Monday, April 22, 2013

The Secret of Life's Joy

I just finished reading this most exceptional book "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. I don't do many book reviews because frankly I find many books just aren't worth sharing about but this one is meant to be shared. 

Beautifully and expressively written, Ann takes you along on her very personal journey of faith, one that many will find familiar as we all have asked ourselves the hard questions about life at one point or another. Tightly woven throughout is the idea that the secret to having life's joy is in being thankful to God in all things. Admittedly easier said than done. 

This is not just naming objects that we are glad we have but instead slowing down enough to live in the moment, consider the things only God can do, and GIVE thanks. Eucharisteo the Greek word for thanksgiving from the root word charis meaning grace and chara meaning joy! The unexpected part is that as you give thanks your trust in God grows because you are naming the blessings, growing closer in your relationship with Him, growing your faith, living with a God-given well of joy. 

There is always something to give thanks for. "Give thanks in everything, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18  Oh, but what about the hard times, like when your kids get hurt, or the air conditioner has to be replaced unexpectedly, or a job falls through, or your mom announces a terminal illness. How can you be thankful then? It's then we have to learn to trust in God's hand when we can't see His plan. Ann challenges me by her words, "If I am rejecting the joy that is hidden somewhere deep in this moment - am I not ultimately rejecting God?.....The secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt he is." You have to choose to believe that God is good and that He loves you. Further, because that is true, He will work all things for your good and His glory according to His purpose. 

A most humbling experience, that as you are being filled with thanks for the blessings of God, you are also being emptied of self. It's the discovery of knowing "our endless desires are fulfilled in endless God." He is trustworthy. And when we trust Him, He will change our desires to match His. Glory! Give thanks!

Take a joy dare of your own. See if you can discover 1,000 gifts God has given to you. Read more about Ann Voskamp's journey on her blog, A Holy Experience.

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