There are 102 days left in 2021. As is often the case with time, this year has seemed to fly by quickly in some ways, yet also seemed to drag by slowly in other ways. When a year is wrapping up, I wonder if I have made the most of my time. Did I cultivate everything I set out to? Or did I waste precious time that I will never get back? No matter how your 2021 has looked, I would like to suggest a way for you to redeem the time that is left.
Nearly nine years ago I read a book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It is one of my all-time favorite books. In this book the author talks about gratitude and creating a list of “gifts” or blessings in our lives. (And there is much more to the book. It will truly make you ponder many things and will catapult change in your life. But I am keeping my description short for the purposes of this post.)
I admit that when I initially read the book, I was not able to remain consistent with gratitude. But four or so years later, I started a gratitude journal and have been fairly consistent ever since. In my gratitude journal (which is just a spiral notebook) I write down good things that happened during my day. But thanks to inspiration from Ann Voskamp’s book, I keep a running total. Between October 2017 and today I have recorded nearly 12,000 gifts.
Over the past few months, my life has been a little crazy. As a result, I wasn’t consistent with a few things that I normally value in my daily routine. One of those things was gratitude. And I have to say that I can absolutely tell the difference. Because I wasn’t focusing on good things, my mind often focused on my problems. As a result, my emotions have taken a dive too. I can now clearly see how important gratitude is for me. I have to keep this as part of my daily routine because it helps me to keep my mind and heart in the right direction.
So over the remainder of the time we have left in 2021, I want to challenge each of you to write down ten “gifts” (or ten things that you are grateful for) each day. If you start today and continue every day, you will have one thousand gifts by December 29. But this is so much more than a list. I would be willing to bet that by the end of the year, if you are consistent, you will also feel more peace and joy in your life. As you go about your day looking for good things to jot down, your heart will catch up and feel fuller than before.
Gratitude is a choice. And in my opinion, gratitude is something we need to set our hearts on each day. The results will be priceless. Instead of focusing our attention on the things we lack or on the problems we face, we will instead be focusing on all that we have. We will be amazed to see how many good things fill our days, even on days that were less than stellar. Looking for blessings in our lives can be an adventure, and I am excited to see how it unfolds. I hope you will join me.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. – William Arthur Ward, writer
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas