"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever
is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent
or praiseworthy--think about such things."
I've been reading a book by Ann Voskamp, entitled One Thousand Gifts, which has jolted me back to reality.
I started reading it at a time when I was trying to extricate myself from a bout of depression and my mind was a whirl of negative thinking. How I wished, in vain, that I could go back in time and rewrite the story of my life, how I wallowed in self condemnation and regrets for the poor choices made that led me to where I am today, and in all that wishing and wallowing, it never once occurred to me that I was indulging in a form of ingratitude.
Ingratitude, that first sin of humanity, that stealer of joy. Instead of focusing on my many blessings and the positives in my life, I was seeing only what wasn't. I was hungering for something more or other than what I have, which in turn, was leading to envy, as I allowed myself to fall into the comparison trap.
One of the main themes of this book, the one speaking loudest to my heart, is that thanksgiving precedes blessings, and that leads me to believe it wasn't chance that caused it to show up on my radar screen when it did. The timing was too perfect.
I had already started practicing, to the best of my ability, the advice found in Philippians 4:8 (above), and to help me out, had set up a blog, Glimpses of God's Grace, on which to record all the special grace moments in my day. Now I was being given confirmation that I was on the right track, confirmation of what I'd already started to discover, that thanksgiving creates abundance of joy. When we give thanks, we start to experience a miracle of multiplication. The more things we find to be thankful for, the more we will continue to find.
Ann writes that the habit of discontentment can only be driven out by hammering in one iron sharper. The stick pin of gratitude. So in addition to my blog, I have also taken up her challenge to make a list of 1,000 gratitudes. My joy is returning, and I find that I don't have time for all those gloomy thoughts anymore. I'm too busy adding to my list.