Friday, September 8, 2017

Written Gratitude: 1,711 Days

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 250: Today, I am grateful for the power of written gratitude. 

I was going to save this image for a time closer to Thanksgiving, but then it is too late to pass the idea along. It could be done on a real pumpkin or one to be saved in the Thanksgiving tub to resurface every year at the holiday. 

Why written gratitude? For me, I missed the boat on the November challenge in 2012. One written gratitude a day for 30 days (a short month). I decided to commit to one month in January 2013 to start off the year right. One month.

It was a challenging month. Under the pressure of a daily post, I blanked at time. Truly. No good ideas. Then, I realized all the little things I take for granted. A furnace that works, hot water, clean water, a garage door opener, Lysol wipes and so much more. I quickly discovered the life changing power of gratitude. 

January slipped by. I decided February was a short month. By March, it was a habit and, frankly, I needed it. One tiny act was changing how I responded to what would be a crazy, challenging and most difficult season ahead. 

Gratitude taught me to recognize that my Lord "daily prepares a table for me me in the presence of my enemies" known as fear, stress, illness, loss, pain and whatever else life throws at us.  He is greater than all of those things the enemy throws at us and I can rest in him. 

"You spread out a table before me, provisions in the midst of attack from my enemies; You care for all my needs, anointing my head with soothing, fragrant oil, filling my cup again and again with Your grace." -Psalm 23:5 - The Voice

I have a God that provides all my needs, and in my case... so many cup overflowing blessings...  that I rarely thank him for so many of them. My attached garage and the automatic opener and a car that runs are pure luxury. Written gratitude helps me see His love and provision more clearly... and more often. 

I soon discovered that God doesn't really "need" my gratitude... although it pleases Him. He delights in it. The act of being intentionally thankful changes me, not Him. That was my first year lesson in a nutshell. 

Here we are 1,711 days later! 

"Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing." -Psalm 143:10

Gratitude opens the eyes of our heart to see Him more clearly. He is not accidental. He is not limited by time and space. He is patient (thank goodness). He is awesome beyond what my mortal head can really even begin to grasp. That is why we are told to trust with child-like faith. 

Tomorrow, storms can wipe out or cripple cities. Tornadoes, earthquakes and landslides can level homes and destroy  earthly treasures. For today, each little good thing we have is a gift. He instructs us to store up our treasures in heaven, not here. What does that mean? 

Funny you should ask! The answer is simple.  To store up our treasures in heaven we must:
1. Love Him with all of our heart, mind, strength and soul. 
2. Love our neighbors as ourselves... all of them.  

GRATITUDE is a key that unlocks our ability to LOVE MORE fully and to love out loud. Daily gratitude is an exercise in daily recognition of God's goodness. 

Once a year... at Thanksgiving... is a great place to start the habit with a simple pumpkin and a Sharpie. Or, cultivate it all November long. Use September and October to get ready with journal. Nothing has ever grown my faith, my walk and my heart like daily gratitude. 

I am grateful every day for those who come to walk along with me. Don't we all love a kindred spirit? I am grateful for encouragement reciprocated. 

One Thousand Seven Hundred Eleven Days. 

Today, I am grateful for the power of written gratitude.

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