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Say Thank You: Defeating Fear with Gratefulness

Jerusha Agen Fighting Fear 12 Comments

Jerusha: Christian fiction writer, Rachel McDaniel, joins us today with some Fear Warrior encouragement! Let’s give her a warm FW community welcome!

By Rachel McDaniel

woman-crying-tears (1280x855)“Don’t forget to say thank you.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used that prompting with my children. After a while, it almost becomes instinctive. In trying to cultivate a heart of gratitude in my children, endeavoring to emphasize the importance of acknowledging one’s thankfulness, I’ve noticed I’ve been neglecting this in my own life.

A few weeks back, I experienced something I hope to never forget. Circumstances had pressed me from every angle, weighting my heart, pushing me to tears.

Anxiety beckoned me with its jagged finger, luring me to wade in waters of stress and confusion. I’ve immersed myself in that deceptive pool before, only to resurface with regret and anguish.

Fear can be pushy, but our victory over its clutches is simpler than you may think.

So here I am, tears streaming down my flushed face, while dread waits on its haunches, preparing to lunge into my soul. While fear shouted in an oppressive growl, a gentle voice seemed to whisper…“Don’t forget to say thank you.”

At that precise moment, I surely didn’t feel thankful, and struggled to think of one thing I could be grateful for.

But faith isn’t a feeling, right?

So I muttered out a thank you to God. Then it was like a sliver of light shone onto my heart, and I began to see clearer.

Park-sunny (1280x960)There were many things I could be thankful for, such as God’s salvation, protection, etc. So the next several moments consisted of speaking aloud everything I could think of to be thankful for—from the big things, like God’s mercy, to the smaller things, like sunny days at the park with my family. The longer I went, the lighter my heart had become.

What had happened? Just moments ago, I had thought I’d self-destruct with worry, and now a peace swept over me like a gentle spring breeze. Then I remembered Philippians 4:6.

…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

That verse came alive in me. We’ve always known there is significant power in prayer, but there’s also a dynamic force in thanksgiving. I experienced it that day.

I believe the miracle had emerged the moment my focus had shifted. Instead of dwelling on the fear, I became aware of the blessings that flooded my life. By voicing my thanks, I esteemed what God placed in my life in place of focusing on the enemy’s sneaky scheme of ruining my day, or week, with poisonous dread.

So I encourage you, no matter how tough and scary your trials are, to take a stand. Keeping your heart closed to fear by filling it with thankfulness.

And sometimes, yes, we have to actually speak our thanks aloud. There’s something about giving a voice to the heart’s musings and allowing them to register in our ears.

The choice is ours. We can live fearless and free, but don’t forget to say thank you.

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Have you tried saying “thank you” when you’re afraid? Has gratefulness ever calmed your fears? Please share!

RachelMcDaniel (518x480)Rachel Scott McDaniel writes Christian historical romance. Her passion is to weave the truth of God’s Word into entertaining and thought-provoking stories.

She’s a member of ACFW, where she was a finalist in the 2015 First Impressions contest. She’s also won the ACFW PA chapter’s Great Beginnings contest. She’s also an editorial traffic manager for a healthy-living magazine.

Her first and most important job is being the wife to her husband of fourteen years and mama to their two children.

Visit Rachel at her website, Twitter, or on Facebook.

Comments 12

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  1. Anne

    Love this post. I think of thankfulness as a gift from God. When we give it back to Him, our hearts are transformed. Great idea to use it to fight fear.

  2. Robyn Hook

    I don’t think about the importance of speaking gratefulness aloud, but it’s so important for my kids…and me to hear! This reminds me of, “I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips” (Psalm 34:1). Thank you, Rachel!

    1. Rachel McDaniel

      I love that verse, Robyn! So true. I agree it’s important for our kids to see. I truly prefer to read when it’s quiet and no distractions, but I purposefully read in front of them – distractions and all – so they can see Mommy living out faith. *hugs*

  3. Marjorie

    Thank you for the reminder to be grateful! God has done so much for us, I often wonder why I tend to focus on the negatives in my life. Philippians 4:6,7 have encouraged me many times through the years and it was good to be reminded to pray “with thanksgiving”. As Psalm 69:30 says, “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify Him with thanksgiving.”

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