The people I live life with are very passionate people. And I love them for it, I really do. Both the source and main focus of their passion is their love for Jesus, making them some of the most fun, challenging, and life-giving people to be around. Their passion is always latching on to little things here and there too though. Hammocks, Chacos, Twitter, The Loft Sessions, The Hunger Games, slack lines, catchphrases, instagram, moleskins, lipdub videos, etc. This past Summer/Fall there was a certain book that became quite a hit with a lot of my friends, especially the ladies (but guys don't tune out. this is SO for you too). One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. People were/are passionate about this book! Twitter was buzzing with quotes, reviews, and raves about how quality this book was, how it really was changing these people's lives. From what I could gather it was a book about being thankful--consistently. Sounded encouraging. So I bought it in September. And proceeded to not open it until a few weeks ago.
Don't do that.
I'm only four chapters or so into it and oh my, it is rich! My journal is filling up with snippets of truth that I'm discovering, truths that are changing the way I view life. Truths that somewhat began this blog. For example:
"As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Joy is always possible. Whenever, meaning--now; wherever, meaning--here. The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be--unbelievably--possible! The only place we need to see before we die is this place of seeing God, here and now."
I'll be honest. I've got a bad case of wanderlust. I'm constantly dreaming of new places to go, new things to see, new people to meet, new experiences to be had. This in and of itself is by no means a problem. There's nothing wrong with dreaming. It's part of who God created me to be, it's how I'm wired. And that has purpose. But if I'm not careful I can sometimes let my dreaming prevent me from living in the here and now. And that, well that's a costly mistake. Because that robs me of joy and of thankfulness, of the abundance and the fullness that is mine to lay hold of today, in the here and now. But how do I do that? Live fully here and now, when I 'm enamored by grand adventures like this and this, while my days consist of the seemingly mundane to and fro, class to work to home to meetings and then start all over again. Sometimes it seems silly to highlight the little things in life, as if I'm kidding myself, fooling myself into thinking that my life is full of more excitement and adventure than it really is. Or that in focusing on the little things, I'm somehow numbing myself to the reality of the pain that exists in the world. And so the mundane continues. But then I read this:
"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...
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 here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world."Oh. Well ok.
I want to be brave.
I don't want to deepen the wounds of the world
I want to see them healed.
I want JOY in the here and now.
I want to bring fullest Light to where I've been placed.
That starts (and I think may even end and include everything in between) with thanking a good God for the good things he gives us. So let's do that! Here on the world wide web for everyone, or anyone who actually reads this, to see. And I say let's because SURPRISE I'm going to start having guests posts! I have the pleasure of knowing lots of brave people who, I think, are total change agents, so I'm going to start featuring people on here weekly with a list of things they are thanking God for at the time. I'm really excited about it. And I hope you are too! Be expecting our first guest within the next week!
Until then, I'll start us off:
Things I'm thankful for right this moment:
- the way fine point Sharpie pens write
- friendly, helpful baristas who help you discover new drinks. hello alfredo!
- golden hour and the way it transforms everything it touches
- when Bingley falls asleep with her head on my feet or in the curve of my neck
- that Jesus loves me where I am, but too much to leave me there
- the way my friends celebrate each other
- that Baylor gives us both Friday and Monday off for Easter
- the feeling of coming home
- the fact that walks have become a part of my daily routine
- the opportunity to hold a little girls hand and empower a little boy to be a leader