If you read this blog very often at all you'll probably have noticed a bit of a theme with me, and that is that I am really awful at life...but not half bad at picking out the lessons from my shortcomings. Those failings and lessons are plenty, I only tell you about a tiny sliver of them. I am constantly goofing up, and God is constantly teaching me... sometimes the same lesson over and over again, because I can be dense!
I'm really good at whining to God about what I don't have, and what's wrong and yada yada yada, but I'm not super awesome at telling Him thank you for as many things as I should. I'm not very good at counting-or even seeing my blessings many times. I'm especially not very good at it when I most need to be, when I'm upset or mad. Those are the times when we most need to remember all the amazing blessings we have, and not just focus on all the things we're lacking.
A few months ago I was praying about this problem of forgetting my blessings I have; "Lord, write them on my heart, help me to not forget all of the wonderful blessings I have, through You, remind me of them when I am most in need of remembering them..." After I finished praying I looked up to see my little gray prayer journal perched on the edge of the couch, I had a great big "duh" moment when I saw it there. It's a simple little sketch book that I use as a journal, it's this one.
^ That's mine, it has seen better days, lol. I usually carry it in my purse with me wherever I go, because I never know when I'll need to remember to pray for someone, or when someone's going to teach me about Lectio Divina in a coffee shop ;) As you can see it's stuffed full of things, on the outside I keep a pen, for when the need to write a prayer strikes, and a small bracelet rosary, in case I don't have one with me, on the outside, and it has a convenient little pocket inside the front cover made just for prayer cards, novenas, post it notes, a small devotional book...and, the thing that made me do a *facepalm* a long list of all the people and things I need to remember to pray about. Obviously this is a constantly evolving list, as prayers get answered, and things come up, people come into my life, etc. I keep a list right there in the front cover so any time I need to I can jot down a need, so I won't forget, usually just a word or two. Throughout my journal I write more lengthy prayers about specific things, of course, but I keep that very simple little list tucked right there, front and center, so I'll always be able to go back and pray for all of those needs.
That's where I was like "Amanda, you are so dense! You have a list of things to pray about, why not a list of things to be thankful for?" Well, self, that would make too much sense! So that's just what I did. I began writing things I was thankful for as they occurred to me, and thanking God for those things no matter how big or small.
I have always thanked Him for the big things, like waking me up in the morning, Tom, having a job, food, etc. and when big awesome things happen, like an unexpected check in the mail, or a bonus, or something like that, but I tend to forget the small things that really make my life wonderful: sunshine, grass, flowers, rabbits, people who love me, not having a war in my backyard, sweet tea, coconut oil, you know the little things I take for granted. Now, I'm not saying that I pray a prayer of thanks every day for coconut oil (though it is an amazing gift). I am saying that I have it written on a list in my journal so that when I'm all; "Oh, my life sucks, I don't have anything I want, why me, why do You hate me, blah blah blah, whine, whine, whine..." I can pick up the list and go; "Right, sorry, God, here are ten things I can't thank You enough for, my life is truly great, and would be sorely lacking without...."
It's good that we have a Father that's willing to listen to us and love us...but, it's also good to remember to thank Him, and to keep ourselves in check sometimes. I need to check myself a lot, because I get in that "me, me, me" mindset, and I have found it really helpful to stop, think and just say, "Thank You"
I think we could all remember to count our blessings a little more often, they are truly overflowing when you stop to think about them! I have found it so helpful to have it right there in front of me on the days when I can only count them to three =)