By Laura Busse
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
– 1 Thessalonians 5:18
– 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Seventeen years ago, my husband gave me a running watch for my birthday. What he intended to be a gift, I received as criticism wrapped around my wrist. A running watch. Really? Great, so he thinks I’m fat. He’s right. I’d better go jogging to jiggle off all this extra baby blubber.
To make matters worse, my husband set the watch’s alarm to sound at 3 pm because he didn’t want me to be late to a doctor’s appointment. Great! After seven years of marriage, my husband sums me up as fat and always late. Swell.
Negative, judgmental voices echoed in my head, “You could jog two hours a day, Laura and you’d still be fat. It’s no use, you’ll never be thin.”
I’ve wrestled with my weight my whole life. My dad put me on my first diet in 8th grade. He portioned and weighed my food, making me eat horrible things like Brussels sprouts. But when my dad wasn’t home, I’d fight back and sneak a big bowl of ice cream.
Why I didn’t fall into the deep, dark chasm of an eating disorder is beyond me. But what I did fall into was a pit of negativity.
At the bottom of the pit, the same tapes of criticism and comparison played over and over in my mind.
After giving birth to three children in five years, nothing in my closet fit. I was still wearing those stretchy maternity jeans, and our baby was nine months old. How could other women pop back into their pre-pregnancy pants so quickly?
Everywhere I went, I saw skinny moms. At the grocery store, I spied a woman pushing young kids in a shopping cart looking like she’d just stepped out of Glamour Magazine. At the park, a woman lifted her child up onto a swing exposing her six-pack abs.
“Beep, beep, beep…” There it was again, that annoying 3 pm alarm. I had no idea how to change it, and the directions were long gone. Every day I’d quickly turn it off and get back to whatever I was doing. But for some reason, that afternoon in the park, when the alarm sounded, dots connected in my brain, which stopped me dead in my tracks.
Like watching a movie trailer, my mind flashed to the different places I’d been with the kids over the past several weeks at 3 pm; the library, park, grocery, and on the couch. Different places, but all with one common theme: critical, judgmental, berating thoughts were reeling through my mind. Crap!
As a third generation teacher, I knew that what I modeled to my children, they’d grow up to become. I cringed. I stared at my three young children, their minds full of wild imagination and wonder. I refused to squelch their spirits with my toxic thoughts.
What could override negativity? Gratitude.
Seventeen years ago, I started a daily practice that changed my life. When my 3 pm alarm sounded, instead of rushing to shut it off and jumping back into busyness, I looked up to God, gave Him thanks and praise, and chose to live out my faith in Jesus one day at a time. I now call this spiritual practice The 3 O’Clock Wake Up Call.
Every day, regardless of my circumstances or mood, my 3 O’Clock Wake Up Call reminds me to give God thanks when I otherwise wouldn’t think to.
These intentional moments of gratitude have reset my mind and realigned my attitude to be more like Jesus’.
Jesus was constantly thanking God; before He fed 5,000 people, before He raised Lazarus from the dead, and before He broke bread during the Last Supper.
Giving thanks to God every day has stirred up a fire in my heart to know Jesus more. I about fell off my chair when I discovered that Jesus died on the cross at 3 pm. All these years I’d been thanking God at the exact hour of His greatest act of love. Wow, if our salvation through faith in Jesus is not something to be thankful for, I don’t know what is!
Throughout the Bible, God reminds us to rejoice, give thanks and praise Him at all times. Science is now catching up with God’s commands. In 2015, neuroscientists at the University of Southern California concluded that gratitude is associated with better mental health, increased resilience to trauma, and improves overall satisfaction of life.
I still jiggle when I jog and my husband still nudges me not to be late, but thankfully I no longer live in a pit of negativity. A daily dose of gratitude has freed me from criticism and comparison. I celebrate with friends who run marathons and I thank God for hikes with my husband. I’ve learned that God cares more about our hearts and minds than He does about the size of our jeans.
During this Thanksgiving week, I invite you to join The 3 O’Clock Wake Up Call. Discover for yourself how a daily practice of stopping, looking up and giving God thanks can ignite your faith and change your world.
We have so much to be thankful for…let’s take a moment to be reminded every day.
Laura Busse lives in Boulder, CO with her husband and three non-stop teenagers. As the founder of The 3 O'Clock Wake Up Call, she envisions a world where everyone in every nation gives thanks to God, every day at 3 pm. If you want to start getting daily 3 O’Clock Wake Up Call messages, you can either download the free mobile app (be sure to say “yes” to getting push notifications), or get text messages by texting 3PM to 313131.