I want to introduce you to another section of my blog I will be adding content to. It’s called “Gratitude Journal” and is listed under the tab “Inspiration Station” at the top of my website. This is another area that I invite you to participate in if you wish!
If you haven’t read my “About” page, I talk a little bit in there about how I came up with the name of this website, and what “living inspired” is all about to me. One of the things I have done in the past decade or so is keep a gratitude journal. When I first started it, I was kind of at a crossroads in my life (coming out of teen years and starting to enter adulthood) where I was just kind of in limbo I guess you could say. Neither here nor there, sort of lacking direction when the plans I had, had other plans haha. I think there are a lot of transitional phases in life and also times of loss or times of uncertainty (refer to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 about the different “seasons” of life). So anyways, people buy me journals for gifts a lot and I was given a “Footprints in the Sand” journal that I had decided I was going to use to record little blessings I noticed in every day life.
One of the things about gratitude journals is that some days it will be easy to write in them because maybe something obvious happened that you are happy about and grateful for. However, some days it can be challenging if you are not in the practice of looking for blessings in everything yet. I think living an inspired life starts with gratitude for what we have now. The things you are grateful for don’t have to be something of grandeur! I know there have been times in my life (like when someone has just been stricken with cancer or passed away for example) that it can be hard to realize the blessings.
The thing about gratitude and the resulting joy that can come from it, is that we don’t have to wait for things to be perfect or going the way we want them to before we can be grateful. If you think about it, a lot of times we put off joy or gratitude saying , ” I will be happy when I make more money.” “If I would just get that promotion or get a better job THEN I would be happy!” “If I had a bigger or better house.. or I will be happy once I find someone to marry, or have a child, OR if I had more friends, or a better wardrobe, then I would be happy.” The list could go on and on as far as that goes. We could all be even happier, even more grateful WHEN. When we have things going our way.
It’s true…many of these things DO bring happiness. However, I feel that true gratitude can be developed best in times of struggle-if we allow it. Sometimes when you go without something or have something or someone taken away from you in life, that is when you really learn to appreciate things! That’s not to say that you have to be going through a rough time to start a gratitude journal, just some thoughts for those who are going through a rough time and think this may be a challenge-it actually can be a FUN and interesting challenge!
So I got off track with my thoughts a bit here, but the point is that it doesn’t matter if things are going the way you want them to in your life or not, there is no better time than the present to start enjoying what you have.
So years ago I started recorded my blessings in that little book. At first it may have been a bit hard or felt silly. Like hmm, today was so uneventful….what on earth was a blessing to me today? So I would think hard about all the little things in my day, and always find something! Sometimes it seemed like I was grabbing at straws. For instance- being grateful that I was having a favorite food for dinner, or um…maybe someone said something nice to me or I enjoyed a chocolate milkshake or something It may seem silly, but after awhile it almost became a fun little game for me – and actually over time bigger blessings started coming.
You know what started to happen next? Finding blessings in every day things, started to come more naturally. I found myself noticing things I didn’t notice before and enjoying things more. Not taking things for granted. This in turn created more joy. I also think it helped me to connect with God more (as in my particular gratitude journal I often thanked God for the blessings I noticed that day). In fact , through this experience I started to notice some pretty cool ways in which God was working in my life and it seemed to have a snow ball effect. I guess it’s the law of attraction-if you consistently seek something, you will keep getting more of what you seek coming your way. In fact , there is a great scriptural example of this in Matthew 7:7-11 :
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. You parents–if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. ” (NLT)
If you become a “seeker of blessings” you are focusing on what’s going right with life and I think that makes for less complaining and less bad moods. I will confess I am a bad regular journal keeper (part of why blogging is good for me haha) so after awhile I got off track with my gratitude journal. However, since I had already developed a habit of writing down things I was grateful for, it was pretty easy to continue the practice of at least “noticing” the blessings on a regular basis. In writing this article though, I am realizing I want to get back to using my gratitude journal more regularly again! One of the cool things about recording blessings, is that you can go back years later and look over all the ways you have been blessed in your life.
At least once a month (and maybe more often, I am not sure yet) I will be writing something for our online gratitude journal at We Live Inspired, starting with this Sunday. I actually added my first entry to the gratitude journal in August (the post about my fiance-someone I am grateful for) under the title “What Makes You Smile?”
What are you grateful for today? Will you join me in being a “seeker of blessings” ? I would love to have you participate with me by leaving the things you are grateful for every month in either the comments section on gratitude journal posts, or on the We Live Inspired Facebook page. I am excited to see what interesting & amazing things will be happening!