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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Appreciation Journals

For years I have been writing in journals. Writing is a part of me that I believe God placed inside. Every morning with my breakfast, I journal in my notebook. It's my time with God. It helps me to focus on what He is doing in me. It changes me.

For years I was a very negative person. I suffered from depression and anxiety. I lived my life focusing on all the bad around me. I didn't try to look for the good. It was much easier to have a pity party for one. Every single day.

I heard a challenge on the radio to write down 3 things God does for you each day for 30 days. That challenge changed my life. I am a different person. My life has beauty and purpose. I see the good in people and situations. I focus on what God has done each day in me. I have joy like I never had before.

appreciation journal

The challenge didn't stop after 30 days for me. Every single day I discipline myself to write one thing that God did for me that day. Since I write in my journal each morning, I write about the previous day. I've been doing this for a few years now. In the beginning it was very difficult to come up with something to write down each day. I struggled to find good in my life. Every time I wrote, it became easier and easier to find the good. Now it's become like a second nature. I see God in my life all day long. I'm constantly making a mental note to add things to my journal the next morning. I don't struggle to see the positive. I've trained my mind to focus on the good around me. My life isn't perfect, but I feel incredibly blessed. I have thousands of tiny things to be grateful for. I have hundreds of big things to give thanks to God for. My cup overflows.

I recently have challenged my family to start their own Appreciation Journals. After a few weeks, we take time to go out for ice cream or some other treat and we read what our journals say. We take turns going through each day. It has turned into my favorite thing we do together. We have met as an entire family. And I've met one on one with each of my kids. We leave the date inspired. God has done so much for each of us, and it's life changing to give Him credit for it. I know God is pleased that we are taking time out of our busy schedules to thank Him for what He has been doing in our lives. He is always up to something good.

Jesus healed ten men with leprosy on his way to Jerusalem. (Luke 17:11-19)

"When he saw them he said, 'Go, show yourselves to the priests.' On the way there they were healed." Luke 17:14

ONE of them came back to Jesus, and threw himself at Jesus' feet worshiping him and thanking him for the healing.

This is not just a healing of a little scratch. This healing completely changed his life. He would be treated now with respect and kindness. The life that had been taken from him was given back to him on a silver platter. His gratefulness went down to the very core of him. He threw himself at Jesus' feet. I imagine there were tears. This wasn't a cute little card given in the mail expressing thanks. The man humbled himself at Jesus' feet. He made himself lower so Jesus could be raised up.

The part of the story that is most shocking is that he is all alone. 10 men suffered from this debilitating disease. Only one man recognized Jesus' gift and returned to thank Him. We aren't talking about remembering to say thanks when someone opens a car door, or brings you a birthday gift. We're talking about being given the gift of LIFE verses DEATH.

I sincerely hope we can remember to thank the one who saves our life.

We probably don't feel like we have a debilitating disease that God must save us from each day. But we do! Without Jesus we are outcasts. We can never make ourselves good enough. We will always mess up and be less than perfect.

BUT the good news is that Jesus came to heal us. We don't need to live with a disease that is slowly killing us. We can be free from it every single day!

It's not enough to one time fall at Jesus' feet thanking Him for changing our lives, allowing us to go from outsider to insider. It's a daily decision. It's a lifetime of thanks.

Every day I make the choice to come back and fall at Jesus' feet, humbly thanking Him for the gift He gave to me that day. I can't do life without Him. I don't want to even try.

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