Monday, March 21, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

I recently started reading Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are". While I struggle a bit with the writing style, I am loving this book! Usually I'm a fairly speedy reader, but the style Ann uses is a bit different than I am used to. This slows things down a bit as I need to read more carefully. I fully believe God intended this book for careful reading. At least for me.

I find myself constantly agreeing with what she is saying and stopping to ponder how this plays out in my own life.

One of the first times that Ann really grabbed my attention with this book is on page 22:
"I wonder too...if the rent in the canvas of our life backdrop, the losses that puncture our world, our own emptiness, might actually become places to see. To see through to God. That which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave. Maybe so. But how? How do we choose to allow the holes to become seeing-through-to-God places? To more-God places? How do I give up resentment for gratitude, gnawing anger for spilling joy? Self-focus for God-communion?"
I feel like God has been dumping a lot of things in my life to process in this regard. I'm still working through it all, but I feel like this book is going to be very beneficial for me. Lately, I've been struggling with contentment where with my current "life" situation. Don't get me wrong - I love my life...the thing is, I find myself constantly looking forward to what's coming next...No matter what the "next" is. I'm surrendering this area of my life and trying to appreciate the here and now and exactly what I'm doing. Instead of looking forward to the weekend, I choose to try to find joy in what happens Monday-Friday. Instead of looking forward to our next trip or vacation, I choose to try to find joy in random visits with friends, date nights, and movies/PJ nights at home.

Ann writes a bit about this on page 31:
"Isn't it here? The wonder? Why do I spend so much of my living hours struggling to see it? Do we truly stumble so blind that we must be affronted with blinding magnificence for our blurry soul-sight to recognize grandeur? The very same surging magnificence that cascades over our every day here. Who has time or eyes to notice? All my eyes can seem to fixate on are the splatters of disappointment across here and me."

I don't want to be blind to the daily blesses that God gives me. I don't want to focus on the disappointment. I choose joy.

"So then as long as thanks is possible...I think this through. As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Joy is always possible. Whenever, meaning--now; wherever, meaning--here. The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be--unbelievably--possibly!" (page 33)

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