A couple of years ago I was part of a women’s Bible study group that studied Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. I had received the book as a gift prior to the Bible study and had started to read it, but I wasn’t getting through it too quickly.
In the book, Ann talks about the importance of finding joy in whatever circumstance and living life fully. She challenges the reader to do what she did and start journaling about all the things in life that God has given you to be grateful for. So I tried it, for the two months that we met for Bible study I challenged myself to write down 1,000 things that I have to be grateful for.
I had heard the concept of keeping a gratitude journal and how powerful that is, but up until this time I had never tried consistently journaling about all of the things I have to be thankful for. So I started…I am embarrassed to admit it was challenging at first. The idea was for every item on the list to be different. I got through the really obvious big positive things– God, husband, daughters, house, money, cars, parents, sister, dog. But once I got past that obvious stuff. I got a little stuck. And that is when the breakthrough started happening. I slowly began writing all of the little things that made up my life that I had to be grateful for. Baby hair, pajama pants, chocolate, sleep, choices…. Then I started writing about the hard things and how I was thankful for them. car needing repair, pain, struggling relationship, …
I have to admit I am a bit of a pessimist and I tend to remember and dwell on the negative things that happen. I noticed this pattern not only in myself but in my conversations with my girlfriends. But as I began to write, I began to see my life in a whole different light. I began to see my life as full of abundance. Everyday, even the really bad days, had so many small gifts in them that made me grateful. My view of my life completely changed. I began to see my life with the Wow Factor that it really deserved. I also had another revelation. There was a relationship in my life where, I had longed for and idealized a very different kind of relationship. Through this time of journaling and God working on my heart, I realized that though that situation may never be what I idealized, it held some really fabulous parts to it that I was missing because I was longing for what it wasn’t. I was able to start enjoying and appreciating the relationship for what it is.
So in the end the secret that changed my life was gratitude that changed my mind and heart. What does your mind need to be changed about today? How would your life change if you were grateful for all you have?