I am growing more and more acutely aware that I am keeping myself from experiencing JOY in my life because I have not yet adopted a heart that is full of thanksgiving. I’ve become a Glass Half Empty type of person. I had always considered myself a Glass Half Full person until recently.
I have built a cocoon around myself; a hard, calloused layer of armor. It was intended to insulate myself from a particular pain, but I’m finding it extraordinarily difficult to access my feelings and my heart. It’s not just that I don’t want to come out of my shell; I’m not sure I know how anymore.
There have been times recently when I was aware of my lack of emotional response to something that warranted one. I’m not sure what it would take for me to feel my feelings. I don’t know what I’m so afraid of. I do realize that this is the beginning of the year and that my body has these weird memories of my attacks that pop up and influence my mood during the first half of the year. It has been cloudy. And cold. I understand that I just packed up the Christmas stuff, and I truly hate doing that. (One of these years, I'm just going to leave it up all year round just because I love to look at it! Well, not necessarily the santas and snowmen and snowflakes. But I could use more twinkly lights and reminders of Jesus around my house everyday.) I know that I've been in a lot more pain recently and haven't been sleeping as well because of it. I know all this. and I'm sure it all plays a role. But I've been kind of pissy for a whole year or so. Even when it was warm. Even when I felt better. I think it's because I haven't been taking the time to be grateful.
I have the sense that God is nagging me. Whispering of His love. Telling me that He wants more for me. More from me. Letting me know that I’ve been distracted by my attempts to fill my brain with theological questions and answers rather than offering my mess of a heart to Him. He’s made it clear to me that He has noticed my eagerness to learn more about Him, but that I haven’t let any of this new understanding touch my heart, my behavior, or my attitudes. He has pointed out that I am not a very grateful person. That my fears and my anxieties and my complaints are all reflective of a heart that isn’t satisfied with what He has given me. That I’m essentially saying that He isn’t enough.
With my brain and my lips, I would tell you that God certainly IS enough. But I’m not saying that with my life. Why am I resistant to all the good He wants to pour out to me? Why do I run when I feel Him near? I can tell that He wants so badly for me to just stop everything I’m doing and rest in Him. To stop and acknowledge all that I have instead of staring longingly at what I wish I had. It’s stealing my joy. It’s keeping me from living with thanksgiving in my heart. It’s keeping me from really knowing God.
So, taking the advice of Ann from A Holy Experience blog (I’m reading her book, One Thousand Gifts. Ah-mazing!), I’m starting a list. In her book, she writes that a friend dared her to write down one thousand things that she was grateful for. She did, and it changed her life.
Growing up, my brother and I spent every other weekend at my dad’s place. He had a book that I often gravitated toward. I read through it all the time. It was called 14,000 Things To Be Happy About. I'm thinking my list will be similar to that.
If I take the time to notice and thank God for all the little things around me that make me happy, I hope to strengthen my relationship with Him. I hope to adopt a more thankful heart. and I expect to experience more joy. Some examples from my list are "the smell of bread baking," "my kids laughing," "falling asleep with the windows open during a thunderstorm." (Don't you feel better already?!)
So, I'm daring you too. Write down 1,000 things that make you happy. And take the time to thank God for them. And then let me know how it goes.