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Count your blessings

By QuaWanna Bannarbie

Have you ever awakened from your sleep with a song playing on repeat in your head?

This happens to me so much you would think that I sleep with music playing on the radio. When I awake to music or songs on my mind, it is often a call to worship. It is not odd to me that when my cerebral choir is singing the same song repeatedly, that God has a message for me. Often the songs are familiar, and the message is clear.

Earlier this week, I awakened to the words of a hymn that I don’t believe I have ever sung in my life. I cannot say that I know any other part of the song other than the refrain:

“Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!”

The song is appropriate for the Thanksgiving holiday, as we are encouraged to be thankful. “Count Your Blessings” is one of the best hymns of thanksgiving. Holidays and music have an intertwining relationship. Holiday gatherings, events and event marketing campaigns are often connected to a jingle or musical chord of some kind. In fact, studies have shown that music is used in shopping centers to encourage shoppers to stay longer and spend. Surely, Black Friday shoppers were met with numerous reminders in musical form that it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. But before you rush so quickly to purchase anything and are drawn away by the compulsive Christmas list, make another list. Count your blessings.

Research into improving personal wellbeing suggests that taking the time to practice gratitude habits is intrinsic motivation to pursue and achieve your personal best. At this time of year, it is also critical in recognizing everything you own that money cannot buy.

Do you need motivation to finish the year strong? Count your blessings.

Are you missing a deceased relative this holiday season? Count your blessings for the memories shared.

Did you make a new friend or start a new relationship this year? Count your blessing for the addition to your community and your resources.

Is your loved one serving in the military away from home? Count your blessings for a nation where men and women willingly sacrifice themselves to protect the freedom of all that live here.

Some families take a moment around the family room and share something that they are thankful for on Thanksgiving Day. This practice is referred to as tradition, but it is treatment. When you remind yourself of the good in your life, perhaps this will be the first season that you avoid overspending or overcharging, because you realize your blessings have been outpouring.

I just learned the last stanza of the hymn “Count Your Blessings.” I pray as you read it, you recognize life itself is a blessing. Make it count.

“So, amid the conflict whether great or small,

Do not be discouraged, God is over all;

Count your many blessings, angels will attend,

Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.”

Psalm 138:8 reminds us that we labor not in vain. “The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth forever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.” As long as God is God — and He is — we will be counting blessings.

QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of nonprofit leadership and management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.