I'm choosing joy. Will you?

I feel the joy again. Once again, it is penetrating the very seams of my being, pulsating through my veins, coursing through my arteries. It had escaped me; or maybe I had left it, the moment I gave in to ingratitude. Too often, my perpetual mistake of allowing ingratitude to pierce through my complaining thoughts of dark, my permission to let unrighteous anger sizzle beneath my skin, my choice - and it is a choice - to crush joy with bitterness...I neglected to see how I was choosing to follow the "Prince of Darkness". In choosing a simmering bitterness or authorizing someone's jab to offend me with stabbing aches, my soul was blaspheming in choosing the angry way of Lucifer because I subconsciously think it is more effective - why else choose ingratitude & impatience? Why else allow such deep resentment to dwell within my soul, to act out in quick thwarts? Is it because I think complaining and resentment will bring me the full life I want? Why else get angry? Lies. I do not want that. That is not a life full.

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My swollen impaired eyelids are slowly being torn open to see through this mess. To see without being blinded - or maybe I hope to be blinded by the glory of God, so that is all that I see?

The joy has seeped back into and through my pores, cleansing the filth that rampaged through, all too discretely. It has been a very conscious choice, a working effort and an endless discipline of daily work. But isn't that how the Israelites were fed? Day by day the manna poured...day by day, I choose to pick up the manna God provides. Gifts. Joy.

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This journal I started. This dare I read in a book. This list of One Thousand Gifts. It is changing my life and ushering joy into my soul. Erasmus said, "A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit." I am striving to replace the habit of ingratitude with the beautiful habit of gratitude, which escorts joy. It wasn't until I purchased a journal specifically for this task, this dare, this challenge, this invitation, and began the catalog of One Thousand Gifts...it wasn't until I named the gifts that the joy flushed my heart and set my soul ablaze.

"In naming that which is right before me, {as gift}, that which I would otherwise miss, the invisible becomes visible. To name a thing is to manifest the meaning and value God gave it." -Voskamp

"To name is to solve mystery." Voskamp expands on this through her book One Thousand Gifts; but please let me sum it up. To name is to bring fulfillment. To name is to live fully. To name is to recognize the gifts surrounding me, drowning me in grace. To name is to accept the gifts God has given, thus accepting and diagnosing Gods love for me. To name is to be entered into the throne room of grace, to be filled with joy and awe and wonder...and reverence. To name. Even in the hard thanks, in the darkest of days when all seems hopeless and you ache to be in Heaven...to name.

As I record the gifts yesterday and today, my heart burns with joy, time slows, and I absorb the moment. Hurry no longer seems appealing. My eyes are being remade, my hearts lens is transforming. And it's beautiful. I want it for you, too. This is why I share. I invite, I challenge, I dare, I invite you - because it is truly an invitation to blessing, wholeness, life as full - to start recording the good gifts only a good God graces you with.

Imperfect but transforming, attempting to give thanks in all circumstances:

Natalie

133. husband serving coffee with cream, dancing.

137. tomatoes, juicy and red, shining bright around the ends.

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Thank you, Ann Voskamp, for truly & deeply inspiring me.

Read Choosing To Live Fully