A few years ago, Grammy gave the family gratitude journals. She read that writing down three things that you’re grateful for each day helps with happiness, boosting it and serotonin levels in the brain. And she wanted us as a family to shift, from the negativity surrounding us to focusing on gratitude.
I must admit at first, I was judge-y. Is this some self-help gimmick and a passive way to say we needed to be more positive? I didn’t like it. But took a journal anyway and began writing in it. I had it next to my nightstand in college and would jot down three things each night. Sometimes they would be as simple as “enjoyed a hot cup of coffee while reading this morning” or “got to watch TV with the roomies.”
What I started to notice after a few months of journaling things down is how it changed my prayers.
My words changed from needs and wants to thanks and enjoyment. In prayer to God, there are so many different formulas or outlines you can follow. I personally like the one where I am speaking sincerely from my heart. God wants to hear our desires and concerns and wants, sure. God also wants to hear about our enjoy. Our gratitude. And it’s not just positive reframing to tell God how awesome and great something is.
I had been praying for a conversation to happen for a long time, a really long time. And on Christmas when I was a junior in high school the conversation began. I felt so overwhelmed with gratitude that it poured for me. I went to tell my mom and she shouted and celebrated with me. We jumped for joy in the sunroom of our house, thanking God for hearing me and embracing the enjoyment that flowed.
I think that’s what God would do, celebrate with us. Drop what He’s doing and jump up and down with us.
That’s what gratitude from God does. It brings in true joy. Inviting us to celebrate the extraordinary situation before us pulling us out of the routine to see what God is doing around us. Inviting us to embrace the blessings that God wants to open up every day. And gratitude let’s us say, “I see it and I enjoy it and thank you.”
The conversation with God and I has evolved. Yes we still talk about emotions that have me concerned, situations that I can’t control but want to make a difference in, and where my heart is at. But we also talk about enjoyment, the unanticipated blessings that come in the day taking me out of my head and into the present. And I imagine God standing there with me relishing in the moment as I stop and pray not because my prayers are so profoundly wise. But because He wants in. He wants to enjoy it with me. To celebrate. To embrace joy with me.
Best and bless to you and your family!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!