Last week I had the privilege of traveling out to Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology which was hosting this year’s conference for The Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology, and Religion. I was asked by the OCAMPR board to present a workshop on the topic ‘Gratitude During Times of Suffering.’ My talk, which was recorded on Ancient Faith Radio, is available by clicking on the video below. It is also available for mp3 download here.
These two videos of Nick Vujicic are really inspiring. He is a man born without any limbs (no arms, no legs), yet he has trained his mind to exist in a constant state of gratefulness through focusing on the blessings he does have. He has an amazing ministry as an evangelist and motivational speaker, constantly reminding people to focus on the things they can be grateful for.
Often when people say “Count your blessings” it sounds kind of Hallmarky and sentimental, but when Nick gives this message it has substance because he really knows what it means to suffer (he tried to commit suicide at age 10) while still rising above suffering by being grateful to God.
His message is particularly relevant with Thanksgiving approaching. Every year at Thanksgiving many families have a tradition of giving each person a turn to put a piece of corn in a basket and saying something they’re grateful for. Often someone will say they’re thankful for an ordinary thing we take for granted, like air, or arms or life itself, and when someone says this it is usually interpreted as a joke, or assumed to be something the person thought of at the last moment because they couldn’t think of anything else. But if Nick Vujicic is correct, these are precisely the types of things we ought to be thankful for all the time. It’s easy to be grateful for the out-of-the-ordinary blessings God sends our way; but the real test of gratefulness is whether we can be thankful for the ordinary things in life that most of us take for granted, like limbs. Watch these amazing videos and pass them on to a friend.
Below is a fascinating Ted Talk about cognitive reframing, presented by the psychologist Alison Ledgerwood. She explains how the human mind naturally finds it easy to reframe positive events in negative terms, and how it requires more effort to convert negatives into positives.