In the last several weeks, our six-year old started a “star chart” for herself. Any time she helps around the house or with her sister, she can add a sticker to the chart. We are not really rigid about it, and we have not even designated a reward – the satisfaction of stickers alone seems to be working. Yesterday, I overheard her talking to herself as she placed stickers on the chart. Her list of “good deeds” seemed endless – from holding her sister’s hand across the street, to saying thank you for something, to putting clothes in the dirty pile. As her list got longer, I thought to myself, “Well, that’s being a little overly generous. Stickers should be for really good things, not just everyday niceties.”
But as I thought about my reaction some more, I wondered if perhaps I had missed something. I once had a spiritual director who encouraged me to switch up my prayer life. Instead of praying about my concerns and worries, he suggested I pray about all the things that had gone well that day. The switch was difficult at first. I am really good at articulating my worries and stressors. But I am not always good at celebrating what has gone well – even the smallest things on my to-do list. Those good things seem negligible somehow – as not being as important as the things not yet done.
I wonder if my spiritual director was trying to capture for me what my daughter has captured in her star chart. In celebrating the small victories every day, we allow our hearts to fill with a sense of gratitude. And, like those multiplying stickers, the more goodness we articulate, the more goodness we begin to see. In some ways, when we begin to see all the little bits of worthiness in ourselves, I imagine we begin to get a glimpse of the way that God sees us – as beautiful creatures who mess up from time to time, but who, day in and day out, do a lot of tremendously good things – both big and small. If you were to start a star chart with the eyes of God in mind, how might you fill up your chart this week?