I’ve been playing a little game lately.
It’s because I know my tendency to live out of a critical spirit. I’ve invited self-pity and discontent in as guests far too often. I want some new companions. Gratitude and contentment don’t sound bad. So nowadays, when I hear my old friends knocking on my heart, threatening to beat down the door, kick back, and make themselves quite at home, I try to dwell on this thought:
I don’t deserve anything. I don’t deserve anything, but — see what I’ve been given.
And so the game begins. A blend of hide and seek and simple counting.
I have been given life. What a gift to even be alive. What would it be to not exist? But I do. And in this life I get to live, I experience all these graces…
The sound of my parents laughing together in the kitchen, the words that tumble out of the four children I babysit, worship music drifting through the house as we clean on a Saturday.
There are more graces.
The sight of evening light during walks to the park with grandparents and rowdy siblings,
a single lily in a glass bowl, salvaged by Mom from her anniversary bouquet,
the openness of this Texas sky.
There’s more. Still more. This is a game that need not end because the grace He lavishes comes without limit, poured from a most generous hand.
A well-stocked pantry to put to order.
A spacious, well-furnished home.
A friend in Tennessee who shares in my life, lets me share in hers, and Skypes past her relative bedtime.
A church family with members that have remained together through the past ten years.
A sister with zero self-consciousness who dances down the aisle of a hardware store.
A mom who takes time to speak words of counsel to her children.
I don’t deserve anything, but — see what I’ve been given.
The richness of biological life and all the experiences held therein, but not only that! He grants eternal life besides. The intimate knowledge of God Himself.
I get to live this life in relationship with Him.
I get to experience what it is to be His child and beloved.
I get to call the Gospel my story and song.
I get to anticipate an eternity in His presence.
Oh, and couldn’t I go on and on?
Grace upon grace upon grace.
If my life is soaked through with it, why do I not spend more of my time celebrating instead of pointing out what I covet or perceive I lack? There’s really no good reason for me to be dissatisfied, dragging around the heavy chain of entitlement. I have absolutely no right to demand.
Because don’t I remember?
I don’t deserve anything.
So another round begins.
And this heart finds the joy it’s looking for.
Ann Voskamp first ministered to me through the words on her blog, then her book, titled One Thousand Gifts. She’s the one who got me started listing out the ways He manifests grace, every day, in every sphere. I think it’s time to pick up list-making again. So, I’ll be chronicling highlights of His grace here, born of my need to nurture contentment and thankfulness – and approach life with joy! I see more and more that this really is the only fitting, liberating way to live.