Joy is a function of how you thank - Ann Voskamp - incourage.me

When Thursday gets caught in your teeth like a piece of spinach, the crazy thing is you could dare to laugh — it gets things unstuck.

You know how it goes — Laugh or die. A joyful heart is good medicine, not just a good platitude.

You could — you could dare not to take yourself so seriously; dare to take yourself as Beloved.

Dare to not to give yourself a lecture, but dare to give yourself grace. His Grace is always the most amazing of all.

And you could dare not to honk if you’re happy, but honk to be happy, dare to realize joy isn’t a function of what happens, but of what you think. Joy is a function of how you thank.

So go ahead — Dare to be brilliantjust seek the light in everything. Dare to believe joy is revolutionary: it goes straight against the way this dark world spinsLight is always a radical thing in a dark world.

Dare to Give Big because this is how you Live Big. Dare to believe that it’s only your own sacrifices that show up at your funeral.

Dare not to quit when you’re tired, but dare to quit when you’re done.

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So just do it, because this is you how you get things done — dare to regularly stop the work of your hands and give God your knees because you believe God can do more than you. Dare to believe God doesn’t want your perfectionism — He wants our praise.

Dare to be grateful for every good thing. And dare to know it’s all good. That’s what God does: God works everything for good.

Dare to never make pain invisible but dare to say injustice is intolerable. This takes courage. This takes Christ.

Dare to give up clarity — because God gives a call. Dare to give up life road maps — because God gives a relationship.

Dare to live without answers — because God gives His hand.

Dare to live by faith — not by feelings, formulas, facts, or fences.

Nothing is impossible with God.

 

 

Q4U: How is life feeling a bit messy for you right now? Are you finding it hard to give thanks? Receive Grace? Give Grace? So what do you think — how can you dare to be grateful, right where you are?

 

Dare to thank more for more joy – pick up your copy of “One Thousands Gifts” on sale today at DaySpring! 

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  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Ann,
    I’m with you…I’ll dare to give God my knees. I’ll also give Him my perfectionism, my worry…all the things that weigh me down and instead give Him my praise and a good belly laugh. Thank you for this uplifting and beautiful reminder that God delights in us and desires for us to experience true joy. The only thing that stands between me and joy, is myself sometimes. Praying that I will have the good sense to get out of the way. :)
    Blessings,
    Bev

  • http://www.intentionallygraced.blogspot.com Penny Doremus

    “Dare to live without answers, because God gives His hand.” Oh Ann, my whole existence for the past six years has been about finding answers, hoping that those answers would explain things, fix things. I’ve been looking for those answers as if they were my savior. I know my help is really found, not in those answers, but in the one who already knows them. Today I’m praying that my need to understand will be eclipsed by my need to hold His hand. Thank you for your words this day.

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      Beautiful words, beautiful you, ((Penny)). *Thank you* for sharing here. My heart hurts with you. Rejoices with you. Takes a deep breath with you…and falls forward. Holding hands with you. You know I’m praying with you right now?

  • http://www.bethcoulton.com Beth

    Oh my – this was perfect for me this morning. “Dare to give yourself grace, and not a lecture….” That is me. I was lecturing myself all the way in to work this morning, about why don’t I get this done or that in the few short evening hours I have each day – things like why do I forget to exercise and work on my book and do my devotion and read the novel I checked out from the library and write that thank you note ….and the list goes on. Towards the end of my ride, I felt God calming me down as He gently got me off the podium and out from behind the lecturn, putting me in the audience while He took the stage. He then began to show me that I am already doing what I am called to do just by getting up in the morning and being faithful to give Him thanks for the day, by being a good employee at a job that is a total gift from Him, and by ministering to my husband and children in the few hours I have in the evenings when I’m home. The rest is just “stuff” – items of pressure I’m putting on myself to perform, when instead He wants me to relax in His grace that I’ve done enough for that day. Thank you for this, Anne….

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      ah, you and me both, Beth…Deep breath, yes? Making hard stops for prayer throughout the day and focusing on Jesus, thanking Him for grace to get up each day and begin again. So Love your heart in this, the most exquisite gift to Him — ALL THE TIME, friend!

  • Inspired Life

    Thank you for these grace words today. Last night “All that’s good and perfect comes from you” kept playing in my spirit. On this snow day, with my flock of five at my heels, I embrace living fully right in THIS space at THIS time.

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      Smiling through tears, friend. Sending much love to you and your flock… :)

  • JeanneTakenaka

    I needed this post this morning. After coming back from a writing retreat, real life didn’t stop. The unexpected happens and throws kinks into my important plans. Keeping appointments in spite of a delayed start to my boys’ school day, a house full of piles that only grew in my absence is enough to leave me feeling overwhelmed. And it’s easy to forget to give thanks. I so needed the reminder to stop working with my hands and just give God my knees. That’s the answer for my day.

    Today I will be grateful for time, for two amazing boys and a wonderful husband, for doctors who know how to help me, and especially for Jesus, who gives strength for the days . . . and whatever they hold.

    • JeanneTakenaka

      Sorry, not sure how this came up twice! :/

  • Molly

    Thank you. This message was what I needed to hear. I will “Dare to live without answers — because God gives His hand.” What comfort to know that God holds me in the palm of his hand.

  • Stephanie Hinz

    Yes! I dare to not take myself so seriously. To not lecture myself but to give myself the same grace I give to others. Thank you for this Ann.

  • emd04

    Ann, I love those photos of you! What joy is in your face. :)

  • Jenni

    Thank you for these words on this day. Perfect reminders. Also, your Hope looks so much like you. And she is beautiful.

  • Monica Anderson

    Beth, thank you! & Anne! This is perfect, exactly how I feel too. I feel like I’m never enough, never do enough, never spend enough time, the list goes on. I need to just take God’s hand and rest in Him today! Thank you both

    • http://www.bethcoulton.com Beth

      Monica- you are so welcome! I’m right with you, girl. It’s amazing that we women have this shared experience of trying to/wanting to be more than what we already are; perfect in God’s sight. That truth alone can blow me away if I’ll just slow down long enough to dwell on it!

  • alirob39

    How is life feeling a bit messy for you right now? We
    are a low income family. So it always seems like we wont make the
    bills or have enough food. I’m not sure that we will ever get out of
    our circumstance and it ends up becoming worry and anxiety.

    Are you finding it hard to give thanks? Most
    of the time, yes. This isn’t the way I thought I would be taken care
    of in my adult life and it’s very hard to adjust to struggle. It’s
    not something I ever want or wanted to experience.

    Receive Grace? Goodness,
    yes. My local church invites me to service and I blow it off.

    Give Grace?
    I end up becoming very hard on my children and they do not deserve
    that.

    So what do you think — how can you dare to be grateful, right where
    you are? I have a roof over my head. Food in my stomach. Running water and
    indoor plumbing. My kids are healthy and have more than I ever did
    growing up. I have a husband that truly adores me and treats me
    kindly with respect. My parents are still alive and my siblings are
    growing strong. Point being, my life is not perfect or what I would
    choose, but I am not going without. I am not living as a refugee, or
    anything like it.

    I can dare to be grateful in what I do have instead of what
    I do not have. The only way to do it is to turn my eyes to God
    instead of myself. With every negative thought, I need to pray and
    change it to gratefulness. I need to dare myself to “Quite after I finish” like it was said in the article. I need to dare to push past the fatigue, anger, the tough brick wall that keeps me from finishing what I start.

    Thank you for sharing, Ann.

    • http://www.bethcoulton.com Beth

      This is positively beautifully written. I can hear your heartache, and then your gratefulness. I think you have discovered the key element to life when you say this – “I can dare to be grateful in what I do have instead of what I do not have. The only way to do it is to turn my eyes to God instead of myself. With every negative thought, I need to pray and change it to gratefulness.” That’ a sermon preached right there. Thank you for your wise perspective! I know I for one needed to hear it said.

  • AnnVoskamp_HolyExperience

    What a powerful, powerful prayer, Bev — know I am praying with you, Bev…

    • Mary

      I’m trying to be grateful and joyful but my prodigal child is so angry with me. She has cut me out of her life. I can not bare it. Please pray for me and for her.

      • Elaine Lindemann

        Mary, I join you in your pain. I also have a prodigal daughter who keeps me at more than arm’s length in every way she can. She blames me for whatever has gone, is going, or will go wrong with her life. I so long to share her life but I only seem to make things worse. She is 34 and the battle has been raging since she was 12. I no longer have any idea how to approach her so I pray and I wait. Longing to take her in my arms and love her and assure her everything will be okay. The truth is everything is not okay and the years slip by so quickly through my empty fingers. I know God has a plan and wants me to count it all as joy. On this subject I stumble. I will pray for you Mary. I share the longing of your heart. We’ll leave our daughters in the tender arms of our gentle Savior and hold onto hope together. Your sister in Christ, Elaine

        • Mary

          Elaine,
          Thank you for sharing. It’s hard to talk about with other people and even more painful to watch moms and daughters doing things together. Thank you so much for your prayers. I am grateful for that.

        • Cindy Brake

          Amen and amen

        • Anna

          I just read this to my husband with tears streaming down my face. We have two small daughters and can see how this could happen and so desperately don’t want it too. I am praying for you. He, as a youth worker with years of experience heard something through your words which I did not and said “the father didn’t chase, he waited for the son to come home”. He also pointed out that when we fall out I push and push him for a resolution when he just needs some space, if I am able to give him space he always comes to me.

          • Anna

            Sorry ran out of words. Just wanted to add I am sending you huge love, hugs and prayers through the interweb. Your story has touched my heart.

      • Nancy

        I’ll pray for you Mary. My daughter also is accusing me of very hurtful accusations,instead of sitting down and talking with me about the situation. She forgets I cannot be a grandparent, when I I cannot spend quality time with my granddaughters. I have seizures, it’s s long story, but in a nutshell, I have never been able to be a “real grandma”, take them to the show, the park, the zoo etc.ALL BY MYSELF! I have always had to be with someone, so they don’t really know me on a personal level as they do their other grandparents. I would do nothing to hurt any of my grandchildren, as I have been blessed with 5 and thank my Holy Father for pouring out his love upon me. The lase time Insaw them was Sat. my other granddaughter’s soccer game. Sarah would not sit with me, yet she would with her other Grandma. I asked my daughter why would Sarah not talk with me and she replied “Because of all the rude comments you always say to her”? Rude comments? Why would I want to be rude and/or cruel to my granddaughter? So I asked her to come over by me, which she did. I proceeded to tell her how much I loved her, since the day she was born. That I would never do anything to harm her, that I wish I could spend more time with her & her sister, take them places (they know about my condition) and just continued with s few more encouraging, loving, emotional phrases. I did not ask her ONE question. My daughter is accusing me of pulling her aside and interrogating her! I would never do this! This is the same daughter that bought tickets for all of us to go to Chicago & see a musical? This is the same daughter that has given me several cameras as gifts. This the same daughter that took me for my colonoscopy & most important this is the same daughter that told me,”Mom, just call me if you need a ride anywhere”, when my doctor or told me I could not drive for 6 months. Bottom line, this generation needs to Grow Up and appreciate the parents their God blessed them with. There is no parenting book. We tried the best we could, but our love has always been unfailing and from the heart.
        I don’t know what your situation is, but our children just need to realize, it is not right to Hurt us with no just cause.
        Lord, I lift Mary and all other Mom’s that are struggling with their daughter’s, up to you. We are all your daughters, All Is Possible Through You. I beseech you Father to heal us, for our iniquities, and bind our love as Mother and daughter through you. In Jesus Holy Name I pray. Amen.

        • Brooke

          Maybe you all should sit down with your daughters and ask for specifics. My mom has hurt me in countless ways, and continues to repeatedly act in an abusive manner…name calling, rude comments, etc. one day I’m the most amazing daughter someone could ask for and the next she’s telling me she hates me and wishes I’d stay out of her life…and then wonders why I’m hurt.
          Maybe the ways you’ve hurt your daughters isn’t as blatant as that, but regardless they feel hurt. Maybe you should talk to them instead of assuming you are a perfect parent and have done nothing wrong. Clearly there’s a source of their hurt, and while it may not be you, it may be, and I think it’s your job as their parent to be the bigger person and have a time to sit and discuss truth. I’m So tired of always having to be the one to reach out to my mom when she’s the one who told me off.

          • Nancy

            I have never “assumed” to be the perfect parent, do you know of any? I am not in the habit of telling my daughter off, as you say. I simply feel by the age of nine, my granddaughter should not be shy and/or not want to sit by me if I ask her to. She has known me all her life, I have never done anything to harm my granddaughters, in fact when they were ice skating, on a weekly basis, I was the only Grandma to show up. The argument here is: my daughter feels that I feel they spend more time with their other grandparents then me. NO, this isn’t the issue. The issue is due to my medical condition, if, while growing up, they have needed to be watched for the night and/or weekend, they go to one of the other grandparents home, so it is Natural for them to feel more comfortable around them, they have done more with them. I just feel my daughter, as their mom should say, “When Nanni ask you to sit with by her, just sit with her for a few minutes, talk with her about your day, she would like to here about that, you know how much she loves & cares about you, right? That’s all, keep it simple. Her sister, my other granddaughter will be 12 in November, heck they’ll be teenagers pretty soon, there won’t be any sitting on my lap! Hopefully they will talk to me about the “current” boy in their life, but I doubt it.

  • http://www.beckykeife.com/ Becky Keife

    “Dare to believe joy is revolutionary: it goes straight against the way this dark world spins.” Ann, you have beautifully given words to the song beating in my heart ever since our 21 brothers were martyred. Joy IS revolutionary. We have to believe it. We have to live it! …so after dropping off my oldest boy at school this morning I lingered long in the driveway. Before heading in to fix the mess in the kitchen sink and the mess of me waiting to reflect in the mirror, I beheld the beauty of morning light on a brilliantly pink blossom. I pointed to the birds on the wire popping against bluest sky and my little guys oohed and ahhed. Before heading into the busy and the mess, I stopped to give thanks for the beauty. Stopped to be filled with joy. Thank you, from my deepest heart, for being a champion of JOY on the journey. xoxo

    • AnnVoskamp_HolyExperience

      Yes, this — just *thank you* for sharing, ((Becky)). Reaching over now and squeezing your hands tight and thanking Jesus for His grace…His astonishing grace. May we never get over it!

  • AnnVoskamp_HolyExperience

    Yes, Molly, in the palm of His hand. Astonishing grace! Know I am pausing and praying with you just now, friend…

  • AnnVoskamp_HolyExperience

    Beautiful words, beautiful you, ((Penny)). *Thank you* for sharing here. My heart hurts with you. Rejoices with you. Takes a deep breath with you…and falls forward. Holding hands with you. You know I’m praying with you right now?

    • http://www.intentionallygraced.blogspot.com Penny Doremus

      Thank you, Ann. Sometimes just knowing somebody else is praying is enough to bring the tears and the courage to keep going. I’m praying for you as well. ‘

  • Sarah S

    I’m daring to live without answers…right now, today, because this moment is what I have. The Dr. is choosing to wait and see until my symptoms come back and for now they are all gone. So, today with no answers choosing to live fully… I noticed the opportunity to shovel my neighbors drive and took it. Last night I enjoyed the opportunity to go bowling with my husband. I’m learning to live each day and accept it as a gift. Living. Thank. Full.

  • AnnVoskamp_HolyExperience

    Smiling through tears, friend. Sending much love to you and your flock today… :)

  • AnnVoskamp_HolyExperience

    ah, you and me both, Beth…Deep breath, yes? Making hard stops for prayer throughout the day and focusing on Jesus, thanking Him for grace to get up each day and begin again. So Love your heart in this, the most exquisite gift to Him — ALL THE TIME, friend!

    • http://www.bethcoulton.com Beth

      Thank you Anne for your sweet response- you’ve been an inspiration to me more times than you can know. Blessings to you this day!

  • AnnVoskamp_HolyExperience

    Jeanne, your words lay this sister right low and I whisper thanks to Jesus for you and yes, ma’am — we’ll keep pressing on to Jesus together. You are so loved — by Jesus and this Cross-clinging daughter….

  • AnnVoskamp_HolyExperience

    Yes, Stephanie! He loves you, He loves you, a thousand times He loves you and He stretches wide His arms and offers us eternity through that Cross.

  • Susan G.

    Yes! Nothing IS impossible with God! Thanks be to our awesome God.
    Now I get to remember that every day, every hour, every year…
    Bless you Ann, as you bless others.

  • Holy Vacation Queen

    I’m reading One Thousand Gifts, and am deeply moved by the depth of Ann’s heart, soul and faith–suddenly I’m noticing the many wonders surrounding me that I normally would overlook, all which fills the pauses and empty spaces in my life with joy! The book is a true blessing. Ann is a modern day mystic, a compassionate heart, and a true, and faithful woman who offers One Thousand Gifts –and more– to the world.

  • Rinske

    Oh Ann!
    Those pictures of you, those smiles….. couldn’t help but made me smile too!! Go for it, let the inner child in yourself be released.

    “Dare to believe God doesn’t want your perfectionism — He wants our praise.”
    Dare to not to give yourself a lecture, but dare to give yourself grace.
    Dare to live by faith — not by feelings, formulas, facts, or fences.

    These three, oh how I needed to hear that today. I can be so good in giving myself a lecture, getting angry about myself when I can’t find joy, when my mind is overwhelmed by anxiety, when I feel like I have to be perfect, have to have all sorted out.

    Thank you Ann for this beautiful reminder that God delights in me, with my fears, on my “down days”, with my belly laughter, my “I can talk forever”, and my insecurities. I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to “walk by faith, even when I cannot see” (as Jeremy Camp sings it)

    Thank you for this reminder to let go of perfectionism and self-judgement (Is that a proper english word?? ;-)), but to love the person I am and delight in Him, in what He gives, and continue to walk by faith and give Him praise!

  • Rinske

    Oh Beth, this is exactly how I feel too. How I need to still learn everyday what it means to “walk by faith, even when I cannot see”, to take it one day at a time, knowing that He is enough!
    Thank you for sharing!

    • http://www.bethcoulton.com Beth

      Rinske, you are so welcome! I kind of couldn’t believe that I was reading Anne’s post about 10 minutes after I’d finished my therapy session with God in the car :). It was the perfect timing and served to seal the deal that I need to stop berating myself each morning about what I didn’t do the night before! Our days can turn out so differently than WE plan, but it’s always HIS plan that is best. One day at a time, sister!

  • Amy

    Motherhood feels messy to me right now…actually it has ever since we added two more children to the one we had. :) I struggle all the time with giving my kids grace and receiving grace myself when I mess up (which is everyday). Recovering perfectionists have that problem, I think! As a stay at home mom, I have a hard time giving thanks for the annoying, trying, and repetitive things. But because of YOUR encouragement and willingness to share your heart, and what God lays on it, with the world, I am beginning to change. Started the Joy Dare on January 1 and going all the way! Thanking Him for each moment with my children (and husband, and the list could go on) and remembering that joy is something I have to CHOOSE. And why would I not, when everything I have is a GIFT from above?! Oh, and I feel like we could be friends if I lived in Canada because my husband is also a farmer (and a pastor on the side, ha ha) and we could talk all things farm. :) Thank you for this post!

    • Lizzie B

      Hey Amy, I am with you! Got three little ones and today has been a hard day. Took it out on my husband just before he went out too. Thank goodness for grace. Holy Spirit help us to choose thankfulness and joy – we just cannot do it without you.

      • Amy

        Amen! :)

  • Amy

    Wow, Penny, your words really resonated with me. I have come to this same realization recently as a mom. All I’ve done in the past 6 years (my oldest is 6) is look for the answers elsewhere to fix what’s wrong with one of my children or figure out what I’m doing wrong, when all God ever wanted me to do was turn to HIM first. And WAIT. And WAIT some more for Him to speak to me! Thank you for sharing this!

    • http://www.intentionallygraced.blogspot.com Penny Doremus

      Amy, my oldest is nineteen and in college! I so understand where you are. Sometimes the wait is so long, but I think it’s in that wait we learn much about God. Blessings to you on your young family!

      • Amy

        Thank you Penny! Same to you!

  • http://www.bethcoulton.com Beth

    I love this statement, and it reminds me of me… “I know my help is really found, not in those answers, but in the one who already knows them.” So true. I so often look to the answers instead of looking to the Source of those answers…thank you for reminding me where to fix my gaze!

    • http://www.intentionallygraced.blogspot.com Penny Doremus

      Beth, It’s so comforting for me to know that there are others that feel and think like I do. Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone in this walk.

  • Debbie

    I loved where you said dare to NOT give yourself a lecture, but dare to give yourself GRACE! I’m harder on myself over my sins and mistakes, than anyone else could ever be; and I know God convicts, but it’s Satsn that condemns. I need to give myself the same grace God gives me. On a side note-I’m up to 282 of my 1,000 gifts! Thank you for your caring, encouraging heart! ❤️

  • Lizzie B

    Yes Lord. Please Lord. Help me embrace your grace. Fill me with joy, when my little troop test and push boundaries, when head space, even bed space seem so unlikely. Give me fun and silly and great big belly laughs that point to you

  • Nancy Ruegg

    Powerful dares, here, Ann, especially “Dare to live without answers, because God gives His hand.” Did God say, “This one is for you, Nancy?” I think so! He knows the questions that want to play over and over in my mind, and he HAS given me his hand. You’ve given me some better questions to meditate on: What are the ramifications of that truth, that God gives us his hand? How should that truth impact my life? Thank you for the challenge, Ann!

  • Kathie

    I want to go sledding!! and since there is so.much.snow. here, that shouldn’t be a problem! 57 years old and still love to be a child. Thanks for sharing the joy Ann!

  • Beth Williams

    I give God my praise daily. I’ll also give Him my knees and worry over my job. I know that He has plans for me and if I’m to stay at this place then He will make it happen.
    I will quit worrying a lot about my aging father. God can handle it all and He will take care of me and my family!
    Blessings ANN and everyone!

  • Betsy Rea

    Today it is hard for me to give thanks and to find grace. Yesterday marked two years since my mom passed away and I am still flooded with memories of her and of her dying. I am finding it hard to give thanks because I feel as if much as been taken away from me – in her death, in her not being here to see my first and now second year of college, in her not being able to support me and give me wisdom, in the fact that my younger siblings will never know her more than they did. I am missing her presence and finding it hard to have joy today. But I am keeping my hands open, turning my face to the Lord, and He gives much grace. I’m thankful for a day of rest, time to pray, an easy night at work, dear friends who encourage, and the hope of one day seeing my mom again.

    • Mary

      Betsy
      Your loving thoughts towards your mom touched me. I can hear the sadness in your heart. I know the pain of being separated from a loved one. Keep holding on to Gods word. I pray for The joy of the Lord to flood your heart.

  • http://www.cookiesrainandlove.com/ Jacinta

    I’m daring to rest. A hard one for me, but I’m choosing to obey…and to keep giving thanks. :)

  • Denise

    Ann,
    Oh how I widh I would have read your encouragement this morning. It was a very rough day. I prayed asking for the strength to keep my joy. To move forward through the seemingly endless troubles of this long day. The spinach may have gotten “unstuck” much sooner. I read this to my fiancé tonight! We both got on our knees to thank Him for all the troubles today because we know He was with us every step! God bless you sister on Christ! ❤️

  • Lisa Schorp

    I am adring to believe for health and complete and total healing for my bff Sara who has blood cancer and has one more chemo tratment then to find out if she need more chemi. Im am believing for her health and on my knees, her 6 month old son Logan needs his mama, there to see him grow up. Its messy, and I worry, please interceed and pray, she is the one who knows me, my pain and share belly laughs with, a true gf who makes you laugh so hard you cry.

  • Dedra

    So how do you give thanks when all seems to be crashing down around me? When all I want to do is give up? That, in spite of doing all the right things,(reading scripture, praying, church-going) there aren’t any positive results? The waiting is hard. Family hurts run deep. It’s hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Giving thanks seems fake. Is that what scripture calls, “the sacrifice of praise”? Will it ever become natural to give thanks instead of complaints? Just being real, without answers.

  • Ralph Bryan

    Just a little note to let you know that the women aren’t the only ones that appreciate your comments, discoveries, unshakable faith and insights into your shared life. At my age (73), I’ve had to deal with a few messes, a lot of joy and some sorrow. It’s called life in general, but there has always been this unforeseen hand at work to make things right. Like you, I’m still building on that faith. Right now, I’m working on moving that dog-gone mountain!

  • Deanna

    I have recently been in deep-thought, over “JOY.”
    I am a Christian, yet after am led by my feelings – controlled by my situations….
    Oh to be known as a person, “full of joy!”

  • Cricket

    Ann,
    This was great and SO timely! I am a worrying perfectionist so I know something about that whole “trying without joy” thing! But, I am determined to give God my knees and hold tightly to His hand and LIVE THE JOY today!
    Also…am halfway through your book, One Thousand Gifts…beyond awesome! So inspiring, thank you for baring your soul with your readers. I know God will use this book to change hearts and lives. <3
    Love and blessings-
    Cricket

  • Beth

    Ann, thankful for your words that you share from God’s heart in you.
    Oh God, I dare today to put aside perfectionism, replacing it with praise to my God who does all things perfect. I dare to find joy in the dailyness of my life because God is joy and He is in me. I dare to fall to my knees, overcoming worry, when life’s demands seem to overcome me. I dare to fix my eyes in Jesus, who has finished the race m & sits at the right hand of God, when I am ready to give up on my race, knowing that Jesus will give me strength to carry through. I dare to dwell in my mind on all things good and noble from my heavenly Father who loves me so. Amen.

  • Lori

    Ann, Today, Today, I have no other choice to give God the sacrifice of my knees, myself, all that I am today. I learned last night that my best friend from high school lost her life in a house fire. She was lost. She had no love relationship with our Father. I’ll never see her again. So I am just asking Him to flood my heart today with all His grace to help me put one heavy foot in front of the other.

  • Valerie Shepherd-Smith

    Beth your words could have been my words; right down to the reading of the library book! Although I do need to make a few changes, I also need “to relax in His grace”. Thank you, thank you for your words and insight.

    • http://www.bethcoulton.com Beth

      Valerie- you are so welcome! I’m trying today to practice what I preached, and relax in who I am in Him, give Him this day and live within its boundaries, knowing He’s right here with me. I will be able to accomplish what He has laid out for me to do!

      • Valerie Shepherd-Smith

        Relaxing in who we are in Him, great advice. I too will give Him this day and all it holds and rest in Him.

  • Margaret

    When I graduated from high school, I received an award called the”I Dare You Award” I wasn’t sure why. I remember being very upset about not receiving “The Most Athletic Girl Award” so when I was called for the “I Dare you Award”, bitterness clouded my mind. The other day, I was driving and my mind recalled graduation and my feelings. Why in the world did I receive that “I Dare You Award”? My life has not produced the normal successes due to a disability and I often laughed at how inappropriate the “I Dare You Award” seemed for me. Your article has helped me put this into perspective and to let go of the festering bitterness I have harbored over the years. God’s grace is ever present with me right now. His Spirit has been saw my need for healing the other day and provided a way today. Thank you!

  • Kelley

    Life is feeling more than messy…cannot put it into words, but God does not require words-only our presence. Today’s HE was pure joy! Thank You!

  • Anne Folsom Scott

    BIG FAN of what the Spirit inspires you to write. Sometimes I weep uncontrollably, sometimes I laugh out loud, but always I am moved closer to a greater intimacy with the Savior who has made it all possible. From a much older sister in the Lord of 72 and an Anne who spells her name with a fanciful “e”.

  • Kristin Sparkman

    Ann, things are going pretty good for us right now. However, I love how God works. I noticed this Wednesday. People don’t smile. Now I’m a smiley person. I read somewhere that your smile could be the only one someone gets for the day so make sure to smile. So, Wednesday I gave my family the challenge of smiling. Smile at others and try and get them to smile. I love noticing when people smile. I have also started saying Hi when I smile. I love that your devotion was on the same week God put this on my heart.

  • Diane

    Daring to give up MY roadmap. My relationship with Christ is my roadmap – as He has shown me just this past week.

  • MyMomCalledMeMissy

    I really liked this post. I did find it a little confusing and I am sorry if it was obvious. This is my first time here. What is “the Dare’? Also, maybe I don’t belong here, but it also is a little bit confusing because maybe I am just not where you all are in life. I don’t understand some of what you are saying. Or understand the how to’s. Maybe if I understood the dare. Maybe I would understand the how you got from point A in your life to point B? Because I am truthfully, not where you all are. Ann, I love the way you write. I have mentioned that to you before. I am sure you do not remember. Who would. But, there is a big gap of not understanding the language maybe. And maybe in this aspect not understanding in part the dare you are talking about. I am just starting to read your book. I had started reading it before, but truthfully with all the medications I take, I can not remember much of it. I am hoping to remember more of it this time around. Thank you for your help. I am hoping to get more “advice” and communication….for this lost soul. Thanks so much.

    • Kathy

      Hi Missy,
      Sometimes a long thread can seem confusing, but All Ann is asking us to do is Dare to trust God.
      For everything.
      Choosing to find and identify small otherwise unseen graces or gifts that exist around us is thanks to Him for his care for us.
      We first trust that he came to be our savior and as we thank him with our lives, our very breath,
      We begin to see the joy that seeps into every part of our being.
      I have been counting Gifts and daring to trust Hime wholly for three years now and I can say that my life is forever changed. I truly see the life of Christ in Ann, and I thank the Lord that he leads me ever closer as I live for him, counting His awesome graces,
      kathy

  • Tracey

    To dare that life could be overflowing with joy is scary… It means giving up control of the very skills that were necessy to survive some pretty tough stuff through my childhood and get me to where I am today . Believing that my life could thrive and be full of real joy, giving up the endless pursuit for happiness, resting in God, telling myself that I am not worthless… Is it possible to let all that go and really learn to live in God?

  • Lucinda Lang

    Im so blessed to be a part of this family God has built thru Ann. I so understand waiting on Gods will to be done with family members, to see them have joy and laughter in their lives and to laugh with them. To see them look to God for all their answers and to have peace of mind. After 33 years a certain prayer has been answered and from what I understand to why it seems to take so long for prayers to be answered is because God is PERFECT and that prayer could only be answered at that PERFECT time to do the best work in that individual for their benefit. Thank u for sharing all your lives. It helps! And, thank u Ann for doing Gods work. You are an inspiration thru God to us all

    • Lucinda lang

      hi Missy and Tracey. The dare to let God be in total control. My oldest explained to me that the only way she made it thru college was to put these walls around her. A safe haven or she best described it as a bubble. As time went on she lost her bubble and she felt open to the worlds problems. Her safe haven was gone and she was scared of truly living life. She tried to build the defenses back up but something or someone would not let her. Where was she to turn? God. God said u don’t need walls to keep u safe. I am your safety. God said I want you to LIVE with joy love laughter and if you fall I’ll wrap my arms around you and hold you up. I’ll never let go even when your path seems dark I’m still holding you. I have experienced this dark path and my Dare is to let go of myself and hold on to God and know that he is sooo big that he can protect us all and we can live. We can empty ourselves totally and let God take control. I talk big and I am so with you guys and sometimes I feel scared and lonely open to the worlds injustifications but I Dare myself to let God be in total control of my life. Thanks for letting me share