Make a Happiness List This Thanksgiving
by Heather Bock
Don’t miss a new drawing I have this week for a devotional for young girls: Brave Beauty. Scroll to the end to find out how you can enter to win one free copy.
This week I read a post by a woman I met at the Declare Conference, Cara Price: “Three Reasons to Have Gratitude When You Feel Ungrateful” (read it here). She wrote about gratitude, as it is Thanksgiving week, after all. She described how she has not always headed into Thanksgiving feeling thankful. It seems everyone is asking for an example of something for which you’re giving thanks, but when you’re dealing with anxiety, mourning, or other major difficulties, it can be hard to summon it up. Truly, it can feel more like faking to come up with anything.
Cara’s well-thought out post describes ways to find gratitude when we just aren’t feeling it. I love this quote of hers: “When we have gratitude, it doesn’t change our circumstances, but it does change our heart, which really changes everything.”
I first started learning this lesson in a very simple way when I was a moody teenager. I remember sitting in a class like Algebra I, suddenly overcome by a heavy, inexplicable gloom (or maybe not so inexplicable–it was a math class, after all). As I have a fairly cheerful personality naturally, I was upset by these moods and wanted rid of them as soon as possible, but when they struck, I couldn’t seem to get out from under them easily.
I’m not sure if someone suggested this to me, or if I somehow came up with the idea on my own, but one day during one of these dark spells, I decided to start listing everything that made me happy in my life, no matter how small. I would slowly spell something like cats, maybe following it with flowers in my small, all-upper-case handwriting of the time. I might add cds, memories, cross country, and even pencils. I started slow, but as I added to the list and my “happinesses” grew, the thoughts came faster. The first words were choices–I forced myself to write each on the paper. By the end, I couldn’t help but write them. They flowed easily. I always ended up writing until the page was filled to the utter edges. With the words came the joy. My sadness lifted, and I would end up fairly dancing in my seat with my secret happiness as my teacher droned on about x’s and y’s.
I did this through high school and on into college. Most people would probably call it counting your blessings. Here’s a portion of one I wrote in college:
This practice of choosing to think about all that made me happy when I dealt with small sad moods served me well when I had to suffer the much more difficult grief reaching me by the end of my college years. By that time, it was easier for me to choose gratitude when all else failed around me, when I lost running for a time, my longtime boyfriend, and ultimately my sister due to cancer.
This Thanksgiving, you might feel you don’t have much for which to be thankful. I want to encourage you to choose the gratitude to God anyway. Start small, and you might be surprised to find how it grows, how the joy begins to edge its way into your heart.
Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash
Brave Beauty Book Giveaway
I have another drawing going on this week! This week, I’m giving away a book I reviewed a little while back, Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You, a devotional for 8-13 year-old girls, by Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker Lynn Cowell. This book, which has 100 mini-chapters, is all about teaching girls how to be courageous and confident through the Bible. My own 8 year-old daughter has been reading and enjoying hers every morning!
If you know any girls (daughters, nieces, friends) who could benefit by this devotional (Christmas present, maybe?), you’ll want to enter this drawing.
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Giveaways are open to residents of the continental U.S. and Canada and are only open to those who have not won from me in the last year.
I will announce the winner on Wednesday, November 29, so look for it! If I don’t hear from the winner within a week, I will draw another name. Thank you!
Winner of Illuminated Bible
I’m not the only one who thought the Illuminated Bible, Art Journaling Edition was beautiful! Thank you to all those who entered my giveaway. The winner is a group, actually: The Rogue Millennials! Congratulations! Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org by November 29 with an address, and I will have FlyBy Promotions send you the Bible. If I do not hear from you by then, I will have to redo the drawing. Looking forward to hearing from you!
By the way, if you didn’t win, although the Bible itself says it retails at $44.99, I saw it in a Lifeway catalog for $20 yesterday, so you should still go find it and get it for a loved one (or yourself).
0 thoughts on “Make a Happiness List This Thanksgiving”
Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.
You’re very welcome Heather 😁
It makes me feel better too when I remember all the things I am thankful for. I know God wants us to look at the good and not the evil and it certainly makes a difference.
I was feeling especially sad this morning. My grandson is not well and then knowing a man was coming to my apartment to change the smoke detector kept me from sleeping well. Men frighten me, and knowing this guy had a key to get in scared me. I prayed about it and finally fell asleep at 3am and woke at 7.
So, anyway, I was feeling sad, but I’ve learned from Joyce Meyer to go to God first before telling anyone else you feel bad. I told him I felt like telling people how I was feeling, but I didn’t want to upset anyone. I asked God that if he wanted me to keep it to myself, I would talk with him about all my feelings and then see if I needed to confide in a family member. When we were finished talking, I felt so much better I didn’t need to phone anyone and share my grief. I felt happy and at peace.
I’m glad you went to God first! He is kind to take our troubles off our minds when we go to Him. I remember when I was very upset and tried to call several people, so they could make me feel better. I couldn’t reach anyone. It was like God was leaving me no choice but to go to Him first. I needed Him, and He did comfort me. I’m glad He did comfort you, too.
I love this idea, Heather! What a beautiful way to change your perspective!
Thanks, Jamie! It’s really simple, but it helped me.
Love this idea! I’ve been wanting to start a Thankful journal, but like this idea better. Maybe I’ll find a journal with blank pages so all my thankful collages are in one place. Shared your post via facebook!
I’m glad you like the idea! It’s really simple! I’ve entered you in the drawing.
What a lovely idea! I’ve done similar exercises with counseling clients and it’s so helpful!
I’m excited about you giveaway! I signed up to follow you by email and will share it on my blog’s facebook page!
Well, that’s affirming that you’ve used a similar idea for your clients! It definitely has been helpful for me. Thank you for following my blog! You are entered in the drawing twice!
This is great Heather! And so true! It is amazing how being grateful for what we have can make such a shift in our perspective. And it reminds me of Ann Voscamp’s book about this very thing.
I love Ann’s book about thankfulness–it made such a difference in my life!