The Routine Beauty and Grace of Thankfulness



It is one of my routines in my life to focus on one new (or neglected) spiritual discipline at a time.  A few months ago it was the Examen.  Currently, it is journaling.  Sometimes I keep them in my daily or weekly rhythms, and sometimes I don't. 

Journalling isn't really a new discipline for me, but I am very inconsistent, not very focused, and I wasn't really capturing what I think I would like to know when I look back on my journals years from now.  I just found journalling frustrating. 

To start back in, I have been using an adapted version of Michael Hyatt's journal questions.   With these simple questions, I could capture in bullets and fragments some important info. It has been working well, and I find myself being thoughtful about writing down other thoughts that come to my mind, particularly about what I read in Scripture.  I like the questions because it helps me both be 1. look to the past 2. be in the present and 3. look to the future. 

One of the questions I have appreciated the most helps me stay in the present. "What are you thankful for?"

I have found myself being thankful for the sunshine, our neighbor kids' laughter and play, or a cup of tea and a candle.  When we stop to think about what we are thankful for, it is rarely, "I am thankful for the new update on my iPhone," or "I am thankful for the complicated jigsaw puzzle I all my calendar," or "I am thankful for all of the stuff I have accumulated that now I have to take to Goodwill." 

We, at the core of our being, are thankful for the beauty, simple and sometimes complex, in life. We are thankful for God's never-ending presence. We are thankful for the safe delivery of a friends' baby, the jazz music that calms our souls, and the college student who comes home safely from college.  

Sometimes we have to work at thankfulness. When it is work, it is intentional labor... full of effort and will.

And sometimes we have a special grace the blessing of our heart is filled with gratefulness. 

And sometimes thankfulness is a routine, like the questions I answer in a journal, to remind me that there is beauty all around.

How do you do the discipline of thankfulness? Share your thoughts!