I have been using the Life Journal for my personal devotional lately, and I have seen immense spiritual growth from the process. I recently read Psalm 8, and I was especially drawn to v3-4:
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? (ESV)
This is an amazing claim, if you think about it. The same God who made the heavens cares about me (and you)! The same God who set the planets in motion cares about that parking place you think you deserve in the front row at the mall. The same God who made the forces of gravity and magnetism cares about the forces of love and joy.
Thinking about this God of the macro AND the micro, I felt I needed to write down how much I have to be thankful for. I wrote down tiny little prayers answered like finding a bug in a website I was designing. I wrote down big things like my wife, my son, and my health. I wrote down medium things like a group of guys to play basketball with.
What are you thankful for? Take a moment and write it down – you’ll see why in a second.
Do You Want To Be Happier?
I also read an interesting article (link to article) about how to increase your happiness. They had students write a nontrivial (requires thought) letter of gratitude several times throughout the semester, and then they surveyed how happy they were. The results?
“I saw their happiness increase after each letter, meaning the more they wrote, the better they felt” – Dr. Steven Toepfer, Kent State University
In other words, the more we practice being grateful and thankful, the happier we feel. How much would you pay for a pill that could make you happier? Will you spend just a few minutes practicing gratefulness to achieve an even better result?
Putting It Into Practice
- Take a few minutes and write down what you’re thankful for
- If you have a spouse or child, tell them some specific reasons (remember: nontrivial) you’re thankful for them
- How easy/hard is it for you to express gratitude to someone else?
- How easy/hard is it for you to receive thanks from someone else?
- What are you thankful for?