If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I am very appreciative to God for “voices” in my life (many of which I have NEVER met) that speak truth and impact my soul. Ann Voscamp never fails me…nor you for that matter. In this post, she outlines what can be a truly revolutionary of living life – being thankful. In addition, she gives a practical step that can change your life – commit to keep a “thanks” journal. Imagine your life, focused more on the things you are thankful for then on any other thing – news (which is always depressing), chores, duties, responsibilities, etc., etc. Thanksgiving IS more than a holiday – it can be a way of life! Check out her wonderful words:
Thanksgiving is More Than a Holiday: It’s Meant to Change Your Life
Some days I pick up a camera and the lens is my ink, for cameras have sensor eyes, and pixels record. I slide it into a pocket, the camera in phone, and find another way to chronicle, to force the lids open; another way to receive the moment with reverential thanks.
When he comes in from the barn, The Farmer Husband finds me leaning over a plate of cheese grated and sitting in sunlight. It is true. And yeah — I do feel foolish. I mean, it’s curls of mozzarella and cheddar piled high in a pond of golden day.
And I’m changing the settings to macro, increasing the ISO, pulling in for a close-up frame. He’s fed 650 sows with one strong arm this morning, flicked on a welder and melded the steel. So it is quite possible that the God-glory of a ring of shredded cheese may be lost on him.
“I like finding you just like this.” He wraps one arm around my bowed middle, draws me close and up into him strong. “Crazy like this?” I blush with my silliness, and he brushes close with the four-day stubble. He laughs. “Perfect like this.” He nods toward the cheese plate. “You being happy in all these little things that God gives. This makes me happy.”
Happy in all these little things that God gives. Ridiculously happy over slips of cheese.
That I am, and it’s wild, and, oh, I am the one who laughs. Me! Changed! Changed by giving thanks and surprised by joy!
God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy. And gratitude for the seemingly insignificant—a seed—this plants the giant miracle. Do not disdain the small. The whole of the life—even the hard—is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole.
“There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing. The moments will add up.”
There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing. The moments will add up. I, too, had read it often, the oft-quoted verse:
“And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).
And I, too, would nod and say straight-faced, “I’m thankful for everything.” But in this counting 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…
If gratitude is an antidote for anxiety…and giving thanks is a real cure for stress — why relegate thanksgiving to a holiday when giving thanks can revolutionize our whole lives?
I do this, record the gifts, gather the moments like manna.
“Joy is always a function of gratitude — and gratitude is always a function of perspective.”
It’s could be this feast everyday — a Thanksgiving Feast everyday. People who keep gratitude journals are 25% happier. Twenty-five percent happier. Is this why God commands us to always give thanks? What sane person doesn’t want to be 25% happier?
Why in the world don’t we do this?
Joy is always a function of gratitude — and gratitude is always a function of perspective. If we are going to change our lives, we’re going to have to change the way we see.
This recording our gratitudes, this looking for blessings everywhere, this counting of gifts— this is what changes what we are looking for. This is what changes our perspective. Thanksgiving is the lens God means for us to see joy all year round.
The light’s igniting a plate of cheese and there’s sunlight falling in planks across the floor. The stress untangles. The moment’s a gift, a grace…
The sound of kids laughing and my mama’s knitting needles clicking and the girls baking in the kitchen….and speed slows to wonder.
Why miss our lives? Why miss all the ways He loves?
This is the gift all the children want: us all here and awake to crazy Grace.
Us all in this world addicted to speed, unwrapping the real secret of time management, unwrapping the fullest life:
In the stressful times : seek God
In the painful times : praise God
In the harried times : hallow God
In the terrible times : trust God.
And at all times — and at all times –
“Wherever you are, count your blessings, collect gifts, count it all joy.”
Because Thanksgiving is more than holiday–It’s the season to Wake up to Really, Fully Living.
Wherever you are, count your blessings, collect gifts, count it all joy.
The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world.
This thanks for the minute, it is to say the prayer of the most blessed of women about to participate in one of the most transformative events the world has ever known.
Mary, with embryonic God Himself filling her womb, exalts in quiet ways: “My soul doth magnify the Lord” (Luke 1:46 KJV)….
And when I do this, give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me. This, this, makes me full. I “magnify him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30 KJV) — and more of God’s glory enters the world.
What will a life magnify? The world’s stress cracks, the grubbiness of a day, all that is wholly wrong and terribly busted?
There’s no way to enter into His courts but through the gates of Thanksgiving — and it’s only in His presence is fullness of Joy and I snap a picture of cheese.