Today it is late when I finally get to sit down and read the 3rd chapter of the book, "One Thousand Gifts". It is now quiet and all the kids are in bed. There were 8 kids, 3 moms and 1 grandma here today all doing life together. It was a busy, but laid back day all at the same time. We laughed a lot. We talked about serious things a little, but mostly we just hung together. It was delightful really.
In the last two days as I have been reading this book and thinking hard about what I have been reading I realize that this is going to be a book that I apply daily or not at all. This euchristeo lifestyle must become just that, a lifestyle and I am all in. Period. I truly believe that Ann Voskamp has put to words what my spiritual life was missing. Gratitude. If you don't really know me then you may not know the struggle I have with critical discontented thoughts, but it is very real. My criticalness is not so much about my circumstances as it is with the people around me. I am most critical and discontent with those closest to me. You can imagine, and if you are close to me you know this firsthand, I can be not so fun to be around. God has revealed to me through the years the danger this type of thinking can have on all my relationships and so I have been journeying with Him looking for how to "fix" this unhealthy part of myself, but honestly I didn't know how to practically change this. The Lord revealed to me at ladies retreat a few weeks ago a new way to apply a familiar verse :
Philippians 4:8"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." I felt the Lord calling me to use this verse as the lens I look at others through....like a new filter on my perception of others. I understood that truth, but didn't know how to apply it until I began reading this book. A life of gratitude will cause me to be so much more focused on my thankfulness that I won't be able to live in criticalness. Those two attitudes are mutually exclusive. God knows that I am simple and that I need very direct ways to apply truth and He is showing me those ways through the principles presented in this book.
One other honest confession...since I have been journeying through mid-life these last few years I have begun struggling with anxious thoughts and these thoughts come in the dead of night. They are not rational thoughts in the daytime, but in the night when I wake from my
sleep they seem to be quite worthy of my attention nearly to the point of panic. Last night this happened. I am away from home at my dear friend's house vacationing with my two little girls and her family. When I awoke in an anxious state last night I was able to begin to apply the
practices of this book and give thanks to God for the exact moment I was in. Normally I would have turned on the tv for an escape from my thoughts, but last night I just kept talking to God and being grateful for right where I was until I calmly fell back asleep. Unless you struggle with nighttime, perimenopausal anxiety this may not seem like a huge victory....but if you do then you know what a big deal this was. I know I am in the beginning of all this....but peeps, I think I am onto something.
Lord, thank You for using the experiences of others combined with the truth of Your word to teach me how to live this life in full and complete gratitude. Euchristeo...grace, thanksgiving, joy...I want this to be my theme song evermore.