“When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your many blessings; name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” I have pondered on this song for a while now and while sometimes I feel thorns in my side when life attacks me, I feel liberated by its lyrics that help me realize how truly blessed I am.
Most often we lose sight of our blessings because we are so focused on other people’s lives especially when they are doing better than us. Some of us look at our peers and say things like “I wish it was me” or “why do I have to go through this” but have we ever thought about what we have that our peers who we envy do not have?
Even in our own personal lives. When something bad happens to us, we focus on it, lament about it, worry about it, tell the whole world about it and promptly forget about anything else that was positive in our lives. It’s easier for us to focus on the bad in a situation and forget all the good and I think the author of this hymn was onto that because the lyrics hit so close to home with accuracy that is timeless.
But what we fail to realise is that counting one’s blessings is one of the most powerful practices you can ever do and it will magically turn your whole life around. When you’re grateful for the things you have, no matter how small they may be, you will see those things instantly increase. If you’re grateful for a relationship, even if it’s not perfect, you will see it miraculously get even better. If you’re grateful for the job that you have, even if it’s not your dream job, things will begin to change so that you enjoy your job more and all kinds of opportunities for your work will suddenly appear.
The flipside is that when we are not counting our blessings, we can fall into the trap of unintentionally counting negative things. We count negative things when we talk about the things we do not have. We count negative things when we criticize or find fault with other people, when we complain about traffic, waiting in lines, delays, the government, not enough money, or the weather. When we count negative things they increase too, but on top of that, with every negative thing we count, we cancel out blessings that were on their way. I have tried both – counting my blessings and counting negative things and I can assure you that counting your blessings is one way to have abundance in your life.
There is something refreshing about counting one’s blessings. It’s a reminder that whatever situation you are in, it’s really not that bad and that this too shall pass. It gives you the strength to go on. It reminds you that indeed God is still here and He is still good.
So I don’t know about you, but I’ve made a decision to do it more regularly, for myself and for others. Maybe you should try it too. Maybe everybody should try it.
Until then, keep counting your blessings.