As 2011 wound slowly down and 2012 sped closer, I started and finished a book that gave me much to think about. The book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, spent over twenty weeks on the New York Times bestseller’s list last year. (You can read reviews and preview the first chapter, here.) In brief, the book is about finding God’s gifts or blessings that He gives us in the everyday. The author approaches this task by noting these gifts in a journal as she observes them in her everyday life. Some might think that life is perfectly rosy for her and that compiling this list will be easy, but nothing could be farther from the truth. She is a simple farmer’s wife. Mother to six children. Her challenge that she takes on in this book is to find thankfulness in the monotony of common life. Add into that her own personal anguishes and demons of her past and her struggle with thankfulness and faith and God become real and tangible. I strongly recommend reading it.
As I read the book, I considered what my own list of One Thousand Gifts would look like. I have always considered myself a person who is observant of what God gives and one who is thankful for His gifts. So when I read Ann’s post on January 5, a dare to her readers to make a list this year of God’s gifts, I thought, I can do that. Yesterday I finally got serious about it and began to contemplate and look for things to write down . . . and failed. Miserably. Sure, I had some ideas, but when it came time to write them out I couldn’t. They seemed so insignificant. I felt so self-conscious. And isn’t that the point? To look at life’s everyday gifts as everyday treasures so that He will be magnified and I will be humbled. This didn’t sit well in me. I realized that though I thought this would be easy, my own pride and self sufficiency stood in the way. And that realization shows me why I need to do this. To look for God in the everyday. To list His benefits in the simple things. To see His gifts and graces in sunrises and frost crystals and hot beverages on cold days and laughter with family and friends. To say goodbye to thanklessness and embrace thankfulness. To realize His goodness so that I may decrease and He may increase. To see and welcome Him into my every moment every day.
So I am accepting the challenge and today starts a new day. A day to see God and be thankful.