Several years ago, I was challenged every day to write one thing I was grateful for, and three things I accomplished that day. It seemed mindless, and honestly, a little juvenile.
Remember writing in your elementary school days, “What I did for summer vacation”? It felt as gratuitous as that. And I was pessimistic in thinking it would open me to realizing the true blessings in my life. Was I grumbling before even counting them? Or because it was one more thing I “had” to do? I did it, anyway.
I opened my journal, and on Day 1, wrote: “Grateful for my daughter’s sleepover; accomplished: cleaned house, productive workday, called MetLife.” Done, I thought. But I had to keep going.
Other days: “Grateful for a clean house; accomplished: all laundry finished, floors swept, floors mopped.” “Grateful for early-morning walk with the dogs along the creek walk; accomplished: five-mile run, daughter’s soccer banquet, made dinner.’
Soon, the routine tasks and habits felt more purposeful.
And it grew from there. I began becoming grateful for things outside of me. For my friend’s son’s one-year-old birthday party. For my job. For not having to charge dinner. And accomplishments became even more focused: bed by 9:30 p.m., shopped successfully for a swimsuit with my teenage daughter. Even, that.
Completing this challenge over a period of weeks helped me tune into myself and notice the world and good around me. It helped me realize, that despite anything I faced, I didn’t have to live it every moment of the day. That it didn’t have to consume me.
That there were reasons to celebrate. Opportunities to shine and to live a life you so badly desire – one of contentment, peace and one where you could find and feel the positivity all around you. A life where faith and hope find its way back into your heart, and where you welcome it back with open arms.
So much for being a pessimist. It changed who I was, how I viewed the world around me. Helped me focus on the day I was given and how I chose to use it. What I chose to accomplish.
And it taught me to count my blessings. One by one.
We are given this freedom to do this. To choose to do this.
“ …give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”1 Thessalonians 5:18
What a gift. What a small way to be able to remember God’s blessings in our lives. I don’t remember if I offered the person who challenged this a “thank you,” but I do remember being more mindful of my surroundings, every action I took, where I could find a blessing and accomplishment in my days.
I do remember eating my words.
We are nothing without our God. Our blessings only come from Him because of our relationship with Him. We know this; we’ve been taught this. We should live this.
“Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your blessings, see what God has done! Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done
Count your many blessings, wealth can never buy, your reward in heaven, nor your home on high. So, amid the conflict whether great or small, do not be discouraged, God is over all. Count your many blessings, angels will attend, help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.”
– Count Your Blessings,
Johnson Oatman, Jr.
Those journal entries forced me to be intentional with my life. To slow down my thoughts, actions, and the ideas of what I had to “do,” rather than accomplish. What I had to be grateful for every day.
I closed that part of my journal after a few weeks, but it changed my thinking over the years. It has given me pause to know in the moment how I’m blessed – and by what, by whom. It has furthered my relationship with Jesus, which I strive to grow daily, and it has forced me to slow down and count my blessings, one at a time.