A friend turned me on to this quote recently and I have not been able to get it out of my mind:
“The fact is that purification and austerity are even more necessary for the appreciation of life and laughter than for anything else. To let no bird fly past unnoticed, to spell patiently the stones and weeds, to have the mind a storehouse of sunsets, requires a discipline in pleasure and an education in gratitude.” ~G.K. Chesterton
a discipline in pleasure….
an education in gratitude….
That is the journey I had been on…. Learning to document life’s gifts. (To know more about that journey read the “gratitude” category on my blog).
But these last few weeks of my life have been teetering on the edge of complete insanity. Days whirling by in flurries of tasks, obligations, deep disappointments, grand celebrations, frustrating events, divine opportunities and many extra things on an already full plate.
Tired, I stopped writing down the gifts but I still noticed them.
Exhausted, I began to notice less and less.
Overwhelmed, I lost complete sight of the gifts…
but had eyes wide open to all that was wrong, frustrating, disturbing, unfair and inadequate. My heart that had stretched so full in gratitude had shrunk down to a small stone of hard angst that threatened the life and laughter of my family.
just. that. fast.
I am becoming more and more convinced that the enemy of our hearts does most of his dirty work of destroying us when we are busy, or tired.
I realized how horrible I felt and made the connection…. I stopped thanking Him… I stopped noticing all the little and big ways He was wooing me, smiling on me, giving me what I need. Me thanking Him, Me noticing… it is good for me, it gives me His eyes, heavenly eyes, heavenly perspective.
The scriptures tell us that minds set on the things of this world will choke the life out of us. Thinking on the things of this world leads to nothing but death. The worry of the things of this world bear no fruit. But minds set on the spirit, minds set on heaven’s perspective give life and peace and power and hope and JOY!
Noticing His gifts, noticing all we have to be grateful for is seeing with heavenly eyes.
Something that helped snap me out of my relapse into “negative land” was one morning I woke up praying for a friend of mine. I spent all morning in and out of prayer for her. All of the sudden I noticed something. The weight of that stony anxious, frustrated heart was gone.
just. that. fast.
I felt completely released of all the yuckiness I had been carrying. Not one circumstance in my life had changed or even improved. But my heart had expanded again getting back to where I knew I belonged.
And then I realized the sneaky evil ways the enemy had sucked me into my own problems, my own woes, so that I was completely useless to help my friend, to love my children well, to love my husband well. Selfishness and ingratitude had robbed me and those I love of LIFE.
So here I am again adding to my list because adding to my list helps me to get back to the actual living of this life instead of surviving it. Because I want to live this life to all its fullness, all its abundance. I want to suck the marrow out of this life and not miss anything. Not miss one single beautiful thing that God brings to me. Adding to my list helps me to celebrate this life. I love what Shauna Niequist says in her book Cold Tangerines:
“I believe in a life of celebration. I believe that the world we wake up to every day is filled to the brim with deep, aching love, and also with hatred and sadness. And I know which one of those I want to win in the end. I want to celebrate in the face of despair, dance when all we see on the horizon is doom……when (Death) comes for me, I want to be full-tilt, wide-open, caught in the very act of life. I think that’s what we’re here for, not for a passive, peaceful life, but to stand up in the face of all that lacks peace and demand more….. God gives us something amazing when he gives us life, and I want to live with gratitude……It’s rebellious, in a way, to choose joy, to choose to dance, to choose to love your life. It’s much easier and much more common to be miserable…….I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes…….I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.…..Because we were made for motion, for arching up toward God with all the energy and passion of a thunderstorm, lightning slicing through a sleepy world to remind us that we serve a fast-dancing God, a God who set this world whirling……Let’s sizzle and pop in his name. Let’s dance and shimmer and scrawl out our stories across the sky, like he taught us to. Let’s echo his words, and let our lives speak those words: It is good.”
My list of “it is good” for this week: 101 to 115
- Spontaneous fun days with friends
- My children’s laughter
- My sons facial expressions that bring laughter to anyone who sees them.
- Cool breezes
- Wildflower bouquets
- Strong smelling roses
- Jasmine blowing in the breeze.
- Divine appointments
- A mother who nurtured, loved & guided me into who I’ve become.
- A mother in law who sowed into my husband and now sows into me and my children her joy and great faith.
- Two grandmothers who are still living. Who spread love and joy wherever they go and have given me such a rich heritage.
- For friends who have mothered me along the way and those who have helped me in my motherhood journey.
- That the two most amazing and beautiful children I know call me “mama”.
- I am beyond blessed and so rich in family and friendships.