Jun 28, 2011

A dare to live fully right where you are.

That's the premise of Ann Voskamp's book, "One Thousand Gifts" that I just competed.
I believe this book has really stirred passion and ideas in me that will affect the rest of my life.
I will come back to it again and again.

In a nutshell, it's how gratitude can change one's life and lead to deep communion with God.

I love Ann's message and feel like she is a brave soul, casting out this message to a world of listeners in a culture so saturated with greed, discontent, and an "I'm owed this" mentality.  And she does it humbly.

I also love it because I feel like I am so much like her.  Not so much in my life events, but in how God has made me and what He has been teaching me.  We're passionate about similar things, find beauty in similar things.  However, she is much more eloquent than I.

One chapter was specifically about how gratitude helps us to see what is really happening in a moment, in view of God's Kingdom, and to have joy.  She was sharing a story of a time she was angry with her kids for fighting:

     "Why deprive myself of joy's oxygen?  The swiftness and starkness of the answer startle.  Because you believe in the power of the pit.
     Really?  I lay my head on the table.  Do I really smother my own joy because I believe that anger achieves more than love?  That Satan's way is more powerful, more practical, more fulfilling in my daily life than Jesus' way?  Why else get angry?  Isn't it because I think complaining, exasperation, resentment will pound me up into the full life I really want?  When I choose - and it is a choice - to crush joy with bitterness, am I not purposefully choosing to take the way of the Prince of Darkness?  Choosing the angry way of Lucifer because I think it is more effective - more expedient - than giving thanks?

Yikes.  Hello.  Can I say...Been there. Done that.
And I have found what she says to be true in my own life.
Anywho....great book.  I have a feeling it will become well worn and dog-eared.  Much like my copy of A.W. Tozer's "Knowledge of the Holy".


  1. You should share this post with the author of the book!

  2. That is a really powerful passage that you posted... It really drove right at the heart of my biggest frustration with my teaching looking back at this year... quick to anger. Not a good thing when working with my students because there are just too many things I could get angry about. How can I respond to them in love more? If you love someone, why isn't it more natural to respond in love than in anger? It's maddening that I get frustrated with them so easily. What does it accomplish really?

    This reminds me of a quote from author Toni Morrison that I wrote on a card and taped in a prominent spot in the middle of my desk at work. It says, "Does your face light up when your kids (insert "students" for me!) enter the room?" She states that as a mom she often wore the "critical" face... are their shoes tied, pants zipped, hair combed, faces clean, etc? when her kids entered the room. It was her way of loving them, to care for them, meet their needs. But she needed reminding that they would not know this if her face only ever communicated criticism rather than delight. Wow.

    Thanks for the post, Erika!