At the beginning of 2013, my sister-in-law had the great idea of buying a daily planner and using it to write one thing she was thankful for at the end of every day. She encouraged me to do it with her and it’s been one of the best things of the year.
I photographed a couple of pages at random, just to show you that I never wrote anything profound, that I missed days at a time, but that God still used this exercise to bless me so much! There are a couple of ways, in particular, that I can tell God used this in my life ::
- Obviously, it made me more thankful. God tells us to be thankful and this was a simple, easy way to begin to participate in a lifestyle of gratitude.
- I was made aware of the joys and the richness of my life on a daily basis, so when difficult things came to pass, they were easier to bear.
- At the end of every night, this exercise launched me into prayer in a very natural and healthy way.
- It helped me cling to the Gospel, because to be honest…some days it was the only thing I could think of to be thankful for.
If you’re interested in doing something like this in 2014, I have a couple suggestions/warnings ::
- Like all habits, it was easy to perform this one without thinking. Sometimes, I would write down my note of thankfulness without directing my gratitude at God. It’s like I was just “counting my blessings” without using my brain to connect them to the giver of all good gifts. At times I would have to actually say out loud, “God, I know that I’m only enjoying this thing because of you and so I’m thanking you for it.”
- Ann Koskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts is a phenomenal book on thankfulness, the discipline of gratitude, and the theology behind it. Koskamp is a beautiful writer, but her content is even more beautiful, full of the truth of Scripture and her own sincere love of Jesus. When I finally sat down and read this book (after numerous recommendations), it changed my life.
- Sometimes I would miss a day. Or a week. Or a month. But then I would remember and just write something down that day, picking it up as best I could. It was so humbling to experience God changing my heart despite my feeble efforts.
My friend Amber gave me a planner for my birthday and so I’m going to continue my Thankfulness Journal in 2014. What about you? Are you interested in joining me? It was such a simple way to change the year for the better. If we all did it, it’d be like #novemberthanks all year long!