Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Sweet Life: One Thousand Gifts Chapter Three

Chapter Three is the chapter of discovering the list. The list of eucharisteo, and acknowledgement and "unwrapping the gifts he bestows".

Check out the video chat with Ann Voskamp:

Think about all the lists we make in life. Grocery lists, to-do lists, packing lists, etc. How many times can you say you receive joy out of making the list? I mean crazy people like me tend to love to make lists and check off things (sometimes even writing down things that we have already done in order to check it off). At the end of the day, I can truly say I gain no long-lasting joy over my to-do list or my grocery list, even if it is broken down by the order I walk through the store. In actuality, I become anxious or disgruntled because of my lists. I gain frustration over my inability to accomplish "enough" or a monotonous task such as grocery shopping that must be done week after week.

What if there was a list that would guide me to "overcome my habit of ingratitude...learn eucharisteo... to live fully...being thankful whether empty or full"?  Sign me up! Ann explains how she was dared to write down 1,000 things she is thankful for. Discovering, as stated in the video, "the things we see each day but sleepwalk through and allowing them to awaken joy in you". Making a list such as this conjures up the picture of sitting at a bridal shower or baby shower with the person to your left carefully detailing the gift opened and the giver of that gift. All of this written down so that we can return the thanks with a thoughtful, heartfelt thank you note (you all know I have strong feelings regarding thank you notes). We are listing the things for which we are thankful to have received as gifts. Why don't we do this in regards to God? He showers us with gifts more abundantly than those that can be wrapped in shiny paper with a coordinating ribbon, but often we sit down and send out a blanket thank you to God for "all he has given us."

Are we thankful for all that he has given us? Of course, but God gifts us opportunities to discover joy in the minute, unique details of life. I love what Ann had to say on page 57:
"But in the counting of gifts, to one thousand, more, I discover that slapping a sloppy brush of thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in my life."
Instead let us realize that we are made for praise to him. Can we accept a dare to "name all the ways that God loves me"? On page 59:
"And when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me"
When we use our mental capacity to dwell in thankfulness to Him we eliminate a little bit more wasting of our time in anxiety, ingratitude, and frustration.

Can we accept the challenge to find 1,000 blessings? You don't have to be "a brilliantly great writer, you just have to recognize God's love". Open your senses to the daily blessings around you no matter how small and seemingly insignificant, and write down the things that God is giving to you. Don't worry about being poetic (that is definitely not this girls gift) but find blessing even in the nitty gritty.

I will share my first three with you:
1. Smooth Sunday morning getting dressed and mouths fed (rarely happens)
2. A drool stained shoulder from sweet baby "kisses"
3. Opportunity to ease a friend's frustration and anxiety by taking her child for the evening.

These are all things that happen regularly, but by opening my heart to a beat of thankfulness, I find joy in the day-to-day, the here and now.

There are so many things I want to share from this chapter that touched me in a multitude of ways, but at the end of the day finding a list of thankfulness in your life hits the nail on the head. I leave you with these thoughts of Ann's as you think about accepting the dare to list "One Thousand Gifts":
"Life change comes when we receive life with thanks and ask for nothing to change" page 61
"Change takes real intentionality" page 43

Leave me a comment telling me what the start of your list of "One Thousand Gifts" looks like, and I can't wait to see what Chapter Four has in store for us. Need to play catch up? Check out Chapter One and Chapter Two discussions.

with Belles and Beauxs 

1 comment:

  1. I'm still finishing up this chapter but cheated because I wanted to read your post - I LOVE your comparison to the list that we make for bridal/baby showers. That's exactly what it should be!