Saturday, November 5, 2011

Passing along the gift of thanks...

One of the things I love about my job as a PA is patient education.  I love to explain how the body works, why I am prescribing a certain regimen or medicine and especially what lifestyle changes may help improve well-being.

Well, this whole gratitude thing has started to overflow into my daily clinical practice.  There are so many, many people living out of control lives with hurts, habits and hang-ups that disrupt sleep, relationships, jobs...the list goes on and on.

My approach first addresses a person's physical needs, immediate and long term.  Sometimes this involves medicine for a multitude or reasons.  But, then I also address a person's spiritual and emotional needs.  One of the easiest ways to approach this sometimes sensitive topic is to invite my patients to start a gratitude journal.  I have not run across one person who isn't willing to entertain the idea of giving thanks for small things and big things and everyday things in their lives.  Of course, the act of giving thanks begs the question, "Who are you thanking?"

So, time will tell if this practice and these conversations impact my patients for the kingdom, but I certainly have seen it transform things in my mind, heart and life.  I hope it will do the same for others.  I believe it can.

This gift God has given us in inviting us to give thanks all the time and in all circumstances is part of our freedom in Christ.  We are set free from worry about tomorrow or regret about yesterday when our mind is fixed on giving thanks for every small detail about today.  Sure, if a person has spent the majority of their lives fixed on worry, regret, anger....then the transformation of the mind will take time and practice.  But, that is what the gratitude list is all about.  Practicing and in doing so, being transformed.

We have had a lot of things in our family lately that could and should, according to the world, bring fear and anxiety.  But, I am thankful that God is good and thankful that He is faithful and thankful that His plans for me and my family are based on eternal purposes and He acts in love and thankful that He works all things together for our good.  Here are the latest gifts He has given...

~more days with my mother in law, Jean
~cousin time in Kansas
~calm, sure faith seen in my father-in-law
~seeing a good friend, healed of cancer
~first Husker game with Hallie and Jacob
~Zac's hugs and positive attitude
~a healthy report on Melia
~warm house when the wind blows
~wrestling, giggling brothers
~coming to mom for hugs when the wrestling gets out of hand
~coming to mom for a hug when Hallie bit her tongue
~dinner with our friends, celebrating our dear friend's birthday as one of the family
~hockey game with the kids
~Zac falling asleep in the car.
~Jacob's last words tonight, "I want Husker gear for Christmas, #22" (after a loss)

...the list goes on and on and makes me smile every time!