Having an attitude of gratitude and a thankful heart is extremely important to me. It’s a huge part of my life and why I have joy even when life is difficult. I’ve always been impacted by the story of the 10 lepers who heard that Jesus was coming near their village. These lepers had probably heard about the miracles that Jesus had done and hoped that he would provide a miracle for them too. When they saw Jesus they cried out to him from far away and asked Him to have mercy on them. Jesus told them to go show themselves to the Priest. So they went, and on their way they were healed. 10 lepers were healed, but Luke 17:15-16 says that only 1 of the 10 returned to thank Jesus who had healed him. I can imagine what it must have felt like to be a leper, to be an outcast, to be sick, covered in sores, disgusting, no hope, no future, yet in one moment these ten lives were restored. They’re healed. They’re cleansed. They’re freed. How could those other nine not run back and thank Jesus….
Gratitude and the act of giving thanks brings happiness. I learned the power of this about 6 years ago. I was going through a hard time. My husband was involved in the most stressful work project of his life, our marriage was struggling, I was dealing with some other family issues, and I felt depressed. One night, while taking a bath, I read an article in Reader’s Digest called The New Science of Thank You . This article talked about how people who are thankful are happier and live better lives. It challenged the reader to daily write down three things that you are thankful for from that day. Around that same time my sister told me about a lady who kept a “Happy Journal”. She had a journal with an ongoing list of things that made her happy. I was inspired by this article and the story of this lady and her happy journal.
So, I decided to start my own Happy Journal and daily record three things that I was thankful for, three things that made me happy. I wrote down simple things like hot baths, candles, the smell of rain, chocolate, a working dishwasher, color of fall leaves, and the list goes on an on. As I thought about the things that brought me happiness I became thankful and my feelings of depression lessened and then went away. My family got through that difficult season stronger than we had been when we entered it.
I continue to write in my Happy Journal, not every day, but if I start feeling discouraged or dissatisfied, out comes my journal. You can tell I’m struggling when you see the number of thankful, happy journal entries increase! Our children now have happy journals. I get to teach my kids the power of gratitude, and I love hearing what makes them happy. They write things like apples, noodles, going on walks, scarves, Daddy, fish, Gramma’s house, going swimming, and our pet goats.
Are you feeling depressed? Do you find it difficult to be thankful or content with your life and what you have? I encourage you to start your own Happy Journal. Daily write down three things that brought you joy, three things that you can thank God for. Be like that one who came back to Jesus to thank him for what he had done.