The Grateful Challenge

grateful-challengeLaura was recently give the “Grateful Challenge” online. She shares how this simple lesson has given her new perspective.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:15-17).

I’ve been asked by a friend to participate in a 10-day grateful challenge online. Each day I’m supposed to post three things I am grateful for and then ask two additional people to do the same.

I’ve completed three days of the challenge and find it fun to see what others are grateful for. When my cousin started this I secretly hoped she would challenge me to the task–and finally on day nine she did. I needed the challenge as I was in a rut; in a negative place in my mind too often despite my best efforts, and knew this would help refocus me.

And God challenges us daily to be grateful in our lives.

“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love is everlasting” (Psalm 107:1).

It is often easier to look at what is wrong while living with chronic illness. There are so many things we cannot do.

I’ve struggled recently with the fact I can no longer work. I officially retired more than two years ago but I just passed my three-year anniversary of leaving the elementary school in which I worked for the last time.

It was 9/15/11 and I was going on an extended sick leave–which turned in to an early retirement. With my kids and husband (he is an administrator) going back to school in September, it brought back those feelings of loss once again.

So this grateful challenge came at a good time–a time to refocus my mind on what I can do, the blessings I do have and what our wonderful God provides in our lives. Thirty simple statements to refocus myself–to remind me that God has provided so much in my life. There are many blessings.

Prayer: Dear Lord, we often get bogged down with what we can no longer do. Help us to remember there are many things to still be grateful for in our lives. Help us to continue to see the beauty in this world, Lord, despite our difficulties. In Your name, Amen.

About the author:
Laura Seil Ruszczyk lives in New York with her husband and three kids. She retired from her job as an elementary school counselor in 2012. She is writing a book about her struggles with dysautonomia, a neurological condition in which the autonomic nervous system malfunctions, affected such things as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and temperature regulation.

What are three things you are grateful for today?

It can be difficult to really take the time to count our blessings–yet everyone who does it seems to say how rewarding it is! This is the song “Overwhelmed” by Big Daddy Weave (I know, what a name, eh?) But this is an amazing song with lyrics about how when we truly look at all God is… it is overwhelming! Be overwhelmed by something Godly rather than just the negatives today. Be overwhelmed with the blessings that you have taken time to notice before. -Lisa