Usually, I awaken with a prayerful gratitude that sets my mind on positive matters. I’m never alone with these reflections. God is there receiving my praise, a sort of lingering together in the passion and joy He offers each day.
Recently, though, I kept waking with adverse thoughts, negative burdens, concerns, and unexecuted desires.
Negative stuff does exist. Adversity does shadow our lives.
But that doesn’t mean we have to live in the gray light.
I knew this. But I couldn’t refocus. I missed the slow awakening of thankfulness. The pondering of every good gift and joyful attitude.
Each dawn when my eyelids slowly opened, unpleasant encounters or disappointments—in myself, others, or God—recycled into long days of grumbling. I had given my attention to the wrong stuff when I should have been rejoicing.
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 118:24 King James Version (KJV)
Then, I heard a soft whisper . . . a gentle suggestion in my spirit. Use a gratitude journal. Not exactly what I wanted to hear. Journaling would require opening my eyelids wider when I just wanted to lie in bed and meditate on good thoughts before rising.
In the past, I’ve pretty much failed at journaling. I’d start out with good intentions then abruptly stop. I don’t like the idea of leaving behind unedited grammar and spelling wrapped around boring narratives of daily life. I certainly didn’t want to go out and buy a journal. It would be a waste of funds and time. God’s gentle suggestion felt like a blossom that would surely wither. I was trying to silence the thorns in my mind. Not fertilize one more negative.
Another whisper . . . there are journals on your bookshelf. Write a single word or a list of gratitude words. Reluctantly, I looked through the row of books and sure enough, I had three unused journals. I pulled them out, leaving a gap on the shelf, and read the one on top.
“It takes just one positive thought to make a difference.”
No more laziness. No fear of failure. No concerns of perfection.
I had stepped out of the gray light.
I put the journal and a pencil at my bedside. In the mornings that followed, it didn’t matter how consistent I was. I didn’t have to write a gratitude account of daily happenings. One positive word or however many popped into my mind changed my attitude.
God’s gentle whisper showed me how to focus on positive matters
as we lingered together again.
“A rejoicing heart doth good to the body,
And a smitten spirit drieth the bone.”
– Proverbs 17:22 (YLT)
Ideas for Gratitude Journaling:
- Use tools you love.
- Chose to focus on the good in your life.
- Include inspirational quotes.
- Write uplifting Bible verses.
- Cut and paste positive words or phrases from magazines, junk mail, etc.
- List your skills and talents for which you are grateful.
- List the qualities of individuals.
- Record favorite song titles and verses.
- Record you favorite time of day.
- List foods that please you.
- Write words or phrases that bring you peace and calm.
- Record past answered prayers, growth, and paths for which you’re grateful.
- Record uplifting sights, sounds, scents, and touches that conjure gratitude and praise.
- Revisit past gratitude writings.
- Read your gratitude writings out loud.
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