One simple daily habit has been making it much easier for me to enjoy life rather than become overwhelmed with envy. I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for almost a decade, just jotting down things I’m grateful for morning and evening.
One day I got to the end of my current gratitude journal but didn’t have time to shop for a new one. Since I’d written only on all the right-hand pages, I decided to fill the left-hand pages, starting from the end and working forward. So every morning, before adding to my gratitude journal, I reread what I’d already written. A few weeks into this, I noticed something odd: According to my gratitude journal, I love hummingbirds.
I had no clue that I loved hummingbirds. But they were on every page—sometimes twice on the same day! Which made me wonder: What else do I not know about myself?
Like many women, I’ve always struggled to develop a strong sense of self. I had lived almost five decades but still had little idea of who I really was. But suddenly, there I was, paging through my gratitude journal, going, This is me! This is who I am! Everything listed on these pages—and I pulled out my past gratitude journals too—are chronicles of me. All in my own handwriting!
My gratitude journal is a record of everything I love. Of what’s most important in my life. Making it far more than just a list. My gratitude journal, it turns out, is a blueprint for an entire gallery—a Gratitude Gallery.
Life as a Gratitude Gallery
As the curator of my very own Gratitude Gallery, I started studying my journals to learn about what I love, what I need and want in my life, and how the Master Artist reveals Himself uniquely through me. After years of seeking a sense of self, what I finally found was almost too good to be true: The path to self-discovery runs straight through gratitude.
Soon after having this epiphany, I shared it at a women’s retreat. The ladies laughed along with me as I said, tongue-in-cheek, “It’s almost as if God knew what He was talking about when He instructed us to be thankful!”
Together, we explored verses that were coming to life as my Gratitude Gallery grew each day.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17, emphasis added)
Afterward, a woman came up, introduced herself as Sarah, and said, “You mentioned that you like hummingbirds, so I wanted you to see this.” She showed me her sketchpad with an exquisite drawing of a hummingbird she’d been doodling while I spoke.
It even had eyelashes!
I started to make a typical self-deprecating comment like, “I can’t even draw a straight line with a ruler!” But I stopped, realizing this: I don’t have to compare myself to her. She’s a woman offering me a glimpse of how God expresses Himself through her. She’s inviting me into her Gratitude Gallery. And I did something different. I simply accepted the invitation and enjoyed her gift.
When life becomes a Gratitude Gallery, you are free to enjoy rather than envy. You become a safe place for another woman to share a bit of herself. You can enjoy what she’s sharing and encourage her to share more.
When you do, you’ll be joyously overwhelmed by how God reveals Himself through both of you.
From Overwhelmed by Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory