Oh, how I want to be like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. Constantly filled with optimism, enthusiasm, and boundless energy. But if I’m honest, I’m much more like Eeyore, focused on my fears, failures and inadequacies. To the outside world, I mask it behind my smile and the standard answer of “Fine. I’m fine.” But when it’s just me and my faithful, ever-napping dog, my inner Eeyore usually reigns. It’s a constant battle.
I really do trust in God’s goodness. I know that He cares about me as an individual. Not just a macro God who loves everybody, but also a very personal God who cares about the details of my life. Jesus truly is my anchor and my hope.
But still, I constantly battle that inner Eeyore. And I don’t think I’m the only person who struggles like this.
When life seems overwhelming and you feel inadequate, what do you do? How do you step forward with faith and courage when you’re tired of being brave? For me, one of the best ways to overcome my Eeyore tendencies is by looking at the past.
Looking back? Yup, looking back. Not looking back at my many failings and mistakes. Not remembering how others might have hurt me. But looking back at God’s faithfulness.
I don’t know if you’re like me, but I can barely remember where I parked at the grocery store today, much less the remember the myriad details of life from previous years.
That’s why…many, many years ago…(long before Oprah anointed the idea)…I began a gratitude journal. I didn’t want to forget the little and big ways that God showed His love and faithfulness in my day-to-day life. I started keeping a journal by my bedside, and wrote a few “bullets” every night of the positive things that had happened that day. I became intentional about remembering.
Sometimes, it was an entry about a beautiful sky at dawn. A meaningful talk with a friend. A great laugh with my daughter. The bright, green hope of Spring. A cup of freshly brewed coffee. Sometimes, the entries were a lot more “significant.” But whether things big or small, they were reminders of a faithful God who loves me.
Then, early in 2012, I stumbled across a wonderful, five-year journal from Levenger.
(Here’s a link if you’re interested: www.levenger.com/5-Year-Journal-Core-7150.aspx)
The journal has a page for each day of the year, with five sections, each with five lines.
Now, before nodding off to sleep, I pick up the 5 year journal from my bedside table. And I write down reasons for gratitude from THAT day. Sometimes they are very small. And sometimes they are huge. But I can always find experiences worth remembering.
What has amazed me…now that I am starting my fourth year of entries in the journal…are the things I had forgotten. And by looking back over the last four years, I see that God has been faithful, again and again. He has provided for me, comforted me, encouraged me and shown me breathtaking beauty. He is with me.
It’s the best antidote I know for overcoming fear and uncertainty about the future: reflecting on God’s faithfulness in the past. And contrary to the caveat that the financial world always adds: with God, past performance IS indicative of future results.
If you’ve never tried it, maybe 2015 is your year to begin. Be intentional about remembering. It might take you five minutes a day to jot things down. But it will bring you an endless source of encouragement in the days and years to come.
Remember God’s faithfulness. Look back. He really is with you. Yesterday. Today. And forever.
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