Reading One Thousand Gifts and being inspired to start a thankfulness journal.
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I read about One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp when it came out and after waiting a few months for it from the library, I was able to finally read it. It’s a deep book and a sometimes hard look into one family’s hardship through the eyes of Anne as a child and how she deals with trauma as she grows up.
To be honest, I had to get past her poetic way of writing prose – many times I just wanted her to tell the story plainly. However, if you’re like me and don’t think in a flowery, poetic way DON’T let that stop you from reading this book, because it has me looking at the world in a different way.
And looking at my life differently, as well.
Ann is a Christian who has had some pretty hard things happen in her life. This book tells her journey to wellness through a challenge to list 1,000 things she was thankful for. Sometimes she can only find small things to write down, like the petals of a flower that struck her. Sometimes they are big and meaningful, like the love of a child. Other times it seems there is nothing to be thankful for (accidents, job problems, etc.), but the challenge causes her to see even these events in another light.
She finds that these constant thoughts of thankfulness over the months it took to complete the list helped her not give in to depression, fear, and anxiety. More importantly, she found being thankful in everything is the key to feeling close to God on a daily basis.
As I’ve been mulling over the lessons from her book, I realized that thankfulness is a key component of my desire to live a simple life as well. When I’m thankful to God for what I’ve got – and what I’ve not – that is the ultimate road to living a simple life.
So here’s my confession: I’m constantly thinking about the next project I want or need to complete.
I’ve come to realized that this can cause me to not see and enjoy what I already have. They aren’t big, expensive projects (I am frugal, remember?) and there’s nothing wrong with having projects that we enjoy working on, BUT the problem occurs when fixating on the next project doesn’t allow me to live fully in the moment – or appreciate the finished current project.
In wanting to appreciate all the moments of my life, I’ve taken a page out of One Thousand Gifts and started a Thankfulness Journal like Ann did. If I’m always thinking of things to be thankful for during the day, I can’t obsess about my next project as much, can I?
My sister-in-law gave me this sweet little blank book for my birthday in May and I didn’t know what I should use it for. Now I do. Perfect, right?
It’s pretty enough to sit out on our breakfast bar with a pen so it can remind me to find the joy in everyday life. In the little things. The big things. And even the ugly things. I think leaving it out to see as a reminder was key in Ann’s book and it has been key for me, too.
In the few weeks that I’ve been doing this, I find that I really have lived my life not being thankful enough! I’m having to purposefully think about it and remember to write things down. I’m hoping as it goes on, that I will naturally start to see the positive and things to be thankful for.
My entries aren’t as poetic and beautiful like Ann writes, but that’s not the point, is it? Ann’s examples have helped me see that the smallest, most seemingly insignificant things are worthy of writing down because they have inspired me in some way.
And you know what? I’ve been challenged to be thankful in challenging times, as well. Maybe not for the situation, but for the growth it gives me and the things I learn.
I’m finding that when I’m concentrating on being thankful on a daily basis it’s easier to be content, enjoy the moments of my life – and live simply.
What about you? Have you read One Thousand Gifts? Started a journal? Do you want to?
Oh, and Ann also has an inspiring blog, that I encourage you to check out!
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