Lenten Activity: 40 Days of Gratitude Journaling

An important part of Great Lent is self-examination.  One way I dig deeper is by prayer/gratitude journaling.  It’s like when the ink flows across a page my stress and worries flow out with it.  Everything is put into perspective for me when it’s on paper.  Joys feel bigger and worries seem smaller which naturally bring an overwhelming feeling of contentment-one of my very favorite things to be.

When I just want to reflect on myself, I like to use self-discovery writing prompts.  Sometimes, I work out feelings that I didn’t even realize I had by doing so. In the Orthodox Church, we’re always praying for God to allow us to our own sins and to grant us repentance for them.  But using these types of prompts, we see deeper into ourselves and if we’re being honest can see our faults with more clarity.

Great Lent is the perfect time to do some soul searching while we’re already preparing ourselves for Pascha.  While responding to the prompts, keep an additional piece of paper nearby in case you think of things you need to confess.  Write them down and if you haven’t already, make an appointment for confession and begin your lenten journey with a clean slate.

  1.  Make a list of 5 things you’re grateful for today.  Contentment is inevitable when counting your blessings.
  2. Write your goals for this lent.
  3. Prayers for your spouse and children (or future spouse and children).
  4. Pray for peace in the world and for our government and political leaders.
  5. Things you need to do more of in life.
  6. Things you need less of.
  7. Home goals.
  8. A fear you need to face.
  9. What makes you feel strong? Weak?
  10. Something that makes you angry and why. Write about how to let it go.
  11. 30 interesting facts about yourself.
  12. Perform a random act of kindness and describe how it make you feel.
  13. How can you serve God better?
  14. Prayer for your priest.
  15. A worry you need to give to God.
  16. A biblical truth you’re lacking.
  17. Write your confession. (make a confession appt)
  18. Something on your heart and mind today.
  19. Prayer for a person that has hurt you.
  20. Check your goals from Day 2.  How are you doing? How can you do better?
  21. An important decision you need to make.
  22.  A friend who needs prayer.
  23. What things in my life cause anxiety or stress? Can I cut them out?
  24. Something you feel guilty about. How can you fix that?
  25. A habit you need to break.
  26. Prayer for patience.
  27. Write what you’ve learned about being your age.
  28. Something you want God’s blessing over.
  29. Healing for…
  30. What thoughts do you battle?
  31. Prayer for your work.
  32. How can I be a light? Pray for boldness and humility.
  33. What am I dishonest with myself about.  Why?
  34. What does family mean to you? Describe your family dynamic and what you like and dislike about it.
  35. Life goals and plans.
  36. Open your Bible and choose a verse that resonates with you. Write about why.
  37. Something I’d like to learn how to do this year.
  38. Write a letter to someone you love dearly.
  39. Am I influenced by social media? Positively or Negatively?
  40. Write a letter of thanksgiving to God.

BONUS PROMPTS

  • Think of someone you admire, write the name at the top of your page and spend a few minutes brainstorming the qualities that make this person admirable to you. Circle the qualities you want to work on, star the qualities you already possess. If you wish, spend a few minutes describing how and why this person inspires you.
  • Think of someone you admire, write the name at the top of your page and spend a few minutes brainstorming the qualities that make this person admirable to you. Circle the qualities you want to work on, star the qualities you already possess. If you wish, spend a few minutes describing how and why this person inspires you.
  • How do other people’s perceptions of you match who you actually are? Do you feel understood? Misunderstood? Is there anything you feel most people wouldn’t guess about you?
  • Think about your friendships. What does it mean to be a good friend? What makes some friendships better than others? Describe strengths of your closest friends and why you are drawn to them as people. Now describe the type of friend you are and how you can be even better.
  • Defining our insecurities is one of the best ways to own them. List a few traits (physically, intellectually, emotionally, etc.) you are insecure about. Pick one or two traits to analyze. Why does this specific trait matter to you? Have you always been insecure about this trait? Has anyone else fed into these insecurities? Finally, write an affirmation helping you to own your insecurity and take control of it.
  • Create a thought map with the word identity in the center. Branch out and add aspects of life, ideas, and experiences you believe are crucial to your identity. Is having a family attached to your identity? What about a career? Creative expression? Continue to expand your thought map until you believe it paints an accurate representation of your identity.

Any notebook will do, the important thing is to just get writing!  Personally, I like decorating my notebooks.  A nice fountain pen and pretty paper feel sort of like a happy place for me. I love to add washi tape along the edges and add fun little stickers to the pages and doodle my favorite quotes up and down the margins.

If you’re looking for a new journal, these are my favorite gratitude journals.  I get them in the classic and mini sizes.  And good news, they’re 20% through the end of the day at May Designs!  *note: I just remembered you’ll save an additional 15% off if you’re a new customer, so that’s a 35% savings today!  🙂

I’m big on a keeping a prayer binder, too.  A couple of  years ago, I posted a DIY on How To Create Your Own Prayer Binder but since then my method has evolved a bit.  I became attached to my binder and wanted to carry it with me but its size made it difficult to do that.  Traveler’s notebooks had really begun to trend in the #plannercommunity and I decided to give it a shot and am so glad I did.  I could go on and on about them, and plan to in a video post (as soon as I figure out how to record one 🙂 ) soon.  But I will give a brief explanation of what they are for those of you wondering.

Basically, a traveler’s notebook is a leather cover with an elastic closure and 3 to 6 elastic bands inside.  Each band holds a separate notebook making if a perfect solution for people that have several different subjects they want to keep together but separate, if that makes any sense. For example, I have one notebook for my prayer requests and prayers for my family; one for notes on different sermons and homilies I listen to; one for random lists and notes to self; one for blog planning and writing assignments; my gratitude journal; and a section with my children’s medical and school info along with a section where I write random things they do or say that I don’t want to forget.  You could see the different inserts inside mine in the photo below.

Midori created the original Traveler’s Notebook but I wasn’t crazy about that brand because I really wanted inside pockets for random notes, receipts, etc.  You could purchase plastic sticky pockets but I wanted something that would hold up over the years, so I opted for the Foxy Fix brand and have been SO happy with them.  I’ve tried several sizes and have found uses for all of them but my favorites are the No. 02, aka pocket size, and No. 03, aka A6 size.  I’ll get into the differences in sizes and what I like or don’t like about each of them in the video but both of the above journals fit in a traveler’s notebook. The classic size fits in the No. 07 Foxy Fix and the mini size fits in the No. 03 Foxy.

Until the video is posted, because as I mentioned I’m not quite sure when I’m going to get it recorded and posted, you can see as gazillion different traveler’s notebook setups by either searching #travelersnotebook on Instagram or by searching YouTube for “traveler’s notebook setup”.

If you can’t wait for the video and want a Foxy now (I couldn’t wait to get mine!), use this referral link and save 10%.  They are currently in the middle of a major expansion and are only taking orders on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  They open the site at 11:00 a.m. EST and are only open until they sell out, which sometimes can be within a half an hour.

I hope you enjoy these prompts!  Happy soul searching!  Remember to hashtag #orthodoxgratitude if you share any photos on social media!

5 thoughts on “Lenten Activity: 40 Days of Gratitude Journaling

  1. I just ordered my Gratitude Journal. I am so looking forward to this Lenten journey. I also printed out this blog post. Thank you for enhancing my walk with Christ and bringing me closer to what I need to be focusing on during Great Lent.

    1. Aww, I’m so glad! God bless you, you are such a dear and it’s friends like you who encourage me to do this! I pray your lenten journey is more spiritually fruitful than ever! 🙂 If you post pics of your journaling hashtag #orthodoxgratitude

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