October 30, 2015

When Discouraged, Give Thanks by Susan Barclay

Your problem is you still believe in your own life. ~Volkheimer to Werner in 'All the Light We Cannot See' (Anthony Doerr)
This quote pretty much sums up how I've been feeling recently. Discouraged, disappointed and sad that I don't have more time to write, that other obligations demand so much of me, that my life is not, in fact, my own. I understand that there are seasons and that you can't control everything that comes your way, but still. I'd rather be writing. Amen?

I'm reminded that we're to give thanks in all things. So I give thanks that even though I'm not able to write as much as I'd like, there are things that I'm able to do. I can:
  • write a little bit. I even submitted a couple of pieces this week, which was maybe more than I could have hoped for.
  • work.
  • be there for my family: my husband, who has a lot on his plate; my daughter, away at school but within reach; my son, as he makes important decisions about his future; my mom, who is living with us right now.
  • participate in my monthly book club and enjoy books that show me what great writing looks like (and what not-so-great writing looks like, too!)
  • attend my monthly writers' group meetings, even when I don't have anything to share. I can help others move forward with their own work.
  • enjoy the weekly fellowship of my church small group.
I'm also thankful for all the things I have:
  • the love and prayers of family and friends, both those near and those far away.
  • my dog's unconditional love. Sometimes even fur-family can be like Jesus with skin on (and I hope it's not sacrilegious to believe so!)
  • shelter
  • food
  • income
  • health
  • clothing
  • transportation
God wants us to be thankful even when life isn't going the way we'd hoped or planned. The best way to be thankful is to look around (as I have done here), then make a list and refer to it often as a way of remembering all the blessings. As Kristin Armstrong says,
When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in.
When we experience the fullness of love, God's love, does anything else really matter?
Please also enjoy my website at www.susanbarclay.wordrpess.com


  1. "God wants us to be thankful even when life isn't going the way we'd hoped or planned." This statement and your whole blog convicted me, Susan. MY plan? MY hopes? When I'm feeling overwhelmed, perhaps it's time to ask God about HIS plan, HIS hopes for me. Thank you!

  2. Anonymous9:07 am GMT-7

    That is a great gratitude list! I absolutely adored All the Light We Cannot See. Sometimes life is really about acceptance of what is, and then choosing our attitude over it, isn't it?

  3. 'Amen' - to the first part (I with I had more time for myself and my writing) but also to the more important piece about being thankful and focusing on what I can do. Thanks for this encouraging post!

  4. Thank you Susan for having your hand on the pulse of writers! I felt like we were sitting across from each other having coffee (or your beverage of choice) and debriefing with each other! Your blog reminded me of the power of our presence, so to speak, as we communicate and listen with our hearts. Thank you so much for your the words of your heart my friend!

  5. It is so true that gratitude affects your attitude. Thank you for your honesty and I pray that your focus on thankfulness will encourage you.

  6. Sometimes it's good to realize what we can do rather than to complain about what we can't do. You are showing a good attitudinal approach. Some months back one of our InScribers wrote a blog on using short time periods for writing. I have experimented with this since then, and I find it to be effective. This has something to do with the length of time our brain can focus on what we are doing. To read more about this method, google "writing for 25 minute sessions" or the Pomodoro Technique.

  7. Susan, as I read your post, I became thankful. As I browsed through your gratitude, you reminded me of my own specific circumstances and people, and I felt such gratitude welling up in me. Bless your heart, I appreciate your reminder that we have a choice in what perspective we will take during our days.


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