Today is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. All across the country, many will take time today to reflect on the things they are grateful for. How amazing it is to have a holiday that revolves around gratitude. However, I feel this is a habit we should cherish all year long, not just one day out of the year.
And personally, I take gratitude a step further by writing down my blessings in a gratitude journal. Every day for the past five years I have a kept a bulleted list of good things that happened during my day. I might also include Bible verses, quotes, prayers, or anything that spoke to my heart. Therefore, the items in my gratitude journal can vary.
But there is one thing I try to keep consistent. For the most part, I don’t write down negative things that happened in my day. Overall, my intent is to keep the tone positive.
For example, one particular day this year, I wrote down that my new iPad arrived (which was a gift from my hubby). I wrote down a Bible verse that my friend featured in her blog post (Philippians 4:5). I mentioned that we had nice, cool weather. I reflected on the joy of seeing Christmas lights on different homes. And I jotted down that I got my hair trimmed.
But on that same day I was wearing a brand new pair of boots for the first time, and I accidentally stepped in my dog’s “droppings” in our back yard. I did not write that down in my gratitude journal. (Yes, this really happened. I wasn’t happy at the time, but I can joke about it now!)
Gratitude is all about focusing on the positive, not the negative.
Years ago, I tried journaling, but it didn’t last. I used the journal to do a lot of venting. As a result, I hated journaling and gave up on it quickly. Since I have changed tactics, this has helped me to keep my gratitude journal going.
I realize that not everyone wants to journal. And that is okay. Expressing our gratitude in prayer is also a wonderful habit.
When we take notice of the things we are grateful for each day, this helps us to draw closer to God. Looking around for the blessings in life helps us to embrace the Lord’s goodness and love. Gratitude helps us to look back and see how much God has been there for us, which in turn helps us to see how trustworthy and faithful God is.
Gratitude towards God leads us to trusting God.
But gratitude is a muscle that we have to intentionally strengthen. The more we work this muscle, the more things we will find to be grateful for.
Gratitude breeds more gratitude!
In the world we live in, it can be easy to fall into complaining and negativity. However, when we choose to look for the good, it affects every area of our lives. We will find we have more joy and peace. A big part of this is because it draws us close to our Heavenly Father. And we begin to see how much He is there for us, helping us, guiding us, protecting us, and caring for us.
I hope today you will take a moment to thank God for the blessings in your own life. Take a look around and you will see He is there for you. He loves you. And He is good, all the time.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18