Last year, I wrote a lot about gratitude. I read One Thousand Gifts and kept my own list of blessings. In the fall, I stopped keeping the list. It wasn’t because I was intentionally ungrateful or meant to stop counting my blessings. Quite the contrary. I fell into the trap of thinking that I’d “done gratitude”. Checked it off my list. Learned that lesson. Moved on. I didn’t really intentionally stop counting my blessings; I just allowed myself to get out of the habit.
In the fall I noticed a gradual encroachment of dissatisfaction in my thoughts. Nothing major, just a tendency to see the bad rather than the good. For my thoughts to go in the “why me” direction a little too often and a little too quickly.
It took me awhile to recognize this, of course. I’ve been more short-tempered and more irritable but I didn’t really see the connection with gratitude until fairly recently. On the recommendation of Amy I recently read Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. The ideas are very similar to One Thousand Gifts but in a more practical straight-forward style. I like that she includes a 30-day devotional at the end. I’m in the midst of working my way through that now. And I’m learning a lot.
Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is that gratitude is a habit. Like all habits, it takes regular practice. Once neglected, it’s easy to stop exercising or stop flossing or stop counting blessings. There may be people for whom gratitude is as natural as wanting to go jogging every morning. Unfortunatley, I’m not one of them (for the gratitude or the jogging). I’m not sure I’ll ever feel like I’ve succeeded in this area. It may be something I need to work on my whole life. And that’s ok. For now, I’ve picked up my pen and paper and am counting blessings again and it’s a start.
502) Tulips proudly clutched in small hands