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Giving Thanks for a Discipline of Thankfulness

It is kind of funny how things work out.  One of my 2020 goals in regards to this blog was to roughly plan out blogs and posts at the beginning of each month. I don’t always stick with it super strictly. Sometimes it’s a day or two later before I get to an idea or I decide to put it off for another time, regardless, it’s been helpful to think ahead and have something in mind to be working towards.  It’s days like today where when what you wrote down as your plan three weeks ago is just a little crazy. And the idea was for it to just be a post, but after writing, it’s too long for an Instagram post, so here’s another blog.

Today’s Pre-Planned Post Topic – Lenten update: Gratitude Journal

The timeliness of this is just really beautiful to me. In case you didn’t read the original blog where I introduced my two Lenten disciplines, one was to write daily in a gratitude journal. Each day I would write three things I was thankful for. The idea for this discipline came from listening to a presentation by Brené Brown.  She shared the difference between an “attitude of gratitude” and a “practice of gratitude.”  She pretty much said in the incredibly humorous and straight forward way that only Brown can do, that an attitude of gratitude is a load of crap.  Previously, I had always thought of myself as a grateful person, but I didn’t have a daily practice of it, so in reality, I had the attitude but that wasn’t worth much.  Lent seemed like the perfect time to give this new practice a go.

I originally thought writing in my gratitude journal would be best in the evenings, right before I went to sleep, but I have found I enjoy it more in the mornings.  Most mornings I am able to sit on the couch with my coffee (a very important item that I’m thankful for everyday) and reflect on the previous day.  It doesn’t always work out perfectly, there are some days where I’ve done it around lunchtime or I’ve done two days in one morning, but regardless, I reflect and think of three things I’m thankful for to physically write down in this journal.  Sometimes I just write a word or a sentence and other times it has become more of a journal entry.

I’m not sure I can quantify the difference this practice is making in my everyday disposition, but with everything that is going on around us all, I have really, really, REALLY been thankful for this intentional time to look for the positive.  I am not someone who gets nervous, anxious or frazzled very easily, but I have felt a little uneasy recently.  Maybe you have as well. This state of not fully understanding what’s going on and not having a past experience to pull knowledge from to better predict what to expect has been a little difficult at times for me.  Just trying to make sense of it is all consuming at times, but this daily practice of stopping, breathing, thinking, reflecting and physically writing things down has been a bright spot.

It’s not too late to start if you think this may be something that will help you, especially during this time of upheaval that we’re in.  It can be voice to text on a notes page in your phone that you do on your way home from work in the afternoon, or maybe an email of three things you send to yourself.  What if you and your partner just mention three things you are each thankful for before you go to bed, or with your children at the dinner table?  What if you have a big poster in your house that everyone writes something they’re thankful for on and you hang it in the living room to see as a daily reminder? Whatever it looks like in your life, whether it’s a gratitude practice or something else, I hope you are able to find something that brings a sense of peace during this crazy time. Find an excuse to stop, breathe, think, reflect, and be thankful.


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