Sunday, January 29, 2012

Spikes of Discontent

My friend, Mary, recommended a book that she was reading, and I picked it up and have also been enjoying it.  For her thoughts, you can read her post here at  Daily Graces.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
The poetic stream-of-conscious, unfiltered lyrical poetry of her writing is exactly right for this stage of my life - it's how I think, it's how I move, it's how I write.   When there's so little time to quietly reflect, my reflections are fluid and filled with movement.  The concept of the book is a renewed challenge to me toward something I started independently a year ago when I was really struggling to see God's goodness in my life.  I was weary and nauseous from an unexpected pregnancy (my sweet Millie) while caring for my toddler and a friend's toddler -  in the midst of support raising and cramped living next to a thundering airport.  The darkness overwhelmed the light most days.  One day I tore a piece of notebook paper out of a pad and jotted down the Lord's mercies over each past hour.  As I read about Voskamp's experience doing the same, I had to smile because it had the same effect in my life at the time as hers did - I actually found joy compounded simply by recording how the Lord had loved and provided for me in the small ways.

I let the discipline go and know now that I shouldn't have.  I sometimes joke with Jesse that I'm not a pessimist - I'm "just a realist."  But in my heart, I know that's a lie.  I believe the worst, I listen to the lies that the enemy and my flesh feed me about God and myself.  I don't just do it occasionally but I do it daily, hourly, even by the second.

She says,
This is why I never really learned the language of "thanks in all things"!  Though pastors preached it, I still came home and griped on.  I had never practiced.  Practiced until it became the second nature, the first skin.  Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation.
And again,
Nails driving out my habits of discontent and driving in my habit of eucharisteo.  I'm hammering in nails to pound out nails, ugly nails that Satan has pierced through the world, my heart.  It starts to unfold, light in the dark, a door opening up, how all these years it's been utterly pointless to try to wrench out the spikes of discontent.  Because that habit of discontentment can only be driven out by hammering in one iron sharper.  The sleek pin of gratitude. (emphasis mine)
I think it may not be necessary for everyone to take the discipline as "far" as Voskamp in writing down a thousand blessings.  But I have started again and have found it to maybe - just maybe - be the key to learning gratitude. I hope in a month, a year, or two years, I will be able to see growth in contentment and gratitude in my life.


  1. Thanks for letting me know you had written this. It is so encouraging for me to get to know your heart!

  2. God seriously knows what we need to hear when we need to hear it! You spoke of darkness overwhelming you and needing to see God's mercies written out often...

    I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed myself, maybe I wouldn't say it is an overwhelming darkness, but this is a period of life when I feel I find little joy in daily life. I muddle through as best I can and just make it to the end of the day when I can crash for a few hours sleep. Really the days seem to run together and it seems there is just demand after demand, need after need to meet, and no time to just enjoy... yet, perhaps the key is that I be purposeful about taking that time to find joy in the midst of everything. I like this idea of writing out ways the Lord has blessed me during the day so I can see it and really fully know it, if that makes sense. I'll have to start doing this myself.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Good blog Sarah! Love your heart!