.

My mind was completely refreshed this morning: in fact, the things of yesterday seemed quite trivial. As I walked home from my morning Spanish class at school, in the lovely fresh January air and beautiful glow of the light winter sun, all of my worries truly felt washed away. For the first time in a long time, I felt good and even (gasp!) excited and motivated about my assignments. I remembered with a smile that my wonderful secretary had emailed me today about the things that I had been worried about and although it wasn’t all taken care of yet, it would be soon. I realized, with an even bigger grin, the sheer triviality of my worries over what other people thought as I had no reason to think that they believed those things about me — I had simply made them up! And even if they did, those things are not what God thinks, and He is what really matters.

And I gave thanks again…for peace.

Elizabeth

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2 thoughts on “The Peace Of Thanksgiving

  1. Hey dear friend! Isn’t God incredible?! God’s love is crazy. GOD IS AWESOME and I can’t put into words what my heart feels. But I know sometimes it can get awful rough :/ God is ALWAYS IN CONTROL. The things that are the best for us sometimes feel like the hardest. So keep going… and God’s got this. Always.

    Love,
    Jess

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