If I’m honest with you, I’d tell you that on any given day I experience too much anxiety, and too little gratitude. No doubt about it—there’s so much to worry about and fret over. It seems like I unknowingly crack open a door through which anxiety regularly strolls into my normal, everyday life.
But there’s also the beauty of gratitude. When I intentionally get my heart and mind into a posture that’s thankful, there’s no better way to live, this side of heaven.
I think it’s all a matter of focus. Jesus talks about it in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 6:25-34, He speaks about all of the things that we can worry about. He also gives a remedy to worry.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” —Matthew 6:25-27,33-34
It’s all a matter of focus.
I learned about this kind of focus in the middle of a baseball game. Not just any baseball game, but an almost-sold-out, crowd screaming, playoff atmosphere MLB game! God picks the craziest moments to teach us the deepest truths.
We were playing the Detroit Tigers. It was a huge game that had playoff consequences for the Tigers. I was the starting pitcher, and in the middle of the game I remembered something that a mentor of mine told me years prior: The part of the human brain that experiences anxiety is the same part of the brain that experiences gratitude. Therefore, the two cannot be experienced at the same time.
Yes, I honestly remembered that during an important MLB game. In other words, if you’re worried about something, find something to intentionally be thankful for.
So in the middle of a game, I put that theory to the test. I tell the story of what happened next in a video that appears on TheIncrease.com.
I don’t want to be the guy who had some issues with worry, then figured it all out, and is preaching to you now. I’m not that guy. Worry and anxiety are always something most of us will struggle with until the day we die. That’s certainly true for me. But Jesus gives us a practical way out of worry. We can become grateful instead.
It’s all a matter of focus.
—Kyle Gibson, Minnesota Twins Pitcher
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