An​ Rx for Abundant Life

CrossOver reflection for Week 45 • Beginning October 13, 2019
We Make the Road by Walking, Chapter 6

By Emilie Kroen

The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
– Psalm 145:9

“I am blessed to be a blessing.” 

This is my breath prayer from “Plotting Goodness.” As I write this reflection: “I am blessed to be a blessing.”

“I am blessed” – Oh how blessed! 
Even when I feel unworthy, I am blessed. 
Even when I feel inadequate, I am blessed.
Even when my words hurt others, I am blessed. 
Even when I cry out in anguish, I am blessed.
Even when in my selfishness, I fail to help the hurting, I am blessed.
Even when my actions stray from God’s will, I am blessed.
Forever and ever, God’s goodness blesses me and you, and you, and you, and you, and you too.

How does this knowledge of being blessed move from head to heart? To foster a grateful heart, we must take time to acknowledge the goodness in our lives daily. I do it by keeping a gratitude journal. Others use music, meditation, or using a tactile reminder like carrying a rock, coin, cross, or another small object in their pocket.

Did you know*:

As we create gratitude, we generate a positive ripple effect through every area of our lives — our desire for happiness, our pursuit of better relationships, and our ceaseless quest for inner peace, health, wholeness, and contentment. Studies show that gratitude has a positive impact on our physical, psychological, and social lives. 

A grateful heart can provide a stronger immune system and lower our blood pressure. Gratitude can also lead to higher levels of positive emotions such as joy and optimism, help us sleep better, and inspire us to exercise more and take better care of our health. 

Psychologists remind us that what flows through the mind sculpts the brain. If we ask our mind to give thanks, our mind gets better at finding things to be thankful for, and we naturally become more grateful.

Gratitude is a relationship-strengthening emotion that helps us to recognize how we are supported and affirmed by other people. With a grateful heart, we become more helpful, generous, compassionate, and forgiving. 

Gratefulness is the lasting residue that we can weave into our very being. Gratitude enhances our wellbeing and compels us as a grateful person to do good — to be a blessing to others.

While we hopefully don’t make a practice of “plotting evil,” each of us tries to plot our path forward. Even when we have a good idea where we want to go, flexibility, like gratitude, can serve us well. My husband and I took a long road trip last year to visit National Parks across the country. Our plan was detailed and comprehensive, but there were surprises and detours.

Abram and Sara undertook a long journey as well. Unlike my husband and I, they had no map to follow, and no idea where the destination was. But God was faithful, and His focus never wavered. While there were plenty of surprises, when they stepped out in faith, they were met with blessings that continue through the ages to all generations.

The blessings that surround us when we stop to notice them should overwhelm us. As we have eyes to see how abundantly our lives are blessed, we know there is much to share. May we make a conscious effort (maybe even a plot) to show goodness to others, and practice gratitude, ever on life’s journey.

May I be a blessing to others – today I pray
When I trust in God’s goodness, I am a blessing.
When I recognize my worthiness and acknowledge the worthiness of others, I am a blessing. 
When I use my giftedness to do God’s will, I am a blessing
When I choose my thoughts and words to show grace and mercy, I am a blessing
When I am vulnerable and humbly share my story to help another, I am a blessing.
When this hurting world compels me to give generously of my gifts, time, and money in ways that heal, I am a blessing.
When my actions build up God’s kingdom and reflecting his love and solidarity with others and all creation, I am a blessing.
In God’s blessing economy, God’s goodness blesses me and you, and you, and you. And we bless each other and all God’s creation too.

Jesus’ teaches us to live out our faith, trusting in God’s “promise of being blessed to be a blessing.” To me, this is the prescription for Abundant Life.

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have life more abundantly.”
– Luke 10:10b

*I learned these things from reading Robert Emmon’s “The Little Book of Gratitude” & M. J. Ryan’s book “Attitudes of Gratitude.” 

Emilie Kroen was raised in the Methodist Church. She and her husband Tom are retired and live in Tualatin where they worship and serve at Tualatin United Methodist Church. Their adult son, Matthew, lives nearby. Emilie is Associate Lay Leader for Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference. She also leads the Abundant Health work team and serves on the Ministry Leadership Team. Four years ago, Emilie retired from a career in the credit union industry; the last eight years as a senior financial examiner for the State of Oregon.

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