Sat., Apr. 7, 2018
Psalm 28:7 – The Lord strengthens and protects me; I trust in him with all my heart. I am rescued, and my heart is full of joy; I will sing to him in gratitude.
Gratitude … it’s such an easy response. Yet, it’s a hard response.
When life gets full, busy and overwhelming, gratitude maybe one of the first things that falls off our radar screens. This is what happens to me.
Does this ever happen to you?
Hubby Rick is so great at pointing out daily gratitude expressions for the smallest of things: a beautiful sunset, snuggling on the couch, a robin singing. Yes, he has his limits. If I hear one more time, “I am soooo sick of winter.” I get it. It is April 7. We STILL have snow on the ground.
A personal goal the last several months has been to more keenly appreciate gratitude in my daily life. For me, the best way to integrate gratitude daily is to develop a means of concretely recording gratitude.
Step in: recording a daily gratitude journal entry.
Yes, gratitude journals are all the rage. Yes, I think they are a great way to record and acknowledge gratitude in our daily lives. I have put a small twist on my daily gratitude expression.
Here’s how mine looks. Nearly every day, I begin by grabbing a very normal-looking journal. It had been hanging out in my office for quite a while. A book with blank, empty pages, just waiting for something to be written on them. Every day I write in my journal this is what I record:
- 3 Things I Am Grateful for Today
- 1 Thing that is Creating a Little Anxiety in My Life
- 3 Things I will Accomplish Today
3 Things I am Grateful for Today
Most often, these are things that happened to me the day before: a great conversation with a friend, time to write, dinner with hubby Rick, time with my Mom in the last days of her life, an understanding employer. Items listed here can also be rather mundane: a nice pen to write with, a phone call, the furnace working after it wasn’t working!
As I write these down, I do not to think too deep. Literally, the first three things that come to mind are what I write down. This is not a place to do deep soul searching or long-term planning. These three affirmations are quick, simple things you can appreciate in the hear and now.
1 Thing Creating Anxiety in My Life
Somedays, I feel more anxiety than others. Other days, I dig a little deeper. Why do I include this? Anxiety may keep us from fully appreciating a situation or area of our lives. When we name it, we begin the process of removing some of the anxiety, turning it over to God, and appreciating more fully where we are today. Saying we do not have anxiety in our lives indicates that we are trying to handle our lives on our own, without God’s guidance. Just writing one sentence about something I cannot control in my life allows me to recognize that God knows more than I do. God is God and Dianne is Dianne. It allows me to put whatever is lingering in my life in a prayer to God and ask for help and assistance.
3 Things I Will Accomplish Today
This is usually the hardest entry for me. Why? Because I want to accomplish more than three things today! My recovering Martha attitude says, “Three things are not enough!” By limiting myself to three things here, I try to focus on THE MOST important things to work on for today. Today’s to-do list will probably quite different. There will be a variety of things on this list. Here, I am stating what has highest priority for today.
Let’s be real. Are these the three things that do become THE MOST important things for me to accomplish today? Yes … and no. I still struggle with this. Sometimes, I make an entry here too general. I have eight things to accomplish at my marketing job. I make my work at this job one entry rather acknowledging all eight projects could be their own entry. It is a little way of cheating.
I am still working out areas of this daily journaling project, so I can maximize how this impacts my life, i.e. – how I account my most important things to do today. Do I complete this little gratitude project EVERY DAY of the week? No, but most weeks, I take five minutes and complete this six days a week. For me, it has become an important way to start my day.
I have spent very little time looking back at previous entries. Today was one of the first times I have done this. An advantage of writing down responses is this becomes a tangible way to go back and see how your life has changed. Has your response to gratitude evolved? How have you grown as a person?
If you have not kept a gratitude diary or journal, try it for a month. See how it feels. Experiment with different ways. My process does not have to be your process. I share what I have been doing to encourage others to look for daily gratitude in their lives.
The blank pages of my current journal are nearing an end. Time to find another empty journal hanging out in my office. For this, I am grateful.
Almighty God – maybe the greatest gratitude journal ever is The Bible: one long story and recording of your place in so many people’s lives. As I look to appreciate daily gratitude in my life, thank you for people a part of my gratitude story. Amen.
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