One of my current responses to people who ask me how I am doing is, “I am grateful.” I try to avoid saying, “fine” or “okay.”
How do you practice being grateful?
A friend of mine sent me a quote from Thomas Merton, one of his favorite authors. “To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”
One of my practices is to try and recognize the goodness of the Lord when I see it in my daily experience. I sat in a chair on my front porch last week and noticed a red robin that flew into the tree in my front yard. I watched the kindness and creativity of an elementary school crossing guard from my vehicle as she helped children get to their school. My wife and I caught a glimpse of a beautiful rainbow after a recent thunderstorm.
The writers of the Old Testament were constantly encouraging the people of God to keep track of God’s activities in their lives. Words or phrases like “write it down” or “remember” were used often. Throughout the Old Testament we have passages of Scripture that describe what God had done for the Israelites because many did write it down.
Several friends of mine have been practitioners of the discipline of journaling on a consistent manner. One has said they have kept a journal since middle school when their parents gave them a blank book on their birthday. They suggested that he use the book to record events, feelings, achievements, failures, joys and disappointments. When my friend’s faith journey got more on track in high school, he started recording the work of the Lord in his life.
While I have forgotten many things, my friends who journal have a mechanism to remember.
Read 1 Chronicles 16:8-36.
Use this passage as a practice opportunity to journal about the wonderful acts, wonders, marvelous deeds, and reflections of God’s character that come to mind. Spend time thanking God for what you learned about Him, and/or what the passage brought to your mind. Then consider writing your own psalm of thanks to God based on your experiences of Him. Read it out loud as praise to God as a new practice of gratefulness.
Grow devotionally. Cultivate the attitude of being grateful on a regular basis. Like the apostle Paul told the Christians in Colosse in the first century, “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:16-17.
Keeping a journal helps us remember God’s activity in our lives. Why not try it for thirty days?
Love is a verb,
©2017 by Mike Olejarz