As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Anne Voskamp One Thousand Gifts

Often, transitioning and leaning into adulthood or the grown-up life can come with certain sacrifices or feelings of loss. On the surface level, you may have to lose things because of financial discernment. For example, you might have to listen to your budget and refrain from spending $50 on lattes in a week (totally hypothetical of course… there’s no way I’ve ever done that; ) ) Similarly, you sacrifice time and leisure that you are used to as you learn the 9-5 lifestyle, and lastly, on a deeper level, you may even lose significant relationships and friendships as girlfriends move away to separate cities or get married.

In the midst of change and loss, one of the most helpful things for me has been a heart of gratitude. In learning the art of adulthood, I’ve been learning the act of gratitude. This all started when my mom sent me excerpts from Anne Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. The book is a dare to live fully right where you are because Voskamp explains that a heart of thankfulness is one that allows you to find contentment in your current circumstances, even through shaky times.

So today, I made a list of my gifts in life, no matter how small or large, and I made a thankfulness jar that I placed on my bedside so that each evening or whenever I am struggling to find the sweet moments in life, I can recall the good things to refocus my mind.


I am thankful…

  • For my car.
    • For the car heater, that takes care of my cold-blooded nature that is always cold.
    • For the auxiliary cord in my car that allows me to escape for the 20-minute car rides to and from work listening to Tim Keller sermons and the dance parties that I have by myself to the 1975 album.
  • For the green lights that I caught on the way to school that gave me an extra five minutes to sit in my car before stepping into a sea of many faces because those 5 minutes to close my eyes and pray or sing fill me up when social interactions drain my closet introverted nature.
  • For the girl who said hi to me while waiting for the elevator when I was too scared to even though I often complain about we allow ourselves to let strangers be strangers
  • For when my phone died, and it forced me to read my Bible and because my discipline sucks a lot of the time and I wouldn’t have done it otherwise
  • The living breathing nature of the word of God, even though I often subconsciously label it as a chore
  • Unexpected text messages from friends who bring my needs to the feet of Jesus when I am too preoccupied to with talking about my problems instead of praying about them
  • A place to call a home, and not simply a house
  • Moments that I laugh so hard that my abs hurt and make me feel less guilt about skipping my daily workout
  • Moments that by the grace of God, my mind shifts to what matters, and the petty thoughts fade away
  • For breakfast tacos, how they never grow old and are under $5
  • For friends who can feel encouraged by rather than envious of my gifts because they know my successes do not steal from their own
  • That today I believe in the goodness of God, that He is faithful, and that he has not and will not forget about me, that I feel him as close as a friend as I type this, and that I know he will come back even though in other moments I won’t feel him this close.

What are you thankful for today? Write it down, put the thoughts in a jar to collect, share your lists with your friends or family, but whatever you do, allow gratitude to center your heart in moments that growing up and changing seem to cause our minds to see more loss than gain.

“And when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me.” – – Anne Voskamp One Thousand Gifts