Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Last week I had the opportunity to speak at a local MOPS chapter and I spoke on Thanksliving.  Now, I wish I could claim credit for that term, but I can't.  It is original with Ann Voskamp and is used in her book, One Thousand Gifts.

A quote that I shared with the MOPS ladies is a very powerful one, I think:
"Gratitude goes beyond the 'mine' and 'thine' and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. 
In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. 
The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and
have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy." 
Henri J. M. Nouwen

Imagine that - gratitude as a discipline; a discipline of explicit effort.

Explicit means specific and precise; obviously something that is given great thought.

That means that you and I can learn to live in the discipline of gratitude. 
We can make a precise and specific effort and determination each day to recognize the gifts
given in that day.
We can make a concerted effort to look for those gifts as we go about our very ordinary days. 
We can find the extraordinary ways in which God bestows those very specific and
personal gifts to each one of us.

In other words, instead of celebrating Thanksgiving one day a year, we can celebrate with joy, Thanksliving 365 days a year!

A heart that deliberately looks for reasons to give thanks can't spend a lot of time complaining.
A heart that chooses to see God in each moment lives in the joy of that moment.
I have been in some pretty difficult situations and when, in the midst of the situation, I deliberately take the time to ask the Lord to show me the "gift" in that moment, my heart changes.
I can't stay angry, defiant or defensive when I'm looking for God.
Thanksliving takes a humble heart to be willing to look for and see God, even in the midst,
especially in the midst.  To be willing to acknowledge in that moment that all is given as a gift of love by a God who truly loves and cares for me.
I confess to you, I don't always want to look and there are times when I have refused to look.
But in those times, my joy has been lost by my own hand, never by God's.

Choosing to live 365 days a year in Thanksliving will change you.
It will change your life.
Try it!
It does take effort; explicit effort.
Effort to "acknowledge that all I am and
have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy."
But it's worth it!
Live in the discipline of a grateful heart!

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