Today's hurried lifestyle is filled with deadlines, to do lists and goals, all pushing us faster and farther than ever before. We need this reminder to slow down. Some of us need it more than others. To slow down, look around and be grateful for the little gifts God leaves scattered along our way. Smell the rain. See leaves falling from the trees. Hear geese flying overhead. Taste the goodness of a homemade meal. Feel the warmth of a roaring fire.
But it's not just about slowing down. It's not only about being grateful. It's even more about being intentional. It's about praying for, seeking out and anticipating divine opportunities―the opportunities to share the love of Christ. To share my story all wrapped up in His, and His all wrapped up in mine. To smile at the check out girl and leave her with an encouraging word about God's goodness. To help the elderly lady at the library get to her car in the rain and remind her "God loves you". To meet the mail man at the box with a note of gratitude and an invitation to church.
I love Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts because it helps me get there!
“Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing.... Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.” ―Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
The book One Thousand Gifts was such a blessing to me! A disclaimer though, I read the Kindle version as I so often do. You need to get the hardcover! Get the One Thousand Gifts hardcover here. Why do I want you to invest in the hardcover. 1. Because this book is so beautifully illustrated! (The Kindle version does not do it justice.) 2. Because IT'S ON SALE! The photographs in the book are way beyond gorgeous, and Voskamp's writing style is uniquely her own, poetic and lyrical.
The book begins with the theme of suffering, sorrow and disappointment, and how these things drive gratitude away from our hearts. One Thousand Gifts is a picturesque accounting of how Voskamp first saw her own need for gratitude. The suffering, sorrow and disappointment that made up her life at that time had also planted seeds of ingratitude. She was looking for a way to trade a lifestyle of ingratitude for a lifestyle of gratitude. She learns to make that exchange not only in spite of her hardships, but even through them. And there is the key, to be grateful THROUGH the hardships. If we can do that, we can cultivate a lifestyle of gratitude.
One Thousand Gifts Proposes a Lifestyle of Gratitude
So how does Voskamp cultivate this lifestyle of gratitude? She does it in a very tangible way by setting out to number all the things she has to be grateful for. She begins this journey by challenging herself to write down one thousand gifts of God’s grace. ONE THOUSAND GIFTS OF GOD'S GRACE! Wow! Can I name 100? Can I even name 10? I know there are a thousand, the question is, can I see them? Do I recognize them? Have I allowed myself to experience them? Or am I too hurried?
What are these one thousand gifts? They are the ordinary, every day things we so often overlook and take for granted. The way the morning sun moves across the kitchen floor. The sound of a blue jay outside the bedroom window. The smell of fresh cut grass. The beauty of a corn field. As she begins to list these gifts of God's grace she finds that she also begins to speak the language of gratitude. Voskamp discovers how to be grateful not just in spite of life’s hardships, but to be grateful through them! Her life is transformed. I believe when we also make this discovery in our own lives, we too will be transformed.
As Voskamp learns to live a lifestyle of gratitude, she also calls on us to do the same. She wants us to experience this lifestyle, and to begin our own journey of listing one thousand gifts.
Researchers said of those who keep a gratitude journal:
If you are convinced already that a more grateful lifestyle is what you've been craving. If you're ready to live intentionally. To pray for, seek out and anticipate the divine opportunities. To share your story allowing gratitude to take a seat in your heart where ingratitude once lived, let me introduce you to the Pretty Simple Books Gratitude Journal. I have gifted this to several friends and the response has always been positive.
Today, let's begin to cultivate a more grateful lifestyle. Let's live intentionally, pray for, seek out and anticipate divine opportunities. Let's share our stories. Let's let gratitude take a seat in our hearts where ingratitude once lived.
Let Ann's beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive. Come live the best dare of all!" --goodreads
It's only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have that
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