A good buddy is preaching a series right now entitled: “The Genius of Gratitude!” When Bryan Myers shared his theme with me we each began to celebrate some of what we’ve learned about this life giving truth. But then after a long call he texted me with a further request for help. He wanted me to email an illustration I had shared earlier. I was in the middle of other things and honestly wasn’t very “grateful” for the interruption!
Ironic isn’t it? Here we were, gripped with the theme of gratitude, and then a few hours later I was bothered by his request to shoot him a quick email. I called so he could hear me groan for a few moments before I dictated it once again, but that wasn’t good enough. He pleaded with me to write it out for him! Whew!
Sometimes I’m a “reluctant blesser.” That is, sometimes I’m a little too preoccupied, distracted or tired to happily provide help. But then, after I help, I usually end up more than gratified. Maybe you can relate. Well now I’m truly grateful again, and I think it was really ingenious of Bryan to bug me to find the illustration below. Here it is:
I read of a study in which people were randomly assigned to three groups and asked to journal five things daily.
- Group one was asked to focus on five major events.
- Group two was asked to focus on five minor hassles.
- Group three was asked to focus on five reasons for gratitude.
While people were randomly assigned to the various groups, the results were amazing. As we might predict, the gratitude group became the most grateful. But even more notable, the gratitude group was most likely to help others. In short, reflecting and journaling with gratefulness resulted in becoming more energetic, hopeful and helpful.
I’ve been journaling for years. Sadly, too often I have recorded too many sad things. While at times that has been emotionally cathartic, more often it has been emotionally depleting and spiritually restricting. That’s why I’ve changed my journaling ways.
Guess what? Daily, for the last few years, I’ve recorded five things that have prompted me to express gratitude to God. I’m finding that the more I focus my prayers in praise the more reasons I find to celebrate the goodness of God. In short, I’m magnifying Him and not my problems.
What do you want to magnify? While prayer alone, or journaling alone, or reflecting alone may at times magnify problems, praise only magnifies God. I will praise the Lord at all times, I will constantly speak his praises…. Come, let us exalt his name together. (Psalm 34:1 & 3)
Yes, at the end of the day I was thanking God. And by the way, Bryan actually made my gratitude list. It was ingenious of him!