Changing My Mind

I’ve been challenged in my thinking lately due to a book I’ve been reading and have referred to in many past posts, Forgiving and Reconciling by Everett Worthington. (Yes, I’m still reading it … and rereading it.)

Silly me, I thought that I was simply going to learn about forgiveness and reconciliation from this book—a pretty hefty topic all on its own merits. But I feel like the author’s research and teachings on the subject go so much further and deeper into all of life and relationships.

So my paradigm for viewing and living life is shifting in a good direction due to the challenge set forth by Dr. Worthington. It has reminded me of the importance of looking for the good in all people and all things—not in a Pollyannaish way, but in an empathic and redemptive way.

I feel like God is using this new forgiveness process to remind me of some of the very obvious and direct challenges He has set forth in his own book—the Bible.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

Let me be clear—Forgiving and Reconciling is not just about doing the repair work after I’ve already become blisteringly bitter or even slightly hot under the collar toward someone’s insensitivity.

Instead, it’s about shifting the way I process a person’s actions and attitude—sometimes before that person ever offends me.

My Favorite “Rescued” Scarf

I’ve felt convicted that one way to undergird this positive approach is to utilize two of the very clear instructions from the verses above – prayer and thanksgiving.

So now every time I pray, I thank God for several people in my life whom I’m struggling to forgive or understand. This includes my husband, whom I often have trouble, at the very least, understanding!

It’s a minor change, but I feel like it is going to produce great results. I’m already feeling more positive in difficult situations and less discontent overall.

I would think that most who have a messy marriage, or a messy moment or two in marriage, would benefit from a daily thankful repositioning of the heart.

Much thanks goes to Ann Voskamp who already got this ball rolling so very long ago and also has a book on the subject … 1000 Gifts.

Today I’m linking up with Ann and sharing with you some of the ways I’m thankful for my husband …

  • He is always happy to see me in the morning … of all times! When my hair is sticking up in all directions and my eyes are puffy from sleeping and my disposition is less than sunny, he gladly greets me.
  • He drove all the way back to the theater to retrieve rescue my scarf that I’d left in my theater seat, simply because it was my favorite scarf. 
  • He never forgets to extend his hand to pray with me each day. A habit we began doing daily back last May and are still going strong!
  • Ro elliott

    I am going to check out this book…I need this challenge too…some relationships that have not found there way back to reconciliation yet…change of focus is always good…thanks for this post…a good way for me to start my day…blessings~

  • messymarriage

    I’m so glad that you found this post helpful. And I hope that you find the book helpful too. There’s a lot to absorb and think through, but it’s the best I’ve found on the subject. Thanks so much for stopping by, Ro!

  • Rosann

    Love that you chose to list things you’re grateful for specifically regarding your husband. When my husband was going through his very long season of unemployment I found myself stopping to pray every time I’d feel negative emotions about him. Over time, God removed those negative thoughts and replaced them with reasons to be grateful for having him in my life. We recently celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary and can honestly say we’re more in love now than we’ve ever been. Life gets…messy…at times and when we have the right approach and attitude – seeking God when we feel weak – we actually deepen our bond with our mate and with God. 🙂

  • Being intentionally thankful (and some days it is HARD) definitely changes a person’s perspective…and it’s hard to be angry with someone you are praying for. The heart changes through prayer. (Another thing to be grateful for!)

    Thank you for visiting my blog today and commenting. I’ve bookmarked you so I can visit again. Lots of good thoughts to check out here.

  • messymarriage

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Rosann!

  • messymarriage

    It IS hard, Stacy! But you’re so right about the practice of prayer helping make things so much better. Thanks so much for stopping by and encouraging me!

  • soulstops

    Wonderful thoughts and reminder about gratitude…it is very sweet that your husband went back to get your scarf…does the author of the book distinguish between forgiveness and reconciliation? I had read one book (that I can’t recall the title) that distinguishes between the two by saying forgiveness is one you can do on your own but reconciliation requires both parties to participate. Thanks, Beth 🙂 Blessings to you and yours 🙂