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a harvest of gratitude

Arthur Rothstein, photographer 1939
 Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, LC-USF34-028630-D

I tend to try to change everything about my life all at once. 

Time to get healthy? I take vitamins, drink the right amount of water, cut caffeine and/or sugar, drink raw apple cider vinegar and green tea, attempt exercise . . . and then, when I feel better, I never know what did it.  Plus, do I have to keep up all these things?. . . and then I fail, because I really can’t keep up with so many habits foreign to my nature.

I like new and different. Routine loses the thrill after about a week.

So my latest kick is self-discipline — because I lack it. (Again, *two thumbs pointing to self* bored with consistency.)

Just general, over all self-discipline. Which may sound like CHANGE ALL THE THINGS! and biting off more than I can chew. But isn’t, really, because I’m starting small.

My usual self would, at this point of decision, print out a schedule, a chart, a list — and organize my life. I love doing that. I get excited about new organizational things. HOWEVER, doing and then sticking with it is an entirely different matter. It’s not that I need to be more organized. It’s that I need to be more disciplined.

So I’ve started small. Or maybe big. 

Because sometimes, I complain . . . okay, often. I often complain. And I am lazy about gratitude.

So, my “big” self-discipline for November is that I am committing to start each day with a grateful thought and post it on Facebook and Twitter . . . like a whole lot of other people. (Hey, some trends are good trends.) I’m no Pollyanna, believe me. I could really use a little less grumbling. And I know an ungrateful attitude is a whole lot of why I often struggle with being content.

And I don’t mean just the big THANKS. I mean the little thanks — for everyday things. The things that we have to dig into to find a reason for being grateful. It’s a whole lot harder than it appears.

I read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts in January — loved it — and when I read her journal plan, I thought, Writing down three gifts a day? How hard can that be? I made it to 45 gifts. Forty-five! And my last journal entry of three simple gifts was at the end of March. So it’s actually hard. For me, anyway. Because of my apparent allergy to consistency . . . and maybe gratitude.

So I love this from One Thousand Gifts:

Do not disdain the small. The whole of the life — even the hard — is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole. These are new language lessons, and I live them out. There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing. The moments will add up.

I, too, had read it often, the oft-quoted verse: “And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). And I, too, would nod and say straight-faced, “I’m thankful for everything.” But in this counting gifts, to one thousand, more, I discover that slapping a sloppy brush of thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in my life. A lifetime of sermons on “thanks in all things” and the shelves sagging with books on these things and I testify: life-changing gratitude does not fasten to a life unless nailed through with one very specific nail at a time.

Little nails and a steady hammer can rebuild a life . . .

So I’m doing it.

I’m going to attempt to share a harvest of gratitude for small things and big things.

#30daysofthanks

Because I need to remind myself that I have so much to be thankful for.

And my bet is, it really does change everything.

Praise for the LORD’S Goodness.
A Psalm, a Song for the Sabbath day.

It is good to give thanks to the LORD And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High ;
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning And Your faithfulness by night . . .
For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands. Psalm 92:1-4

* * * * *

What about you? Have you seen simple gratitude change your outlook on life? Want to try #30daysofthanks?

Read more about gratitude from enduring and after

the gift of gratitude

all I ever have to be

but for the grace of God

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Kaylene #

    I have been trying to write a thanks list for the last few months. It is such a simple, but profound discipline :) Thanks for the reminder!

    Like this

    11/03/2013

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