I haven’t lived 1000 years, but I have experienced 1000 gifts. I started this gift counting challenge on August 21st and completed it on October 10th. 50 days of intentional looking, of writing notes, of blessings. Only 50 days… it went by quickly. 1000 gifts seems like a lot, like it would take forever. I’m learning that with eyes-wide open I would probably see 1000 gifts in one day. But I’m not there. I still struggle with seeing the good in bad. I still like it when things go my way. I have a harder time counting gifts when I am out of control. However, I have learned that my desire for control is what kills the joy in the day to day moments. To experience joy is to let go and let God do His thing. I feel like I’ve learned so much in a short period of time, but I always feel like I have barely scratched the surface of what there is to learn in gift counting.
I’m still counting. I’m at 1091 as I type this blog. I have made a few changes to my gift list challenge. While counting 1000 gifts, I didn’t allow myself to use the same gift twice. I really wanted to find 1000 distinct gifts. It was hard to do this because so many things bless me continually… like soda or Scentsy or sunshine. Now that I have reached 1000, I have decided that I will allow duplicates in my gift list. If the sunshine really moves me today, I will write it down. If they sunshine next Thursday really moves me, I will write it down. Each day the simple blessings of life are before me. Do I see them? Am I taking note? Am I grateful for my toothbrush or modern appliances? Did I notice that smile? Did that friendly word really sink in? Like I said, if my eyes were really open I would see 1000 gifts in a day, but I know that I am not that aware. I strive to be. I know that by living my life through the lens of finding blessings, I will see them more and more. It’s a muscle that grows with discipline.
I still tend to look to the negative. This process hasn’t broken my pessimistic outlook. I wish it would. I desperately seek to see more good than bad. My only hope is that I can see all the good and remember that there is good even in bad. This last week, I’ve had some very stressful situations playing over and over in my mind. Every time I would start to worry about a person or the outcome of a situation, I would just go to prayer and bless. Instead of worry, I chose to bless. Instead of fear, I chose to bless. I’m still learning to make this a habit. It amazed me how much peace it brought me. Look for the blessings, look for opportunities to bless. This is my new outlook, this is my hope!