How Gratitude Changes a Heart

Sunday, August 23, 2015

{Affiliate links used.}

In October it will have been six years. Six years and counting. Six years of counting. That fall morning in 2009, I started a small list. Honestly, I didn't know how long I would last. I am great at starting things, but many times fizzle out over time. I had no idea how much I would need an ever-growing list that I would add to each week of the gifts God brought to me. In November of that year God would start a journey for me that I would not want to take. He knew I would need gratitude to keep my head above water and my mind sane. With each gift that I wrote down {or for many years typed on this screen to post on the blog}, my attitude changed. My heart held onto hope. A hope that maybe life is not as bad as it seems. Maybe when I am not watching He is giving gifts.

So almost six years and working my way to 6,000 gifts I have come to realize my great need for continuing my list. Yes, there have been seasons in life where the list was slower to grow. There have been times when it has exploded with abundance. Here's my thoughts after maintaining this habit for longer than I expected.

{Three of my gratitude journals}

A grumpy heart needs gratitude. There are times when I have a rough day. My mood is grumpy at best...foul at worst. Or maybe there is a tinge of jealousy creeping into my heart. Or maybe seemingly nothing has gone my way. Those are the days that I am finding I need to pull out my list and take a few minutes to thank God for the good I may have missed. Without fail, my mood improves if I will just sit and thank Him.

Gratefulness brings the positive memories back. I love that I can go back to my lists and remember what God has done for me. There are events and people that have happened in my life that I have completely forgotten from a student, uplifting words, watching my son ice climb, playing family games. All gifts that would be forgotten if they weren't written down.

A hurting heart makes a gratitude list grow faster. During 2013, I went through some major changes in life. Painful changes. While I can look back and now see a glimmer of what God was doing and why He was allowing such devastation, at the time I was completely lost. All I could do was list as many graces as possible so that I wouldn't sink under the deepening grief. My list exploded during that time. I am sure part of why I survived it all had to do with counting God's gifts.

Gratitude makes a heart trust. Having a list of what God has done has caused me to trust Him more. There is just too much evidence in those journals to not believe Him. So when I am facing anxiety over an upcoming event all I have to do is remember all those graces and gifts listed. While trust has NEVER been my strong suit gratefulness has helped me overcome my doubt about God's goodness.

Need help starting a list?

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are- I love Ann Voskamp's book on how gratitude changed her life.

Need a gratitude journal that's free and printable?

Another free, printable gratitude journal

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