THE GRATITUDE JOURNAL
I can´t remember how to spell that word! How do I express this idea correctly? I can’t seem to get my thoughts onto the paper!
I was seeing how rusty my writing was. I hadn't had much opportunity to order my thoughts into written paragraphs since my school days, and I was facing the obviously poor consequences. Then I remembered how much I'd enjoyed a creative writing course in college.
That's how the idea for my praise journal was born. I'd previously kept track of my days in an abbreviated log fashion, mainly for organization's sake. My entries said, “April 8th: Sent a package to my daughter and visited Mary,” or “Went to the doctor, began flu treatment.” But this journal would be different. I would do more than just list events; I'd take the time to contemplate all that had happened that day and then express my thoughts and feelings.
Most importantly, I laid down one condition: I wouldn't allow myself to express negative remarks about people or situations. Whatever I wrote had to be from a praiseful heart— even when the situation seemed unfair, the person contrary, or the day totally bleak!
It was therapeutic. I learned to write prayers that committed the unpleasant situations into God's capable hands. The more I wrote from this positive perspective, the more I began to have clearer understanding of situations, the more positive I became about other people, and the more ideas I got for possible solutions. This way of journaling reminded me to “give thanks in all circumstances” knowing that “all
1 things work together for good to those who love God.”
2 Along with recounting the many blessings of each day, this has also taught me to commit the unpleasant aspects to prayer. These written thoughts and prayers are like declarations of faith that I can look back on as I review my entries. It's becoming more natural to view the events in my life through the prism of praise.
As a bonus, with the practice I'm getting, my spelling has improved and my writing is more creative. I bought a calligraphy pen for the page titles, and sometimes I even do a bit of fancy lettering or illustrate the special entries with little ink sketches. Daily I am reminded that “if we pause to think, we have cause to thank.”
Better to lose count while naming your blessings than to lose your blessings by counting your troubles.
—Maltbie D. Babcock (1858–1901)
Gratitude is the heart’s memory.
1. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV 2. Romans 8:28 3. Author unknown