Overcoming Fear with Thanksgiving

I have found myself challenged for some time to learn thanksgiving and gratitude at a deeper level.  To just say the words seems like it would be so simplistic, so basic to live out.

However, I am finding that it is taking some time to learn this as a natural way of life.  Not necessarily so difficult when things are going well.  There is so much to be thankful for then.

But what about when moments are more difficult?  Or what of those moments that are even instilled and overflowing with fear?

Not so long ago I had an opportunity to put it into real life practice.

We were out taking a family hike.  When ready to head back, our oldest wanted to take a different trail... by himself.  Both he and my husband were convinced it would only be a short time before the two trails looped back around and joined each other.

The idea of the adventure was gripping my fifteen year old son in his eagerness to venture off for this short jaunt on his own.  And so we agreed, convinced we would soon meet up once again.

That is not how it turned out.

It didn't take long for us to realize that our paths would not meet up with his.  We were veering down the side of the great hill we had climbed in a different direction than we had projected.  We chose not to back track assuming that the trails would both dump out at the bottom in the same location.

Again, we were wrong.

Soon we realized that we were lost.  I was not so concerned for us.  My hubby, myself, our girl and the little guy were all together.  There was no fear in that.  But what about our oldest?  Where was he?  Had he found his way down?  Was he lost too?

Fear began to seize my heart.  My imaginations began to run wild.  Visions of what "might be" began to cloud out any sense of rational thinking.

This was my chance.  The challenge of giving thanks came to mind.  Yes, even in this situation as I felt my heart rate increase by the minute and found my mind racing in fear.

Thankfulness?  In this?  What was there to be thankful for?  And as I prayed, out of sheer determination of will my list started...


*  I'm thankful that he has the backpack with the granola bars and bottles of water.
*  I'm thankful that he has the dog with him.
*  I'm thankful that he has done this hike before.
*  I'm thankful that it is beautiful weather for a hike.
*  I'm thankful that he is healthy and in good physical shape.
*  I'm thankful that we have a cell phone.  Once we are again in some type of coverage we can call for help.
*  I'm thankful that we have watched many survival type shows and have done a lot of camping.  At least he knows basic survival tips.
*  I'm thankful that the rest of us are still together with only one being separated.
* I'm thankful that You, God, know where he is, even if I don't.
* I'm thankful....

And on it went, coming up with every thankful thought I could given the situation.

As my thankful list grew, my heart noticeably began to calm.  My panicked thoughts began to turn to the good in this situation rather than all of the frightening "what if's".  My pace settled in and my goal became to just get down to cell coverage.  To think of a realistic plan rather than be caught up in a panicked frenzy.

After some time we did reach cell phone coverage.  We called and arranged for family to go to the base of where we started our hike and had parked our car.

If he had made it down, we knew he should have been there by now.  We had already agreed that if they called back saying he wasn't there, our next call would be to emergency services as the sun was setting and night was quickly falling.

Not long after we made the first call, we received a call and my thankful list found itself increasing in great abundance as we learned the news that both he and the dog were sitting by our car... waiting.

As our walk continued to find exactly where we were and get back to our son and our car, my heart soared in thankfulness to a God who not only kept us all safe that day, but taught me a life changing lesson about overcoming fear with thanksgiving.
I Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT) "Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."

When was the last time you offered thanksgiving in what seemed the most unlikely of circumstances?  Have you ever tried it?

Something to consider...


  1. Scary! So thankful with you that things turned out well and that you were able to pray prayers of thanksgiving while you were anxious! I admire you for that.

    A little over a week ago my oldest brother fell from a ladder and hit his head on the steel bumper of a truck. He lost over 3 pints of blood, bruised his brain and had a small brain bleed. He was in ICU for 4 days and is still having trouble with weakness and saying the right words.

    At first, I thought "he's so tough, he'll be fine" Then as the realization of how serious it was hit, I was and am so thankful that he will be o.k. And the knowledge that whatever happens or had happened, he still would have been o.k. because he was in God's hands.

  2. This is the place God has me in this year as well - giving thanks in the hard places. Such a difficult concept to grasp at times. Thank you for sharing your illustration of practicing it!

  3. I find it is never easy to live out the things I say I believe Donnetta. I had a similar experience yesterday - trying to take a complaining spirit and make it thankful instead. It is a choice, and you chose well. His word proves true over and over again. He is so faithful.


Thank you for taking a moment to stop and chat. I enjoy the presence of you!