May I Have A Word, Please?
I began 2017 with a single word in mind. Inspired by a friend who was spending some time with us last year during her Christmas break, I loved her practice of preparing for the New Year by asking God for a word that would be her focal point for the coming year. I started asking Him for a word that would serve as my focus for 2017, sort of a reminder of how He’s shaping me.
The word that kept coming to the forefront of my mind was GRATITUDE. I was intrigued by Brene Brown’s discoveries of the direct link between gratitude and joy (The Gifts of Imperfection). Turns out joy is not just some random emotion or personality trait that is bestowed upon some and eludes others. It is intentionally cultivated by the daily practice of taking notice of the good in our lives and being grateful. Time and time again, Brene’s research revealed that the joyful and wholehearted are those who intentionally practice gratitude as part of their daily routine. They have gratitude journals or they create gratitude art. Without exception, gratitude and joy go hand in hand.
Around that time, a client told me about 1000 Gifts, a book by Ann Voskamp. He said it had changed him and helped him find joy during the hardest year of his life. It’s the story of Ann’s personal journey and a challenge to the rest of us to live each day with our eyes wide open, in search of gratitude moments. To accept the 1000 Gifts challenge is to begin writing down the gifts each day brings … all the way to a thousand. She calls it “a dare to name all the ways God loves me … the True Love Dare”.
It’s been a year since I started the 1000 Gifts challenge, actively practicing gratitude. And I can honestly say it’s been life-transforming. In my desire to make this a daily habit, I’ve incorporated it into my morning routine. I sit with my coffee, my Bible, and my journal and, before I do anything else, I reflect on the blessings of the day before and write them in my journal in red.
As 2017 draws to a close, I’ve been reading through this year’s journals, all splattered with red ink, God’s gifts mixed in with my written thoughts and ideas and dreams. I can’t help but smile as I recall the ways God has brought beauty into my life – in big ways and small ways – and how I would have forgotten by now if I didn’t write them down.
The deep “chara” joy the Greeks called “the good mood of the soul".
How can we reflect on the vast diversity of God’s expressions of love for us and not feel overwhelmed with a sense of being abundantly blessed? THIS is joy. The deep “chara” joy the Greeks called “the good mood of the soul”. It shines in the darkness and it’s bigger than inconveniences and challenges and adversity.
#998) Amy’s banana muffin recipe – hot out of the oven
#999) waving at the neighbors through our kitchen windows
#1000) late afternoon sun glowing through the sycamore trees
I reached #1000 in mid-November. And you know what? I decided to keep going. I can’t stop! And I’m now in the process of asking for a word for 2018. This is a tradition I want to continue.
In the spirit of gratitude, Alyssa, Amber and I want to thank you for dropping in on us here at TheSpaceWeShare. Our reason for sharing this blog is to create community and inspire hope, and we thank you for being a part of this with us. We wish you a joyful, abundant, gratitude-filled,
Happy New Year!