One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2017 was to write something I was thankful for every day. 365 days of gratitude.
When I studied abroad in Florence, Italy I purchased a leather-bound notebook from one of the leather markets and have been saving it for something special ever since. This journal is what I decided to put my “365 Days of Gratitude” in. Over the course of the year, I brought this journal with me to Fallbrook, California; Tijuana, Mexico; Houston, Texas; Westport, Washington; Hoi An, Vietnam; Los Angeles, California; Leavenworth, Washington; Seattle, Washington; and Reno, Nevada. It has become a dear little companion to me over the past year and has seen all of the adventures I have been on.
Today I read through my words from the last 365 days and felt so blessed as I remembered all that I had done and been a part of in 2017. Here are seven things I learned over the past year:
1. God has surrounded me with incredible people. The majority of the things I listed I was thankful for were individuals that God has placed in my life. Whether it was my youth group girls who bring so much joy to my life, my small group that has been together for six-ish years and is a second family to me, my dear friends who support me and love me well or my beautiful family which is truly the biggest blessing in my life, I have amazing people around me who know me well and care for me.
2. It is good to get outside of my comfort zone. There have been many blessings in my life over the past year as I have stepped out from what feels safe and tried new things. God continues to make me brave and helps me grow in confidence.
3. Sunrises remind me that God sees me and cares about me.
4. I am not good at resting. Another resolution I had for this year was to say no to more things because I too often fill every waking moment of my day with things to do. I still wrestle with remembering that my identity is in Christ and not in what I do, but was encouraged to find many days this past year where God granted rest for my busy soul.
5. Doing things with people brings me joy. I am a quality time person and found my last year full of memories of coffee dates, walks, talks on the phone, going to concerts all with the people in my life. I often take life too seriously thinking that everything I do must be productive. The people in my life have helped me simply have fun!
6. God is always with me. The past year was full of joy, sadness, doubt, laughter, insecurity, and boldness and Jesus was with me in every moment.
7. It is not always easy to be grateful. Some days I found it so hard to think of one thing from my day I was thankful for. Even after practicing gratitude for most of the year, I found December the hardest to be grateful in. I am not magically changed by this practice and will continue to learn what it means to be thankful even in the midst of hard times.