A couple years back I came across the idea to start a gratitude jar.
I have always been aware of the importance from staying thankful, but I knew that I was missing the opportunity to be grateful for the little things. I headed to Michael’s and got this jar for around $10.
Throughout the year, Timothy and I would take out a paper and pen when something special happened to us. Honestly, I wish we had been better and wrote even more, but we tried to write down all of our blessings.
On December 31st, we sat on the floor of our apartment and placed the jar in the middle of us. We took turns grabbing one slip of paper out at a time. Memories began to fill my heart, and I was reminded of many situations that I had already forgotten about. Job opportunities, financial gifts, positive health reports, and unforgettable trips.
I wish I could express to you exactly what those little pieces of scrap paper did to my heart. I had read all of the advice from self help junkies. In my head, I knew that being grateful was important, but as I held each tangible blessing in my hand I was overcome with thankfulness.
At the end of each year, we tend to sit around daydreaming for the year to come. We write down a list of things we hope to accomplish, and sometimes this can be at the expense of the last. We may think, “I failed at ___ this year, next year I want to ____.” Self doubt can easily creep in as you contemplate:
Did I have a good year?
Did I do all that I could do?
Did I take steps to get to the life I want to live?
Did I live in the present and create lasting memories?
These little pieces of paper confirmed to me that yes, I had. I had taken huge steps towards my dreams. I had deepened the friendships around me. I had created precious memories with my husband. I also couldn’t deny that I was exponentially blessed.
Every time I had been worried about a specific circumstance, it had always worked out. Every time I stressed about a mechanic bill, the finances came through. Every time I questioned if my blog was on track, it continued to grow.
I am reminded of the Matthew 6:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
How many hours had I spent worrying this last year, when I continually received blessings and miracles in return?
There was something powerful about sitting on the floor of our apartment and taking stock. Remembering all of the good things that far outweighed the bad. 2018 brought me more joy than I can express in this short post.
Gratitude jars are a wonderful way to stay focused on what matters and retrain your mind to start expecting miracles around you.
What is your favorite way to stay grateful?