“And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling ‘This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!’
“And each day, it’s up to you, to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say ‘No. This is what’s important.'” ~pleasefindthis
Sometimes we are reminded about things we need to be reminded of. A year ago, I took a challenge from a friend and wrote 15 positive things – about myself. The challenge spanned five days, and the things had to be made public on social media. I confess, it was an awkward exercise for a girl who professes to be an open book. It’s one thing to not hide things, but quite another to intentionally share what we believe to be good, especially when that good includes thoughts about who we are.
I was reminded of that challenge this week, and took a moment to read what I had written each of those five days. And I’ll confess – I’ve allowed the busy days to strip pieces of the good away. While the busy days have been for meaningful things – Micah 6:8 sorts of justice and mercy things – I’ve become neglectful in gratitude. So I am posting the full list – all 15 positive things – as a reminder to hold fast to the good that’s been poured into me by God, for the 15 things wouldn’t exist without His kindness. It’s my prayer that the list will inspire you to make your own and then guard it well from the busy days. Because you need to remember the good that’s been poured into you too.
- I’m finding every decade to be better than the one before. Not easier, mind you, but better. Life gets sweeter and richer and more colorful with every passing day. It truly is a gift to be cherished and not despised.
- I’m thankful to live in a country that allows freedom of worship – even when that freedom means others may not worship as I do, not worship at all, or even openly discredit me because I am a Christ-follower.
- I love my family – Brad, Ian, Gina, my sweet grandkids, every relative by marriage, every extended family member, every person grafted in because God is so very kind to fill in all the gaps. He is so so kind.
- I love telling story, even when there are seasons when it feels like the words are trapped somewhere between my heart and the page. The story hasn’t stopped in those seasons – it’s just being told in a different way. And it forces me to be observant, which I also love. I wonder what would happen in this world if we were all just a little more observant.
- Sundresses and sandals in the summertime. Boots and sweaters when it’s cold. And always bracelets – lots of them, each filled with personal meaning. These things are happy things to me.
- I am thankful to be blessed with work. While it may be more challenging than and as stressful as the marketplace positions I’ve had – and (to be candid) there are moments I miss the large salaries and big perks – there is something absolutely beautiful about working in ministry. I pray I serve well.
- I love running. I’m really not great at it, and I remember once someone telling me I didn’t have the right to call myself a runner unless I had done it to the point of throwing up (which makes me simply want to come up with another name for runner, like “circus peanut,” so I can just say I’m a circus peanut and not be judged). I didn’t realize just how much I loved ituntil I broke my hip. Now my titanium screws and I have a killer time out on the roads and trails (and yes, I do sing, “I am TI-TA-NI-UM!” as I run).
- What I love the most about running, though, isn’t the actual running. I mean, I do like that part – but It’s really all about what happens when I’m outdoors. Without fail, there’s a moment that makes me think about eternity. Sometimes it’s the sunrise or flowers or the mist that hovers over the fields near my house. Sometimes it’s rocks by the trail that make me think of ebenezers. I’ve stacked a few for a friend. And I’ve added one just for me.
- I love ebenezers – the milestones on our journey that remind us of how far we’ve come. God’s no fool – He knows we’re forgetful and we easily feel like we’re going nowhere. We lose heart. So He’s good enough to us to share a story about telling Joshua to stack stones high so they will stand as a memorial to how He came through. He said those milestones would be a way for us to share our story – and God’s story – with generations to come. Those milestones would shine like diamonds.
- Sunrises and sunsets slay me. There’s just something about those moments in the day that fill me with wonder. It’s as if all of creation stops for a moment in silent reverence to new mercies and whispered graces. I can’t help but do the same. I invite you to join me in savoring them sometime.
- Though I’m on the cusp of being an introvert and find myself feeling quite clumsy at large social gatherings, I love what happens when people get together to experience life. A meal around a table or a glass of wine and quiet conversation as the day draws to a close or hours of small-town roadtripping to discover treasures and make up stories about the life they lived before they found us. I even love a simple chat on the phone, just to hear about someone’s dreams and hopes, praying a resounding “yes” to all that’s beautiful in them.
- My friend asked me what it is I want to succeed at in my life. And what I liked the most about that question was what happened in my heart when she asked it. Certainly, I thought about the list of things I’d like to accomplish with what’s left of my days – but my first thought was about HER life. If in the fully living of my life, I have the privilege of pouring into someone else’s life for now and for eternity – even in the smallest way – it will be a rich life. No stage or book deal or world tour needed.
- My body – she’s a good old body. I used to loathe her (abuse and self-hatred can really mess up perspective), but now I celebrate her. I’ve even shared a picture of my legs as part of a challenge called #showmeyou. I have nine noticeable scars on my knees alone from falls related to running and hiking. There’s a permanent, never-faded scar on my shin from a bike wreck in elementary school. And now there’s an incision mark on my thigh because of three screws in my hip. These gals have been through it all. And yet they run. Thank you, legs.
- That past of abuse and self-hatred? I’m now thankful for it. I would not be who I am now had those things not been a part of who I was. It doesn’t make them right – but they are a reminder that anything – ANYTHING – is able to be redeemed.
- Though she is a sweet and deceptive beast, I like social media. Because of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, my blog and more, we’re connected. You and me. I may have met you when I was four. We may have worked alongside each other or traveled to a foreign land together. Maybe you stayed at CasaRock, or maybe we’ve never met in real life but we’ve had long conversations about this life. Our friendship might have started with a thing called the START Experiment, or we could have found each other for the first time in the Coterie or Binders or Dreamers & Builders or 30 Days of Hustle or #write31days or at Launch Out or through Broken Made Beautiful. No matter where or how or why, we’re in this together. And that’s beautiful.
So, what are your 15 things? What fills your heart with gratitude? Would you share them with me? I’d love to celebrate with you.