What We Focus On Grows {Where Is Your Focus?}

Too often we are quick to remember our difficulties more than our blessings; but one important lesson to remember is what we focus on grows.  #WomenLivingWell #OnlineBibleStudy #BiblestudyforWomen #givingthanks

I remember sitting in a Sunday evening service, over a decade ago, and watching the couple in front of me worship. Together this couple sang with their hands lifted high in abandon to God.  Their worship was beautiful and in that moment blessed me.

Now let’s fast forward to a decade later. Since then, the wife has given birth to a baby with down syndrome.  After this, they discovered the husband had a debilitating disease that would lead to him being in a wheel chair and needing full care.  This couple shined with the joy of the Lord through this dark time, despite the trials they were facing.  Then sadly, the husband lost his battle to his disease and passed away.

A few Sundays ago, this same woman — who I watched a decade ago worship with her husband — was a few rows in front of me.  This time she stood with her special needs daughter beside her and both of them sang with their hands lifted high to the Lord.


She’s still praising and giving thanks to the Lord, despite the decade of trials I have watched her go through from afar.

Oh that we would continue praising, continue trusting, continue singing and continue giving thanks to God through the ups and downs of life.

I have not faced anything near as hard as this mom has faced.  Her strength to continue to sing and give thanks to God, encourages me.

C.H. Spurgeon said,

“too many people write their blessings in the sand but their sorrows in marble.”

It is so easy to list all of our sorrows and troubles in our lives rather than our blessings.

What we focus on grows.  Where is your focus?

If we focus on our troubles – it will grow.

Recently I had something really eating at me.  I thought and thought about it and the more I thought about it – the bigger it grew in my head. Then I talked with someone about it and after hearing my own words out loud – I felt kind of stupid. I couldn’t believe I had made it such a big deal in my mind.  It’s like this problem had mushroomed in my mind beyond what it really was in real life.

Have you done this before?  Please say I’m not alone! Lol!

What we focus on grows.  Where is your focus?

The minute I was busy doing other things and started thinking a different set of thoughts – this problem shrunk back to it’s real size and I got over it.

Colossians 3:15 & 16 says:

15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.


Be thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.

Sing psalms.

Sing hymns.

Sing spiritual songs.

With what?

Thankfulness in your heart to God.

Last month, the Making Your Home a Haven Series, was all about pursuing peace in our hearts and homes.  Here we see in scripture – peace and thankfulness and singing praises to God –  are all best friends.  They belong together.

When we sing songs to the Lord, our peace grows.

When we give thanks, a grateful heart grows.

We we study God’s word, our thankfulness to Christ grows.

So this week’s challenge is a repeat:

Light your candle daily in your home and each time the flicker catches your eye, give thanks to God for an ordinary thing in your life.  

Add to the candle some praise music – or if you’re like me – some Christmas music!  It’s time friends!  Praising and thanking God will drown out our sorrows.  

What we focus on grows.  Where is your focus?

If we focus on our troubles – they will grow like a mushroom.

If we focus on giving thanks – we will have merry hearts despite our troubles.

Continue to be intentional this week in your home.

Walk with the King,



Let’s continue listing 5 ORDINARY things we are thankful for.  If you haven’t shared yet – join us!  If you have – come add more to the list in the comment section.

Have you started listening to Christmas music? Which album is your favorite?
I just bought Chris Tomlin’s newest Christmas Album titled “Adore” last week!

**Affiliate Link



  1. 5 ordinary things Im thankful for….My backpack, beef barley soup, my planner, TUMS, and a nearly empty lecture hall.
    I (along with many others) found out shortly after class was supposed to start today that our Professor was sick. I stayed behind and ate my soup and did homework before heading back home.
    No Christmas music yet. Not until Dec 1st.

  2. I am thankful for: the unexpected sunshine on a crisp Wisconsin November day, cozy warm blankets, hot tea, when a recipe turns out well ;-), a desire to learn and hunger for biblical knowledge.
    Just today I had a conversation with my friend about another friend, this stemmed from a “mushroom” that i let grow ugly. I realized after the words left my mouth how disgusted i was that my heart actually hid these feelings. i’m sorry the words came out, but i have a repentant heart and ask God to fill my heart with love and encouragement in place of that ickiness i harbored. So Thank You Courtney for your honesty!

    1. Thank you so much Jen for sharing this!!! You are not alone. We all struggle in our minds with hard things. I love that you have responded with repentance and making it right with God- so beautiful – the mark of a true believer!!

      Keep walking with the King!

  3. I am thankful to be here living with my Mom and my Stepdad and my two younger sisters. I love them very much, and even though I am 27 years old and I’m in college, I am thankful to have a beautiful family here with me. I am thankful to live a new day with God leading me every step of the way in His perfect path.

    Thank you God because you are so good to me, thank you for this season because I have found Good morning girls to hold me accountable in my daily reading of the word of God each morning. Thank you God because each day you provide for me. Sometimes I wonder how I do it, but you are always here with me.

    I love you Jesus!!!

    With Love,

    Jessica Medina

    1. Thank you for sharing Jessica… your youth in age, but wisdom in heart is encouraging! I am almost twice your age and your post reminds me to be youthful in my outlook — focus on enthusiasm and energy toward gratefulness. Blessings to you!

  4. Thank you for the post. I woke up this morning really down about some things and this post help redirect my focus.

  5. I am thankful for my friends, my co-workers, my students(I am a teacher), my prayer group, GMG, and the crisp morning air. I love all Christmas music! Great post! My favorite part was the quote from Spurgeon….thank you!

  6. 5 things I’m thankful for: 1. My new planner (nothing like good old pen and paper!). 2. Coffee mugs that fit just so in my hands. 3. New candles that fill my home with sweetness. 4. New growing friendships. 5. Skinny gingerbread frapp…..yumm!!

  7. 5 things: my daily cup of chai, my daughter’s squeaky shoes, my baby carrier, youtube’s music selection, and fluffy blankets.

    God’s been showing me this exact thing lately, very clear He’s trying to get my attention! Thank you for letting Him speak through you.

    (I will say though that the candle thing isn’t practical for us. Between having two hyper cats in a small apartment and an active 17 month old, there’s not really a safe place to put a lit candle.)

  8. I’m thankful for sweet baby smiles, my laughing toddlers, homemade gourmet coffees (my husband makes the best!), sliding doors on my minivan and I’m thankful for GMG. You’ve been such a blessing to me, Courtney!
    And, yes, I’m playing Christmas music, too! I just bought Erin Bates’ new Christmas album “Comfort and Joy.” It’s piano and violin instrumental and my kids and I love having it play all day! It has a great selection of upbeat songs and classics!

  9. the sound of heat coming out of our floorboards…a husband who kissed me goodbye as he just left for work…the ability to hear my puppies barking at the quarrels (yes…the incessant barking is an initial irritant – but i CAN HEAR):)

  10. Your words were just for me this morning! Thankful for my hard working husband, five wild kiddos to stay home and raise, a kitchen full of food, good health and strength for the task God has given me, and most of all a saviour who loves me! It’s impossible to be truly thankful and unhappy at the same time!

  11. Thanks for sharing Courtney. I always let things “mushroom” in my head until I talk to my husband or friend about it. He usually puts it in perspective for me! I’m thankful for my husband and kids, my grandkids, my job that I really like, my dear friends and my new living room furniture!!?

  12. I am thankful for monthly date nights with my husband, “big” hugs from my 3 daughters, my sewing machine and my morning coffee!

    We have started streaming some Christmas music throughout our home. It definitely helps relax my spirit.

  13. I cannot thank you enough Courtney. You’re ministry is such a blessing to me. I have not started playing Christmas music yet but am inspired after reading the article and comments. I bought Aaron Shust’s Christmas cd last year after Christmas on sale. Even though I listened to it a few times after I got it, it’s still new to me.

    My thankful list-1. my dad has visited us part of the week. I’m thankful for that. My mom died 2 months ago so our time together is even more precious. 2. I’m thankful that my husband got to Colorado safe this week for work. 3. Diet coke. 4. Clean water that provides drinking water and warm showers. 5. Our furnace. It’s getting colder here so I’m thankful for the heat that warms up our home.

  14. I’m thankful for the cooler weather, the rain, Biblegateway.com, hot chocolate with Hazelnut creamer, and wonderful encouragers. I’m listening to “The Young Messiah.” (Word, 1990) It’s my annual Fall music anticipating the birth of the Savior.

  15. Thanks for a this post!

    I am thankful for my new puppy, the smile on my girls faces when playing with the new puppy, a loving huband, VETERANS and my church!

  16. Courtney, your post was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you for following the lead of the Lord.

    I am thankful for Good Morning Girls!
    I am thankful for laundry because this means that I have a family who has clothes to wear.
    I am thankful for having to clean my home because this means that I have a home for my family.
    I am thankful for dirty dishes because my family was provided with food to eat.
    I am thankful for being a part of my Good Morning Girls group because I have the opportunity to grow closer to the Lord with a great group of women.

    I have not started listening to Christmas music yet but I will soon.

  17. I am thankful for:
    messy bedrooms,
    sofa cushion and blanket forts,
    Lego creations,
    mud tracks across the kitchen floor,
    giggles and goodnight hugs!
    Funny how when you really think about it, some of the things I can complain about are actually things I am grateful for and will one day miss….

  18. Good morning!
    I’m thankful for my hard working husband,my 5 kiddoes with wonderful and at times perplexing personalities, a wood heated old farm house that is getting cozier and cozier as the temps start to go down.A washing machine and dryer,running water and lights that come on at the flip of the switch!!
    As for Christmas music…not yet.:)You see,my sweet ,godly mama lost her battle with cancer March of last year.All my growing up she refused to do ANY christmas things until AFTER Thanksgiving.In her honor,I will do the same.:)
    God bless your day and thankyou for the work you put in to WLW.

    1. My mother raised us with the same tradition! Nothing Christmas til after Thanksgiving! I’ll be praying for your family during the holiday season.


  19. I am thankful for a warm home, a best friend who is SO supportive of me, my furbabies (I have a 9yr Yorkie and a Lab pup), my desk lamp, and a positive pregnancy test! 🙂 God is good!


  20. Today I am thankful for warm, cozy blankets/good coffee in the morning/great new recipes that the whole family loves/the warmer on my steering wheel every cold morning! It truly is the little things that make us smile! Great lesson on this beautiful fall Veteran’s Day. God Bless those who serve and have served this country…One Nation under God.

  21. I thank you for writing about this topic. I have been struggling with the way people treat me & felt worthless. I let it get the best of me, but your post transformed my thoughts into positive ones. Thank you & God bless.

  22. Courtney, thanks for this reminder to keep praising through the highs and lows of life. I’m grateful for
    1. A supportive family and social network, esp while I job search
    2. My 5 year long distance relationship with my boyfriend who loves me so much
    3. A bed to sleep in
    4. Warm clothes
    5. A church that I can attend to fellowship with other believers.

  23. 5 ordinary things I’m thankful for:
    1. Multi-grain Cheerios (yum!)
    2. Good smelling hair products
    3. Coffee..w/ mocha creamer
    4. Pandora (has become aa Bible study companion)
    5. Wool socks..does anyone else always have cold feet?!?

    And as for the Chriafmas music… Nope, we wait until the day after Thanksgiving. But my boys may or may not have caught me singing ‘We Three Kings’ while looking at a Christmas catalog. Ssshh-don’t tell my husband!!

  24. Recently I have been dealing with a prayer I had prayed for 10 years ago, but has gone unanswered….in my eyes. Reading through the Numbers devotions, and now today’s reading, I realize how I need to shift my focus and let God handle the rest.
    The five things I am thankful for:
    1.) After reading a story last night about a dad and his daughter living in their car because he had no job to provide a place for them to live – I realized that I need to be thankful for the temporary apartment we have been living in for the last two years. It has been a struggle, but I need to shift my focus to having a warm place to live, a place to lie my head, and a place all of my family can be together.
    2.) Our budget was tight this week from paying my daughters’ school bill and husband’s car bill (thankful we can afford both luxuries) – I am thankful for just enough money to fill up my gas tank to get to work for the rest of the week.
    3.) The sunshine! It has rained in Atlanta for 11 straight days! What a burst of energy to have that warmth in the sky!
    4.) Little one on one moments with my teenage daughter to just let her know that I am there for her and understand all of her struggles in 8th grade.
    5.) The geese outside my office window – how they have no worries on where their next meal will come from but how they move about their day with confidence they will have all of their needs met.

  25. Christmas music will start as soon as klove starts playing it, that’s the only thing our radio ever has on it.
    I am thankful for a creative and thoughtful 6 year old boy, a beautiful (inside and out) 4 year old girl who cares for her baby doll Like a true mama, a cuddly 2 year old boy who kisses his mama, the opportunity to fill out adoption paper work to expand our family further, and craigslist for the continued search for beds for my children (we have enough but the 2 year old will outgrow the crib soon and then we won’t). Maybe children are not “ordinary” but I’m thankful for them over anything else.

  26. I am thankful for Courtney and Good Morning Girls and all the wisdom that you share. It has been a blessing. I am thankful that the weather here in London is still mild. That I have a car to drive to do the school run, food for my family to eat, two lovely children and a very hardworking husband. I am also thankful for my life and a wonderful and very supportive mother. God bless. xx

  27. Thank you for sharing your heart.. Been angered and bothered by something that gets brought up in my mind too much. I don’t want to think on it, I am going to keep giving it to Him til it’s gone~ Bitterness flee- goodbye! ?

    I am ready for Christmas music- yes!

    I am thankful for hot coffee in the mornings, for the Numbers study, (been praying for a new Bible study) my husbands bear hugs, library days with my children and lavender bubble baths ??

  28. I needed this today. We are dealing with our son and his alcohol addiction. Had to take his kids. So thankful for reminders that I don’t need to dwell on the what ifs. So thankful today for online bible studies, praying friends, and my God that is bigger than me and is in control. Thanks for the uplifting message. Now to put on some more Christmas music and praise God.

  29. Clean, running water that is safe to drink; being warm on a cold day; being dry on a wet day; being completely enveloped in a two-armed hug after not having seen someone for a long time and knowing full-well that you have been missed and are loved; and God’s unending, undeserved forgiveness. I am still overwhelmed when I think of my savior on the cross. I cannot imagine why He would choose to die for a sinner like me!

  30. I have so much to be grateful for; my heart is full! I am grateful to have a day off from work! I am grateful that I got to sleep in instead of getting up at 4:30 a.m. lol. I am grateful that I get to spend this entire day enjoying my daughters. I am so grateful that I was able to relax through my personal study/prayer time, instead of having to watch the clock, so that I’m not late to the office. I even had time for this post 🙂 ! These last couple of years have been some of the most difficult of my life, yet, I am so very grateful that through all of my trials, I have clearly seen His hand as he helps me through this, and “makes straight my paths”. ..Proverbs 3:6 I hope you all have a wonderful Veteran’s Day!

    1. I have been obsessed with something really small for a few weeks now. I’ve turned it into this huge reality in my head. I’ve let fear get the best of me. I hope I can let it go soon! I’m still struggling with it.

  31. I am so thankful for getting the gmg email this morning…it made me stop and realize I have SO much to be thankful for. I am thankful for nail polish remover and nail polish as I am at work painting my nails (shhhh), I am thankful for a job even though I don’t LOVE it at all times I am still very blessed to have a stable job to go to every morning. I am thankful for my puppy Piper, who brings me so much joy! I could go on and on and on about all the things I am thankful for! THANK YOU Courtney for making me realize this today!
    Hope you ALL have a wonderful day!
    *I also need to add being thankful for all the people who have served our country! So many brave and courageous people out there!

  32. I’m thankful that I’m able to serve my family, for eyes & ears for our new outdoor wood stove, a warm house, & this website, the list is unending.

  33. Beautiful post Courtney.
    Today I’m thankful for a fridge full of food, my husband’s company that gives them today off, the new kitten we adopted who is a joy to watch, the freedom that so many fight for, and for you and your persistent work on this blog that always is reaching out to others. 🙂

  34. I’m thankful for my son’s health, rain boots, my car, Dr. Pepper, and SUCH abundant access to Bible studies here in the U.S. and being able to worship and meet at church freely.

  35. Thank you for this post. I have been so down just worried about how we were gonna come up with the money to finish my soon to be son’s adoption and it’s been just getting me down. I began to pray about it last name and God let me come across a site today that is a place for people to donate so I set it up. I’m not gonna continue to let the devil keep me down, I’ll just pray and trust God that’ll he’ll help me through. Sometimes I get so focused on the negative I forget about the positive. I needed to read this today!

  36. First off, I bought your book last fall when I was pregnant, and we just last week went on a trip and on the plane ride I was able to read it! ( because my two littles were sleeping!! During their first plane ride! Praise God!!) I’m in a very special place in my life where God is pouring into my family. I’m thankful for gods grace and favor. I’m thankful for your book, its literally changing my life , I’m thankful you were faithful when God placed it on your heart to write this book and share it with the world! I’m thankful for worship, for the freedom to read his word. I’m thankful for godly friendships.
    I could go on…
    But also coffee..super ordinary!! Lol 😉

  37. 5 things ordinary things I’m thankful for — the warm, glowing sunshine (I live in NC and I feel like its rained the past 2 weeks); my coffee and caramel macchiato creamer (I LOVE coffee); my crockpot — especially in the fall and winter time; pictures in my house – it reminds me of great memories; my cell phone — to talk to my family and friends to and from work daily. I’m new to this website — I’ve really enjoyed reading the blogs, watching the videos, reading the responses and having a daily chapter to read and discuss – I’m very thankful for this website!

  38. 1. The heater in my truck. 2. Uggs on my feet 3. Organic honeycrisp apples 4. Warm water to do the dishes with 5. Joyce Meyer’s podcast — plus so many more ordinary things to be thankful for 🙂

  39. i am thankful for a bus ride to work That i can read and be encouraged by God. I am thankful for a husband that know God. I am thankful that God used me. I am thankful for being able to cook for my kids, pack their lunch, brush my little girls hair. i am thankful that i can pray for them before they leave and annoint them, i am thankful when they say amen. I am thankful when they rush out saying i love you mommy.

  40. I am thankful for my devoted and loving husband, the three beautiful daughters God blessed us with after four painful miscarriages, the joy we’ve found in our first year of homeschooling, the support of both my own family here and our new church family, and a new home to decorate this Christmas season!

    Thank you so much for this post. I needed it! And you are definitely not alone… I think all the time about how small and silly my “problems” sound when I actually say them out loud. It’s great gut check from the Lord. 😉

  41. I needed this reminder today! 5 things I’m grateful for:
    – God’s faithfulness to me when I’m unfaithful to Him
    – My kids hugs and kisses good night
    – That I get to go home and visit my mom and sisters for Christmas
    – Worship music that helps my heart get in the right place first thing in the morning
    – The word of God that gives me strength to persevere through tough times.

  42. I am thankful!
    1. God’s work in me continues. Thank you God for changing me.
    2. Snuggling my kids and husband/holding their hands. Thank you for my family.
    3. Having friends that listen and care. Thank you for my friends.
    4. A career that I have grown to love. Thank you for my job.
    5. A church that teaches the true word of God. Thank you for my pastor and church.

  43. When I focus on gratitude, the pressures, obligations, and expectations (self-imposed and from others), seem to fall off my body and clink to the floor… Today the ordinary things I am thankful for: (1) the way my miniature schnauzer wags his tail when he sees me, (2) pillow talk with my sweetheart, (3) time to drink a cup of coffee before it turns cold, (4) God’s plan for my life (although it has not been revealed – why can’t He just send me a text message?! lol), and (5) the feeling of anticipation (upcoming time with family and friends). 🙂

  44. For November, I’m focusing on being thankful for the little things & writing down one every day. Here are my most recent five:
    * cold(er) windy weather
    * the theater
    * our ability to clean out & donate items
    * the Red Tailed Hawks I see most every day
    * that I slowed down on my way home from work, the Sheriff was just around the bend

    Thanks for helping us all be more grateful!

  45. I am grateful to God for
    1. for his son Jesus,
    2.for life and good health
    3.for the gift of a loving ,supportive husband
    4.for the gift of a precious girl
    5.for the gift of parents and siblings , trusted friends and pastors who are a great encouragement

  46. 5 Ordinary things to be thankful for:
    1. My kitchenaid mixer
    2. Snuggling my dogs
    3. Workout clothes-most days i live in them!
    4. Iced Coffee
    5. Our family camper

  47. i havent checked from last week until today due to my mother in law’s passing unexpectedly. i am truly grateful that she spent time with my kids until she was called home with Jesus. it was hardest thing for my husband to say good bye to his mom. in general, men dont typically show emotions, he did wiith us, all of the family who are greiveing for our loved one. i know it is not good bye but it is to her body but in spirit it is not. however, i am grateful for coffee, girls time when it is necessary, my poppy of course and lastly pinterest!
    i love my family no matter what we will get through it i know we can with god’s help and guidance

  48. I am thankful for:

    1-sweet little handprints that mark my windows, fridge and walls
    2-the sound of laughter from my children
    3- the ability and freedom to homeschool
    4-my husband who loves God, his family and works hard for us.
    5-most importantly, knowing JESUS!!

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