I’ve started reading Ann Voscamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. It is admittedly not the easiest read, but I’ve found it really powerful and inspiring.
The book is about the ingratitude inherent to our sinful human nature (evident from the beginning in the story of Adam and Eve) and how choosing to give thanks in our day-to-day lives is an act of deliberate redemption. Focusing in particular on the life of Christ, Ms. Voskamp demonstrates this idea by showing how often Jesus chose gratitude, particularly in challenging times, and how this was a part of His redemption of the world. She theorized that when we acknowledge the grace all around us and give thanks, we begin to see the Lord more fully. Just as ingratitude is inherent to our sinful nature, gratitude is a defining characteristic of the redeemed life.
In the book, she began keeping a journal of things she was grateful for, and it changed her. She kept in her purse a book full of micro-moments that proved to her that God was real and loved her completely. In the end, she had listed over 1000 things she was grateful for, and her attitude and countenance had shifted in the process.
“The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live..He has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks for everything.” – Albert Schweitzer
“The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, 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.”
“We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks. Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our YES! to his grace. Thanksgiving is inherent to a true salvation experience; thanksgiving is necessary to live the well, whole, fullest life.”
Many women, myself included, have taken up the challenge to list our blessings. In doing this – I have found that my prayer life has definitely shifted. I have realized just how surrounded and covered I am by grace, all day everyday. My blessings will easily number in the thousands when I have finished listing them (if I ever really finish). In addition, I have begun to acknowledge, even in the challenging things in our life, that there is always a thread of grace and provision. Seeing those things with gratitude has begun to lift some of the weight of this past few years, and for that I am grateful.
I think there is definitely something to this book and this idea. I won’t share my 1000 gifts (although rest assured most of you number among them) because it is so personal to me – but I wanted to share about the book for anyone like me who needs to view life through a slightly different lens.
And I’ve realized that’s a pretty powerful thing.
(All of the quotes above come from One Thousand Gifts)