Photo by us, Design by Eddie Irvin
Chrissy here. I have been wanting to do this for quite some time now, every new month finding excuses why I was too busy or why it would be really inconvenient or (super honest moment here!) how it was too vulnerable and no one would care and I would be embarrassed. Knowing that this is something God laid on my heart to do, I basically became increasingly annoyed at myself for avoiding it. So, here I am, at the start of likely the most inconvenient month thus far (we are traveling for over half the month), and I am done with excuses. It’s time to be intentional about having a grateful heart.
Over the last year, I came to realize that when I saw ugly things in myself – selfishness, control, pride, anxiety, unforgiveness, falling into the trap of comparison – they were all rooted in ungratefulness. The Lord tenderly showed me this time and time again, and though I’ve worked on trying to change that, I have never set myself to do an intentional project to facilitate the art of giving thanks. Then I read about how fear (one of the ugliest things that the enemy loves to attack us with) and ingratitude are functional atheism. ATHEISM. That woke me up.
1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp rocked my world. It’s one of those books that just cuts to your core and holds you so tight all at the same time. The conviction is heavy and the inspiration is life-changing. Slowing down, being present, humility, and living in a state of grace are heavy themes throughout the book. And of course, gratitude. The most powerful message in the whole book for me was when she was discussing the power that is in thanksgiving. Fear – that awful dread that plagues us all so often – can be defeated through the practice of giving thanks. Just think about it:
The opposite of faith in God is fear. Remembering how God has provided for us, protected us, and called us His, (and thanking Him for those things) leads us to joy, and freedom from fear. How can you not trust a God who has blessed you in the million-and-one ways you can recall even now? How can you continue to be anxious and prideful when you see how He has cared for you? Looking back, remembering, and thanking defeats fear. Haven’t you noticed it all over the Bible, especially the Old Testament? Remember, remember, remember. Only now am I starting to see that remembering and thanking is more than anything for us — for the maintaining of our faith and resisting of the enemy. Such powerful stuff.
So here we go, starting a project in the middle of our busy season and travel. But gosh, I am excited. I am excited for how it may hopefully encourage others but most of all how it will change my heart. And even with the fear that people may think it’s silly or not care, I am excited to do it — because I’m doing it for what the Lord wants to do in me.
I will post one photo from my big girl camera (no iPhone photos allowed) every day to our High Five For Love Photography Facebook Page of something I am thankful for. I would love if you followed along with me, just “like” our page to see updated photos, every day. At the end of the month, I will post a follow-up blog with all the images. I am going to be intentional to pick things that the Lord is showing me, without over-thinking it too much. I obviously have WAY MORE than 30 things to be thankful for! I am not going to fuss over the photos – quick shot, upload, edit, share. I’m not going to obsess over “likes” or “shares” or anything like that, yuck. This project is for me and whoever the Lord wants to encourage with it. I’m going to try to stay away from doing photos of friends, because I just have far too many wonderful humans in my life, and I don’t want any hurt feelings. Sometimes, I may even be in it (I have a babe business partner who can take those). I’m just excited – excited for the super busy days that this project will ground me and force me to be still. Excited for the days I have a bad mood and it will make me look at how much I have to rejoice in. Excited for what God will show me and how this will change my heart. Excited for the idea of extending this beyond a month because I have a feeling I will just need to.
Thanks for journeying with me, friends. You all are so cherished.