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  • Sarah Reijonen

Thinking Differently and Practicing Gratitude

While my departure from Facebook means I’ll have to work harder to keep contact with friends and folks across the oceans, it is helping me see the world with new eyes. I look outside and see the Giant’s Causeway-like Columbia Gorge as we drive through Washington, and instead of clicking a shot to post later, I just admire it for its beauty and magnitude. Already, my brain is starting to question all those patterns that have been formed over the last 17 years on social media. Already, I’m writing not in short post-length blurbs, but having well-thought out ideas.

There’s a scene from the kid’s movie Wall-E that replays in my brain. It’s the vision of those hefty humans roving around on their floating recliners and always watching a screen. Is that who we have become?

How quickly we became robots without even realizing.

My brain is firing again. And, instead of thinking about what Facebook wants me to think about (i.e. How much I dislike the “other guys” or how soul-sucking and life-slaying all these lockdowns are, which I still do believe but don’t think about as often now), I am trying to focus “on things above.”

Back in November I began a gratitude journal when I started to read “One Thousand Gifts.” To tell the truth, the writing was way to foofoo for my liking, but I was keen on the idea itself—of writing down 1,000 things I’m grateful for—so I ditched the book and devotional and just ran with the gratitude journal idea.

Besides bowing out of FB, practicing gratitude has been a big brain changer for me and has really transformed the way I see the world on a daily basis. And I love that we say “practice gratitude,” because it really does take practice. Practice in seeing. Practice in expressing. Practice in letting it all sink in and choosing thankfulness over being a big ole Pooh Bear—oh bother.

I find myself looking for things to be grateful for and keeping notes throughout the day to add to my journal later. Instead of simply hearing a chirping bird outside, I stop and watch it peck around in the dirt and am reminded that, as I like to say, “God loves us more than the birds.” It’s biblical. Look it up. No really. I think about the text and am reminded to be grateful for God’s provision in my life and his promise to continue to provide. “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matt. 6:26) See, I told you he likes us more than the birds.

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