The 3rd book I'm reading is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. This book is so, so good. In a way her writing style is too flowery and wordy for me. But then in the very next sentence I am amazed at the picture she paints with her words. And beyond all that, I am challenged to give thanks for little things, for big things, for hard things.
I wish the copy of this book belonged to me so I could underline and write in the margins. Instead I'll have to take time to go back through and write down some of the things that have blessed and challenged me. Or maybe I can buy it for my kindle and learn how to use the highlighting tool!
Too often my reaction to "frustrations", to "stress", to "discomfort", to "annoying people" is to complain, to gripe, to be cynical. I put them in quotes, because they aren't the problem, I am. It's easy to label things and excuse myself because of "frustrations", "stress", or "annoying people". I've started a "gift list", trying to focus on what the Lord has given, not on what I don't have.
I loved this today:
"Pride, mine -- that beast that pulls on the mask of anger -- this is what snaps this hand shut, crushes joy. ... Dare I ask what I think I deserve? A life of material comfort? A life free of all trials, all hardship, all suffering? A life with no discomfort, no inconveniences? Are there times that a sense of entitlement -- expectations-- is what inflates self, detonates anger, offends God, extinguishes joy?
"And what do I really deserve? Thankfully, God never gives what is deserved, but instead, God graciously, passionately offers gifts, our bodies, our time, our very lives. God does not give rights but imparts responsibilities.... inviting us to respond to His love-gifts." p. 177, 178