Every year, in Russia, usually in June, the hot water is turned off for a couple of weeks in order for maintenance to be done. So, for a little while all we have is cold water to live with. People come up with all kinds of (sometimes, very creative) ways to simplify their lives while waiting for the hot water to come back. And even though this event occurs every year, for some reason, people just don’t seem to get used to it. It’s a disappointment every time it happens. Having lived in the States for quite a while and now visiting my family here in Russia, I definitely wasn’t ready for such a change, though temporary. “Count your blessings!” – my mother said every time she heard me grumble something about the absence of hot water.
Oh how joyful were the days when the nice stream of hot water poured out of all our faucets! The phrase “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” acquired a whole new meaning. How’s that for a new perspective
Though a tiny thing (really, it’s not that big of a deal), it does make me think of all the blessings I have and take for granted. Every time I get a sore throat, I think, man, it would be so nice to be able to swallow and breathe and not even feel it or have to put effort into it! Breathing and swallowing — what small things, but so critical to our existence. And yet we don’t think about them, although should be grateful for them every day!!!
The Scriptures are full of references to gratitude, and I figured if that’s the case, it must be important. And I think that God not only expects us to give thanks for everything that we have in general, He also wants us to see His hand in our day to day lives, in every second that He gives us. There is a wonderful hymn called “Count your blessings” that I’ve heard and sung almost my entire life. I always thought, what an odd thing to say count your blessings. Am I supposed to literally count them, as in 1-2-3? And you know what I’m discovering? I am discovering that sometimes that it precisely what I need to do to be able to appreciate the things that I have.
So today I’d like to offer an activity that can help us literally count our hundred blessings and name them them one by one. It’s called, “Take a Gratitude Challenge” and the idea originated with John Hilton III and Anthony Sweat. My family did this activity for family night a while ago, and it really opened my eyes to many things! What’s great about it is that the hundred things are split into ten categories, so each has ten things in it. Doesn’t sound so overwhelming anymore, does it! If you do it for family night, you can answer each of the questions together or individually and then share them with each other. You can also do this as a journal entry. I think, the most important thing is to not just think of answers or say them out loud. It’s important to write them down, so you have them and can refer to them often.
So here are the questions:
- Write 10 physical abilities you are grateful for.
- Write 10 material possessions you are grateful for.
- Write 10 living people you are grateful for.
- Write 10 deceased people you are grateful for.
- Write 10 things about nature you are grateful for.
- Write 10 things about today you are grateful for.
- Write 10 places on earth you are grateful for.
- Write 10 modern inventions you are grateful for.
- Write 10 foods you are grateful for.
- Write 10 things about the gospel you are grateful for.
I felt that some categories were very easy to answer, and others I really had to think about. And when I thought of a person or a thing, I thought, why of course they are my blessing and this is why! So count your hundred blessings, name them one by one, and have fun with this activity!
Just for fun, this is quote from Winnie-the-Pooh that I love:
You can read more about gratitude in my post “Cherish Every Moment On Good Days And Not So Good Days” here.