Counting our blessings

During the 1950s and 60s we sang an old chorus that we well might sing again. "When upon life's billows you are tempted and tossed, when you are discouraged thinking all is lost; Count your many blessings, name them one by one. Count you many blessings, see what God has done."

These are not easy days. Many people are discouraged, some are on the edge ready to call it quits. It is easy to forget our blessings. Just this afternoon I spent time with a middle-aged man who called me. He was discouraged and really needed someone to talk to and pray with. This is quite often my lot. Occasionally I find myself struggling with vicarious trauma. This is not unusual for people who do chaplaincy and Christian ministry. It can be easy to identify too closely with those who are hurting; that is something we should not allow to happen to us.

Recently a woman in our senior adult Bible study group said that she had started making a list of blessings. Each day she lists one or two blessings of that day. Those of us who know the Lord have long advocated the practice of praising and thanking the Lord during hard times. Five, ten or thirty minutes of praising God out loud can do wonders to change how we feel. Discouragement never comes from God. It comes from the devil, our own individual self or others.

The lady who said that each day she adds to her list of blessings suggested it is really worth a try. Many and perhaps most of us thank God for our blessings. I am going to try a written list that can be added to. We will let you know down the road sometime how it is going. Have a good day, week and month as you count your blessings and give thanks for them.

For the 2010 Club, July 25 takes us to Psalms 46 and Acts 25.

Have a blessed week.

Crist Langelett, known to North St. Paul and Maplewood readers as a longtime Review columnist, is a chaplain for the North St. Paul city, police and fire departments, a chaplain at Washington County Jail, a past president of the North St. Paul Area Emergency Food Shelf and one of the founders of North St. Paul's Polar Arena. He is active in his local church and in civic groups.