When the days begin to take on a new feel, my energy changes, and often so does my focus. For whatever reason, the shift in weather brings gratefulness to mind. Could we choose joy and allow gratefulness to remain?
Acknowledge the Giver
I have never considered myself to be a negative person. However, I will admit that being the devil’s advocate can often be a quick response. I think this is a learned behavior, a survival tactic, or possibly a protective shield. I’ve recently come to realize that maybe this is due to a sinful nature in all of us. Have I become too critical? Or is it the hurried nature of this world that has caused me to fail in finding the positive? The ride just keeps getting faster and the joy and excitement are pushed aside. When I am given a gift, I want to soak it up, give thanks, and acknowledge the giver. That is true gratitude.
Making A Shift
A lot of people use November as a month to count blessings. After all, it is the month of Thanksgiving and we naturally turn to thankfulness. But what if this shift becomes our natural reaction to the world we have been given? A true stream of consciousness that finds the good, chooses joy.
Choose to Find Joy
I have always desired for my children to be able to find the positive. John and I did not raise them to have rose-colored glasses on every day. Life will not always go their way and we want them to know that no matter what a day hands them, there is joy to be found; sometimes we have to choose to find it.
A Reminder Never Hurts
Signs and sayings placed around the house have not been our “thing”. I know this is something many enjoy and honestly, I love reading them when I go to others’ homes. It gives me a glimpse into their thoughts without anyone saying a word. It just isn’t something we have latched onto in our home. However, I have placed a few signs as subtle reminders for us all. One Christmas season I even got so bold as to encourage writing our own. It worked and I can’t bring myself to get rid of this! Choosing joy takes effort so we did this as a family and the laughter and joy it created are irreplaceable.
A Worthy Challenge
I am currently rereading a life-changing book that began this thought process in me in 2014. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp is a challenging read. She is one of the most unique writers I have ever read. Ann challenges you to think, to reread, and to reflect on yourself while digesting her words. Throughout her book, she shares her devastations and her joys, and how she has found true joy in this life. I’d lend you my copy, but my personal notes and frayed edges may get in your way. Don’t just buy and read this book. Be ready to absorb the message and find a deeper relationship with our savior. Joy is the realest reality, the fullest life, and joy is always given, never grasped. God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy ((https://annvoskamp.com/onethousandgifts/)).
Wherever you are, be all there!Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
List The Gifts…Choose Joy
This year I am striving to follow Ann’s lead. I will list 1000 gifts by the years’ end, maybe I will even find more. Either way, it is not about the list but about the intention of seeing God’s grace, expressing thanks, and continuing to be grateful. A life well-lived must find God’s gifts of joy and if we pay attention, I know we can find a bit (or a lot) every day.