Tuesday, January 2, 2018

One Practical Way to Appreciate the Amazing Year Ahead


My Gratitude Jar project started in late 2015. Small slips of paper on which were written notes about answered prayers, evidence of God in my life, and things for which I was grateful went in the jar. The stack of papers grew in 2016.

On New Year's Day last year, I went through the slips and read every one. It was amazing to see how all the hard times turned into good. I was stunned to see how often I'd felt on the brink of disaster in 2016, and the ways God had carried me through. I wept as I read them, not from sorrow but pure, overwhelming gratitude. The tiny notes were precious, so I kept every one in the Gratitude Jar, even the "outdated" ones.

During 2017, my Thanksgiving notes became fewer and farther between. I didn't record much last year, which makes me sad. It was an amazing year. The good times are still clear in my mind, but not as fresh as if I'd written a wonder-laced note.

This morning, I read through all the slips from past years and felt the sense of amazed thanksgiving all over again. I want to do a better job of preserving my gratitude during 2018. Since INTENTIONAL is my word for this year, I've slipped a supply of paper strips in my planner. They're blue for the photo, but I'm changing to white slips for ease of reading. When a moment of gratitude comes, I'll be ready. 

I've decided in advance to give thanks, and I've made provision for it.

It's a Biblical principle we'd all do well to consider. Giving thanks doesn't happen automatically. It's much easier to give thanks in hard times if we decide in advance to do so. Our willingness implies a decision to look past the circumstances to find the blessing in the midst of the difficulty.

We've chosen to set goals and make a plan to achieve them. We've committed to doing what we've planned. An amazing year is ahead of us. Let's live intentionally grateful during the next incredible twelve months, and give thanks in all things, whether easy or hard. 

Why not prepare for gratitude by adding a few slips of blank paper to our planners? Let's make a note of even the smallest moment of thanksgiving and slip it in our Gratitude Jar. When 2019 rolls around, we'll read through our blessings one by one and be glad we did. 

"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:28 nasb
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In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: How to Change 2018 from Just Getting By to Simply Amazing