It has become a lovely piece of my day that I find myself eagerly looking forward to. Gratitude has never been a regular part of my life before this journal. Honestly, I think I saw gratitude as something to just think about on Thanksgiving as I gather around the table with my family.
Earlier this week I wrote down my one thousandth gift. I have been able to find 1,000 gifts of grace and goodness in my life since January, no matter the circumstances that life presents. And you know what? This counting has been completely changing my life.
Instead of looking to see what life can give me, I find myself more and more on the lookout for all the ways I am blessed, the little things I notice that bring me joy and make me smile. It is any and everything: splashing in the pool, a gorgeous sunny day, the hum of the dishwasher, brightly painted toe nails, etc. I am counting all the ways I see God active and present in my life. Gratitude is not something just reserved for the holiday season, it is something that changes you from the inside out if you allow it. I have find myself looking at life through a different lens. I have begun to notice the little things of life that often go unnoticed. I want to spend more time and energy on the things in life that really matter.
It is so easy to just live for the next item to be crossed of the to-do list or focus on all the ways life is not going the way we would want. But writing over the past months, this gift counting has taught (and still is teaching) me that there is always something to be grateful for. Grace, it means "favor" in Latin. Counting the ways God loves, the way He shows His favor to us, this is what multiplies joy. Even in moments of difficulty or pain, earnestly looking for those gifts changes and softens the heart. It allows me to unfold my closed hands, and say "Thank you God for my life exactly how it is. Thank you for it all."
I still struggle with living life by a to-do list or being present to the moment in front of me (instead of my phone) but this counting has convicted me that I don't want life to pass me by. I don't let the little frustrations bother me as much. I care a lot less of what others think of me. I find myself seeking more quiet and peace instead of mindless living. I don't want to look back and see all the time I wasted on things of no lasting importance. I want to live my life with purpose and soak up every little moment of it.
Counting to 1,000 has opened my eyes in ways that surprised me. And I am quite sure as I continue to keep counting and writing it will continue to change me.
All these moments multiply upon each other ... start your own counting of one thousand gifts and be amazed what it will do.