One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp.
I loved this book. I have been reading Ann Voskamp’s blog, A Holy Experience, for a while now, and shortly before I began reading One Thousand Gifts, I started my own gratitude journal. Reading this book while keeping my journal has been an invaluable experience. Without detailing the entire book…here were a few highlights for me:
1. Counting gifts slows me down. I’m always busy, always multitasking, always have a list of things to do…but I find that when I take that moment and acknowledge one of the many gifts surrounding me and thank God for it, it slows me down. I have more time. It gives me peace. As Ann writes, “I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment. And when I”m always looking for the next glimpse of glory, I slow and enter. And time slows. Weigh down this moment in time with attention full, and the whole of time’s river slows, slows, slows.” (p. 68).
2. Counting gifts leads me to true Beauty, to God. We all are searching for, longing for beauty. We are looking for something to worship. When I am counting gifts, I am seeing and thanking God, worshiping Him, and expressing my gratitude for His many gifts. Counting gifts makes me more aware to look for beauty in every day moments, to look for God in everything. “All beauty is only reflection. And whether I am conscious of it or not, any created thing of which I am amazed, it is the glimpse of His face to which I bow down.” (p. 112).
3. Counting gifts is a way for me to choose joy over anger. In Chapter 7 Ann shares about an incident between her sons and how counting gifts helps her choose joy over anger, and lead her son to do the same. “The parent must always self-parent first, self-preach before child-teach, because who can bring peace unless they’ve held their own peace?” (p. 124). As she maintains her own calm in the situation and walks her son through the conflict with his brother she tells him, “Feel thanks and it’s absolutely impossible to feel angry. We can only experience one emotion at a time. And we get to choose–which emotion do we want to feel?” (p. 136). Wow. Now to put that into action when the anger and frustration is rising!
4. Counting gifts builds my trust and belief in God’s faithfulness. Through the act of counting gifts, I am reminded of all the times in my life God has been there for me, of all the blessings He has given me. This leads me to live a life trusting in Him and not a life filled with worry and stress. “Every time fear freezes and worry writhes, every time I surrender to stress, aren’t I advertising the unreliability of God? That I really don’t believe? But if I’m grateful to the Bridge Builder for the crossing of a million strong bridges, thankful for a million faithful moments, my life speaks my beliefs and I trust Him again.” (p. 151).
5. Counting gifts helps me realize how full my life is, and helps me to live in awe. In Chapter 9, Ann talks about how joy is an act of obedience. When we live life filled with expectations about what we “deserve”, the joy, wonder, and awe in life are hard to find. In reality, everything is a gift. “How to live in a state of awe, when life is mundane and ordinary?”( p. 168). Count gifts.
You can read the first chapter here. And after you read the first chapter, head on over to the Bloom book club where they have a video for each chapter. I have been loving watching the videos after I finish each chapter.
And…because I love this book so much. I want to giveaway a copy. If you want to enter to win, simply leave a comment on this post telling me one of your favorite books and why. I will select a winner at random next Friday.
And…this month I’m reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story by Donald Miller, if you want to read it with me. Also, Audible.com is offering two free audiobooks right now. So, I downloaded The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin to listen to on my commute and I’m loving it. I’m having fun Booking It this year over at Life as Mom.