I haven’t picked up that particular journal in a while. The journal where I started writing my gifts–my blessings. Not that I haven’t been thankful or received many undeserved blessings.
Why is it we sometimes fail to give thanks–thanks to Him where all our blessings flow? And perhaps we do. For the big things. But what about for the everyday. Maybe it’s the busyness of this drowning in life that we often bring on ourselves. The rush. The everything else is more important. Or I’ll do this later. And later comes and we are exhausted.
Or maybe–just maybe our focus is on the struggles, the trials, the “wants”, the “have-tos”.
Can we say we truly have a grateful heart? In all things?
It came as a dare to Ann Voskamp, Christian writer and author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully. A challenge, so to speak to pen one thousand things in her life she was thankful for. And she began in simple, in the everyday, gifts we sometimes overlook .
Researchers studied in excess of one thousand people from the young to the old who kept gratitude journals and found this, “Gratitude journals and other gratitude practices often seem so simple and basic; in our studies, we often have people keep gratitude journals for just three weeks. And yet the results have been overwhelming. We’ve studied more than one thousand people, from ages eight to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.
But giving thanks is so much more. It’s worship. It’s prayer. It’s talking to our Heavenly Father. It’s what we are supposed to do.
It’s recognizing all of His good gifts. In all things. Sorrow and in joy.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever. Psalm 136:1
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Ephesians 5:20.
And on this rainy Saturday morning I look back over the pages of my gratitude journal. The gifts I had written not so long ago. The ink is dry but I still remember and I am once again reminded of how He gives.
Listening to the birds singing in the early morning through open windows–no man has ever produced music such as this
My Daddy’s white handkerchiefs
Beauty in the healing miracles–Baby Everleigh
Sunrises so blinding you have to look away
Receiving gifts from the core of someone’s heart. And me, feeling so unworthy.
You don’t have to have a fancy journal to begin. Only a pen and paper will do, along with a thankful heart. The Saturday Gratitude Journal
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
James 1:17 (KJV)