It is amazing how one little act can change your life.
I heard about Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts shortly after it came out. What a neat idea, I thought. So in the spring, before I ever even sat down and turned a page of the book, I began writing down a list of things for which I was thankful.
It is now almost the New Year and I am eleven gifts away from the thousand mark.
No, it’s not about numbers.
It’s about a changed life.
Many of you are familiar with our story. I won’t go into it again except to say that things were tough for a while, specifically in our finances, health and, at times, marriage. I began to resent and (let’s be brutally real) even hate people who were living the “easy life”. When I saw someone in an expensive outfit or sporting a new piece of jewellery, I would struggle with envy. When I saw a vacation photo on social media, I would struggle with bitterness.
It’s not fair, I thought. What a whiner! We never lacked a single thing and I knew that full well! And yet (again, let’s be real), there were days where I wasn’t just wallowing in self-pity, I was full out drowning in it.
Until I started my “1000 Gifts” list. Slowly, my eyes began to open to the million little ways that God shows me His love every single day.
Then, a few months after I began my list, one of the pastors preached a message on covetousness. Believe it or not, until that point, I had never recognized that as the root of my problem. But that night, something changed – instantly, permanently and irrevocably.
Every time I add another gift to my list – my daughter’s giggles, a rosy sunset, the first few flakes of snow falling softly to the ground – I am overwhelmed by God’s attention to the little details of our lives.
As I reflect on 2013, this shift in perspective is by far the greatest and most dramatic change that has occurred. Through writing down the things for which I’m grateful, I have seen greed broken off my life. When I feel a twinge of envy, I’m now able to recognize it and deal with it before it takes root.
I’m learning to be content in every circumstance. My life is so very, very rich in all the ways that matter.
Most importantly, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am loved.