I was recently in England speaking to a group of about thirty men and women who are active in ministry in some way. After a brief talk, I broke them down into small groups with one discussion question: “What is a recent spiritual practice that has been a blessing in your life?”

My group consisted of a man and two women in addition to myself One of the women said, “I’ll go first About a year ago I started something I am calling a ‘Gratitude Journal’ Each day, at the end of the day, I write down five things that happened that day that were either fun or delicious or entertaining or uplifting”

I asked, “Do you do it every night?” She said, “Most of the time. I rarely forget to do it. I have it by my bed, and it is the last thing I do each night.”

“What has been the benefit in your spiritual life?” I asked. “Well,” she said, “I found myself neglecting to really pay attention to all of the good things in my life. That’s why I started doing it. But as I began doing it, I began to develop a more thankful heart. Each day I see the goodness of life more and more, and I appreciate it more than I used to. I often took things for granted, as if I deserved them. And when things did not go as I wanted them to, I would whine about it. Now I see that everything is a gift to be savored, and I express my gratitude to God each day for all of the wonderful things he brings my way.”

I was both convicted and encouraged by her example. That is one of the great things about Christian community— we inspire each other simply through our own experiences and testimony.”

Soul Training:

“Today, or this week, begin keeping a gratitude journal. Try to write down five things that happened to you each day that were a blessing to you. Do not feel the need to make everything “spiritual”; if you enjoyed a delicious slice of pizza or a funny movie, simply write it down. The cumulative effect of these small moments of pleasure will, over time, amount to a large amount of gratitude and thanksgiving.”

Taken from Hidden in Christ by James Bryan Smith. Copyright(c) 2013 by James Bryan Smith. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515. www.ivpress.com