1,000 and Counting

Monday, January 30, 2012

I wrote the number 1,000 in my journal last week. I started listing God's gifts to me, looking for them, recognizing them, and appreciating them, on February 2, 2010. I took Ann's dare (she's got some new prompts for 2012, check it out) and reached 1,000 almost one year later.

Listing gifts has been fantastic. It is a discipline I will continue, and I am incredibly grateful that God blessed this world with Ann Voskamp and her book, One Thousand Gifts, A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.

If you haven't read it yet, please do. It is life changing. At least, it was for me.

Now that I am a seasoned gift recognizer, I am delighted by what I find. I'm sure I miss millions of gifts a day, but at least now I see some. They don't all go whizzing by, dismissed as coincidence, fate or the logical sequence of the day.

For example, a couple of weeks ago I was at a conference. This was part of my old life, my lawyer life. I rarely practice anymore, but in order to maintain my license I sometimes go to conferences for continuing education credits. These can be painful reminders of how much I've forgotten, or how far removed my current life is from the days of my 26th floor office.

But the most recent conference was different. I chose seminars unrelated to my former practice area, my husband was in the room next door, and we were away for the weekend. It was fun. One seminar was particularly interesting - Law Firm Management.

Zzzzzzzzzz . . . .

Wait! It really was interesting, because the speaker was NOT a lawyer. She was a motivational speaker, one of those people who teach you how to set goals, how to communicate effectively, and how to manage stress. Her lessons applied to keeping clients, but they could also apply to any aspect of life. I loved it. I found myself taking notes, and thinking about how her points could apply to my husband's active practice, and to our lives at home. I nodded my head in agreement with much of what she said, and didn't look at the book stashed in my bag once. At one point, though, she asked everyone to stand up (oh no) and practice our "small talk" skills. Double oh no.

You know that sense of dread, right? I turned to the person to my right, a woman about my age. We smiled awkwardly, and then I asked her the prompted question, "What is your hobby?"

"Well, umm, I guess you could say that my hobby is my six year old daughter."


"I haven't practiced in years," she continued. "I'm just here to maintain my license."

I had to refrain from hugging her. Turns out, we had tons in common. We chatted off and on throughout the rest of the morning, and while I didn't have my list with me, I thought to myself, Thank you, God. Thank you for these gifts:

1,001 - The notion that prompted me to choose the Law Firm Management seminar.
1,002 - Sitting next to you-know-who in the middle of that great big room.
1,003 - A lively and entertaining speaker.
1,004 - Being forced to ask the question.
1,005 - Living, breathing reassurance that my life choices are shared, just when I needed it most.

Those gifts reminded me of why I've been hanging out in Psalm 139 lately, relishing how God knows me. He knows what I need and His gifts are so, so personal.

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me . . . Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139: 1 and 23-24

Are you listing gifts? If so, are you finding it to be a discipline that brings you closer to God? Can you see gifts that are just for you?

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14 Responses to “1,000 and Counting”

  1. I'm about halfway through reading the same book - it's a beautiful balance between tearful and poignent and joyful at the same time!!

  2. Love the book - still have a ways to go before I hit 1000 though. I will get there - I love making the list :)

  3. I love that book too but my attempts to list blessings always fails.  I am trying to do it at night before bed but most of the time, I just too tired!  I need to be better at it - at this rate, it will take me years to reach 1000!!!  Great article, Courtney!  

  4. StefanieYoungBrownJanuary 30, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    You inspire me!!!  I just crossed over the 500 mark en route to 1000 and beyond.

    Thank you, my friend!

  5. Joining you from Ann's place. Congratulations for hitting and surpassing 1000.  Thanks for sharing.

  6. I just started counting. I was a bit scared that I wouldn't find anything to count or I would give up but, as you say, it is life changing. My whole perspective of my day has tilted into it's proper place just from counting my blessings. And your story i such a brilliant illustration of that.Thanks for sharing it.

  7. I so know those boring conferences.  I remember attending them when I was a legal assistant to learn new procedures.  I also remember relishing going to them because it was a break from the norm and made me flex my brain muscles.  I haven't read the book, yet.  It's on my night stand and is the next thing I read after my book club book.  Another thing to do to keep my brain working.

  8. Me too. I am a list maker and truly enjoy it. Definitely tell me when you get to 1000!

  9. Thanks, Jayda. I would never be able to do it at night. I do during my morning quiet time. I intended to leave it out and do it throughout the day, but I never found a good safe spot for that. So I have to think back about the day and do it that way. Still, I enjoy it.

  10. Yay! Go, Stefanie! You inspire me, too :)

  11. Yes, Twiz - I will tell you, it was hard at first. I had to really think about what could be "gifts" and I felt awkward doing it. But now it just flows. Sometimes I write two or three things down, sometimes ten or more. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. So glad I finally read the book and finished it a few weeks ago and love the hunting out the gifts in the day. I love how your seatmate responded to the question ;) and how God knows exactly what we need when we need it!

  13. I am enjoying listing my gifts. I just started this year, so you are way ahead of me. :) It has made me see and be more aware of   just how blessed I am and how God has gifted me beyond measure. Thanks for sharing! 


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