Sunday, January 11, 2015

MEDIA :: Day 11 :: Discovering Simplicity

I'm pretty sure that I am not alone in my desire for simplicity in my life. More does not always mean better. In fact the more things on my schedule, the more items in my home, the more emails in my inbox...the more stressed I feel.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I've been reading some good books. With several more on my list of books I'm dying to get my hands on. Stat.

The one that I've been engrossed in this past week has been One Thousand Gifts. No joke, I've literally highlighted ten passages and I've only made it to Chapter 4. I'm so challenged, inspired, and encouraged by this incredible book.

These are the sections just from Chapter 3 that make me smile and tear up at the same time:
"Because how else do we accept His free gift of salvation if not with thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives. Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our Yes! to His grace" (p. 39).
 "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 over very specific nail at a time" (p. 57).
"I know there is poor and hideous suffering, and I've seen the hungry and the guns that go to war. I have lived pain, and my life can tell: I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for early light dappled through leaves and the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives. Why would the world need more anger, more outrage? How does it save the world to reject unabashed joy when it is joy that saves us? Rejecting joy to stand in solidarity with the suffering doesn't rescue the suffering. The converse does. The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the hear and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world. When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and ry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows. How can this not be the best thing for the world? For us?" (p. 58). 
" change comes when we receive life with thanks and ask or nothing to change" (p. 61).
 .    .    .

I am learning, or at least beginning to learn, that a simpler life does not come just from removing distractions and excess. But from tuning my eyes to pay attention to the small details that are truly gifts from God. And rather than just seeing them, turning my heart toward my Savior to say "Thank you Jesus" for this good gift.

I've been keeping a journal for a while now. I'd heard of this book, but never read it. Now that I'm reading it...I am on a hunt to find moments that I can record, to whisper praise to God. I think I may have found a key to a simpler life.

"I will GIVE THANKS to the Lord with my WHOLE HEART;
I will  recount all of your WONDERFUL deeds."

Psalm 9:1 ESV

Here are a few from my "One Thousand Gifts" journal:

21. Hearing Harry says "love you" for the first time (9-17-13)

51. Fall sunshine and crisp air (Oct. 2013)

77. Carving a pumkin with Harry. He is not into getting messy with the guts - one finger touch (Oct. 2013)

231. Josh changing the light bulbs (Mar. 2014)

322. Quiet Saturday morning with coffee, Christmas music, my advent journal from SRT and Harry playing in the background (Dec. 2014)

353. Candlelight flickering while I write; it's dancing on the walls (Jan. 2015)

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