Mary Fairchild, Christianity Guide for About.com has worked full time in Christian ministry since 1988 serving in several capacities, including Missionary, Assistant to the Pastoral Staff, Administrative Assistant and Office Manager for a large church.
Her website helps people in their Christian walk by offering offer resources for living your faith in today's world. She offers solutions to life's problems through practical tools such as following a daily Bible reading plan and spending time with God.
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Wishing you "Blessing's from Above,"
Counting My Blessings and Yours! by Mary Fairchild
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. (NLT)
A recent Guest Poster to this Blessings from Above blog talked about the song with the lyrics, "When you can't sleep, count your blessings, not sheep."
Thankfully, I have been blessed with the ability to fall asleep rather easily at night. There have only been rare times in my life when sleep came with difficulty, and for that I am extremely grateful. But recently, I joined a small group Bible study, and some of the women in the group have been struggling to fall asleep at night. Together they've been learning that counting their blessings is a very effective method for inducing sleep.
One of the women described her self-taught technique. When she puts her head on the pillow at night, she thinks back through the day, and begins to thank God for each blessing, and every good thing he has done for her in the last 24 hours. She does this chronologically going back through the hours, but she rarely makes it past the afternoon before falling fast asleep. Another women practices the same basic method, but she uses the alphabet to name each blessing. She seldom finishes the full alphabet before skipping ahead to "Zzzzzz." The women in my Bible study group are looking more and more rested each week.
This started me wondering, why do you suppose this technique works so well? I don't think it's because as we count our blessings, we get so bored that we simply nod off to sleep. Rather, I suspect that as we count our blessings, our bodies begin to relax in peaceful, trusting rest, knowing that we are being kept safe in the Lord's loving care. The anxiousness from the day begins to melt into thankful, restful worship, and as Psalm 4:8 promises, in peace we lie down and sleep.
Counting Your Blessings
Another way I like to count the Lord's blessings, is by considering how he has blessed those around me. I love to hear and read the testimonies of other Christians. When I realize what God has done for someone else, it reminds me of my own personal reasons to give him thanks! By looking back at my transformed life, I can't help but praise the Lord for all he's done since I gave my life to him 27 years ago.
Each week I highlight a Christian testimony on my website. These are true stories submitted by site visitors, telling about their relationship with God and how it has made a difference in their life. Reading these stories about changed lives has proved to be a great way to quickly turn my focus toward the blessings of God. In fact, if you're looking for a way to encourage your faith and count your blessings, you might want to sign up for eTestimonies, and receive hope and encouragement in the form of a real-life testimony emailed to your inbox each week.
Here are some sample excerpts of the closing words from a few of the testimonies:
"In the eyes of this world I was a total loser, a wreck. But, God chose me and overcame everything, even my own self-destructiveness, to give me his love and a new life. Words are too limited to express accurately God's greatness, compassion and creativity. I am loved. I have a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11 NASB)."
"It was Jesus Christ who rescued me and who gave me salvation. He set me free from all drug and alcohol addictions. My depression left. The Lord helped me to be strong and to overcome ... I am headed toward heaven. Thank God and Praise the Lord! He was the best thing that ever happen to me."
"When I focus on the Lord, the negative stuff that has happened to me holds less importance. He helps me focus on what I can do, not on what I can't. Robert Schuller says it well, 'Look not at what you've lost, but look at what you have left.' Being thankful and counting our blessings is much more rewarding than mulling over things that we cannot change."
Can you see now, just how encouraging it is to count the blessings of others too?