Confession time: I am a girl who looks at the glass half-empty. Yes, I know that sounds negative & not too spiritual but its true. It is what has made me good at my previous ministry/job: figure out what could go wrong & then take all the measures within my power for those things not to happen. And, well, I was good at it. Probably too good due to that "glass half full" thing! But I have always reasoned if our part of the service (music, tech, details) didn’t distract the congregation sitting there, then it prepared the way for God to use His Spirit and His power for the services/programs/event--making them the best they can be to work in people’s lives. And I believe that.
But, this “gift” can be a hindrance in life. It’s the “perfectionist” gift: your house is never clean enough, you are never doing enough for God, there is never enough time to get something done -- so why start it, etc. Can any of you relate?
So, one day a couple of years ago, I saw one of the books I had purchased, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, and hadn’t read yet (yes, one of many), and since it was about being thankful, I decided to figure out how many days there were till Thanksgiving Day. “Wouldn’t it be cool to have come up with 1000 gifts to thank God for by Thanksgiving?” Well, incredibly, it turned out that if I recorded 10 a day (add a few here & there) that I actually could record 1000 gifts by Thanksgiving! That was definitely do-able. And wouldn’t I be proud of myself??!!! So, after flipping through the pages, I discovered that there was an App to make this even easier. Yes!! I always had my phone nearby! AND I could record via photos too. How fun!
So, as I began this journey, it started with the normal stuff: house, food, family, friends, etc. Hmmm, but I was already running out of things!! Oh no! Then I picked up the devotional (to get more ideas &, yes, I admit, to copy Ann). I was truly challenged. I learned that if I would just live in the moment, how many beautiful and precious gifts God had given me. The possibilities were endless… the peaceful pond, the crackle of a bonfire, the sunshine and the shadows it makes, for laughter, for the smile of a stranger, for the faith my parents modeled for me, crisp cool autumn mornings, for steam rising from the water and fields,… So I began a transformation. It took some deep thinking on my part at first, and definitely more paying attention, but what I discovered was God had blessed me more abundantly than I had ever acknowledged. And I was being transformed.
I have learned to thank God for things in the past…and what I’ve learned from those difficult times or how I have been blessed long-term from them; for things that are irritating…and what blessing could be hidden behind them; for jobs and activities that aren’t the most fun…and who or what benefit they give me or my family member; for things that stimulate one of my 5 senses…and how great they are and how I have taken them for granted; and for meaningful moments… of laughter, sharing, tears, and just noticing. Really noticing. And living in the moment. And you know what? God is changing this glass half-empty girl and her attitude. I look around me and am constantly looking for things that I am grateful for. I know I will always be me with my detail fixing, but I want the Holy Spirit to continue to work on me and mold me. So, that leads to #192: That God is still working in my heart and life: “He who began a good work in you (me, Denise) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6.