When I was in high school my sister introduced to me the concept of a "Thankful Journal". You take time out of each day to write down five things you are thankful for. At first it's easy, then after a few days you get a little stooped (let's see here...I've already thanked God for my family, my friends, my house, and dog...how in the world can I think of five different things every day?!)--not that you have to be thankful for five different things every day of your life--there are times in our lives where we are thankful for something for an entire season, and things that we are thankful for for an entire lifetime! And then you remember all the things you take for granted that you are (or SHOULD be) thankful for. Running water, a toilet, a warm bed to sleep in, etc. And once you get REALLY good at being thankful :), you even start to be thankful for the trials in your life! "When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." James 1:2-4
Some may be wondering...why journal it? Why not just say it? Well, there are probably a few reasons, but my favorite reason is simply for being able to go back and look at it. It can be quite fun, and even a blessing to look back on your life and see what you've thanked God for in the past! Sometimes it brings a rush of emotion and a special intimate moment with God by more clearly remembering that specific time in your life.
Just for fun...take a look at this timeline, straight from my thankful journal:
2.24.99 "I am thankful for no homework!"
4.19.99 "I am thankful for such a wonderful guy for Heidi-Kevin" (my sister and now brother-in-law) :)
2.20.00 "My mommy (which I might add...spoils me rotten!)" mmm..wonder what she got me that day?!
2.20.00 "Boys, he, he!"
2.24.00 "Cool pens, school dances, stars"
10.30.02 "Conversation, encouragement, wisdom, tears"
4.14.04 "Forgiveness, experiences, guidance, friends"
8.23.06 "Hope, hugs, smiles, beginnings"
9.10.06 "Photographs, love"
9.11.06 "The Holy Spirit, new beginnings, prayer, fellowship, seasons"
:) That's just a glimpse! You can see how my thankfulness matured over time (haha). It is definitely neat to look through and see the things that are timeless (family, friends, smiles, laughter, etc.) and the things that are a bit more unique that make you wonder what happened that day to make you say that. I have to admit that I stopped doing this a long while ago...4 years ago in fact. 9.12.06 is the last entry. I'm planning on starting again because after reading through my journal again, I wish I could (and am physically yearning to) read what I would've written between then and now. There's been so much I've been thankful for.
My challenge to you is to join me and try to daily think of things you are thankful for. Practice making it as natural as breathing. There's no minimum or maximum to the list. Simply take time to reflect on all the blessings in your life. Our lives are literally brimming with blessings. Let us be outwardly brimming with blessing and full of thanks. Let us be thank(FULL).
P.S. What are you thankful for?