'humility', 'faith', 'submissive', 'meek'.... not words that seem to fit with the image of a superhero.
A little over a year ago, in preparation for a lesson on Gratitude to the Young Women (12-17 year old girls at church), the YW presidency started keeping gratitude journals. The challenge was to write down at least 3 things each day that we were grateful for, blessings that we had noticed, ways that we had noticed the Lord's hand in our day.
This has been such a blessing to me. I have missed a few days, and there were a couple of days where all I could think of was how grateful the day was at an end. (I'm sure on those days I could have found something had I looked harder!). There are many times when I have expressed gratitude for the challenge of keeping this journal because it made me sit down and review my day, and it made me more aware during the day because I was looking more actively for things that I could write about in the evening.
When I've read back in the journal I noticed patterns emerging. I noticed that the periods where I had missed days were also days I could recognise as a spiritual trough, a period where I had not studied the scriptures daily or prayed as earnestly (some days, not at all) as I should. Humility and faith bring gratitude which brings humility and faith.
I noticed that the periods where I had been diligent in noticing blessings and had given thanks for them were times where I had been blessed with an increased awareness of the promptings of the Spirit in general. These were also days when I was generally more patient, more kind and contented. (My kids like those days!)
Lastly I noticed that the things I expressed gratitude for ranged widely.... from 'chocolate' to eternal principles and blessings. I figured I should give thanks for all things! But lately I have thought a little more about the phrase "all things".
D&C 59:7 "Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things",
D&C 78:19 "And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious"
I have thought about the pioneers. I have thought about the blessings that come from adversity. I have thought about the ability to find things to be grateful for in times of adversity and the importance of being grateful for the adversity itself. It is in our extremities we come to know God. Although my recent injury affects my extremity (har-de-ha), the challenging days I have now can hardly be described as an extremity........ but I am still grateful for the time for reflection it has given me! A blessing indeed.
My goal is to be able to always be grateful in the midst of a trial, and not just after it is over.
"To express gratitude is gracious and honourable,
To enact gratitude is generous and noble,
but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven"
President Thomas S Monson
For our FHE tonight everyone was given 5 minutes to write down a blessing or something they are grateful for.... one for every letter of the alphabet. (Q, X and Z were tricky.....)
"This is the day which the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it"