I‘ve been addicted to speed.
So when nearly 40 of us speed addicts signed up for this university study —
who knew how impossibly beautiful the intervention could be?
I had done this, smeared my life into one unholy blur.
This was the intervention the university researcher offered: When we felt it in the veins, the stress racing ugly, the speed winding life angry, we were to audibly give thanks. Give thanks right out loud. That was it. It wasn’t complicated. It wasn’t easy.
The great stress intervention — was a straight up injection of gratitude.
We did this for two weeks.
I’d sling babies up on hips and I’d holler hard for kids to hurry — and do parents talk of this, how the clock can tick like thunder in your ears, and you can be lightning, striking hearts?
When the stress roils and I’m heavily under the influence of speed, then is the time for the stress intervention, and I’d breathe deep and I’d say it out loud:
“Thank You for crazy towhead kids. Thank You for ridiculous legos. Thank You for socks even if they mismatch. And thank You that we’re here together, breathing together right now…that there’s now.”
And I’d be doing that, breathing deeper.
Giving thanks is profoundly life giving.
But an hour later, I’d be popping it down again, perfectionism like a pill, and the hurry, it makes us all hurt, and I’ve seen the ache in the eyes of my children. Why in the world do we do this?
I’ve about torn my hair right out, my heart right out, for the pure, aching rush of it all.
Each time it comes easier, to interrupt stress with thanks, the time after that even easier.
For fourteen days, we interrupt every stress with straight gratitude.
There’s a 53% decrease in stress.
Stress decreases by half – simply by multiplying our thanks.
Why in the world don’t we do this?
It wasn’t complicated. It wasn’t easy.
It was beautiful, the way thanksgiving gave us our lives back. The way we laughed again.
Isn’t this what the gift the children really want?
I see how one son here, wound and frayed, how he struggles to talk. Secondhand smoke, it can choke a kid but secondhand stress — it can just about crush him.
A thousand children in a study, that is what they wanted more anything: not more time with their parents, but their parents to feel less stress more of the time.
Nearly half of all children said that how their parents most failed was that they failed to control their own anger. But if they counted their own blessings – they could.
Why don’t we do this?
If gratitude is an antidote for anxiety…
and giving thanks is a real cure for stress —
why relegate thanksgiving to a holiday when giving thanks can revolutionize our whole lives?
I watch how she reads. I watch how the light falls. I watch how the gifts fall.
I do this, record the the gifts, gather the moments like manna.
It’s could be this feast everyday — a Thanksgiving Feast everyday.
People who keep gratitude journals are 25% happier. Twenty-five percent happier.
Is this why God commands us to always give thanks?
What sane person doesn’t want to be 25% happier?
Why in the world don’t we do this?
Joy is always a function of gratitude — and gratitude is always a function of perspective.
If we are going to change our lives, we’re going have to change is the way we see.
This recording our gratitudes, this looking for blessings everywhere, this counting of gifts– this is what changes what we are looking for. This is what changes our perspective.
Thanksgiving is the lens God means for us to see joy all year round.
The light’s getting gloriously caught in her hair.
The stress untangles.
The moment’s a gift, a grace, and I chronicle it in the One Thousand Gifts app…
“The sound of the marble roller and her talking to herself, singsong… “
and speed slows to wonder.
Why miss our lives?
All the ways He loves?
This is the gift all the children want : us all here and awake to crazy Grace.
Us all in this world addicted to speed, unwrapping the real secret of time management, unwrapping the fullest life:
In the stressful times : seek God
In the painful times : praise God
In the harried times : hallow God
In the terrible times : trust God.
And at all times — and at all times –
And there is it, at the beginning of gift-giving season — the light slanting everywhere, the stress all ebbing — and us His children counting the happy grace of all His gifts…
Because Thanksgiving is more than holiday–
It’s the Way to Wake up to Really, Fully Living
The One Thousand Gifts App is our free gift to you this Thanksgiving… making life application of giving thanks everyday easier — and making life transformation an everyday reality.
Wherever you are, count your blessings, collect gifts, count it all joy. Because there’s no way to enter into His courts but through the gates of Thanksgiving — and it’s only in His presence is fullness of Joy!
The free app makes everyday Thanksgiving:
~ Launches with a quote from One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
~ Invites you to chronicle a gift with text or with photo.
~ Automatically chronologically counts and date stamps your gifts.
~ Allows you to search your gifts, scroll through your gifts, and share your gifts — via email, Facebook or Twitter. Stand in the assembly and give Him thanks, give Him glory! We were made for this!
~ Scroll through the #1000gifts Twitter Stream and read a symphony of thanksgiving to God!
Count Gifts — and know You can count on God… Keep Calm and Count On.
Download the free app at iTunes and for android devices– and invite one friend to take the dare to count gifts with you this gift giving season… because who doesn’t want the gift of being 25% happier?
Wherever thanks is possible… joy is always possible.
How is stress hurting you? Your relationships?
What’s your plan to manage stress this holiday season? How is giving thanks part of your stress intervention plan?
How is changing your perspective changing your life? How is giving thanks changing your life?