One Thousand Gifts: Chapter Nine from Bloom (in)courage on Vimeo.
This chapter hit me between the eyes.
I realized something about myself – I struggle with entitlement. It is not something I have ever really thought about before. My family and I live a fairly frugal lifestyle, within our means.
Even still, I catch myself, every once in a while thinking:
- I deserve that new purse.
- I deserve to have nice clothes.
- I deserve to have a car.
- I deserve this job.
- I deserve to go on vacation.
The truth of the matter is I don’t.
None of these things are deserved.
They are gifts.
By counting gifts, I find myself learning how to live in a state of awe even when life feels very ordinary.
It take prayer, diligence and time to cultivate a spirit of going lower, doesn’t it?
How can I go lower in my life? How can you?
What can we as believers do to live a life that is full of humility and gratitude?
This week, during your quiet times, ask God to reveal to you what you feel entitled to, then take time to give thanks for those blessings. And, if you feel compelled, share what you discover here in the comments. Of course, you can always share your seed, water and grow too!
We are so thankful for each of you.
Ang, Jess and the Bloom (in)courage teamLeave a Comment
Puffin Hen says
Having a sense of entitlement is something I find myself frequently addressing with my children when I feel that they take for granted all of the efforts that we go to for them; this has really made me think hard about how I am modelling that sense of entitlement, particularly in terms of my expectations of them and their behaviour. What Ann said about feeling entitled to hold on to the joy, to not have that peaceful place distrupted, really spoke to me. Much, much to ponder here. Thank you.
Deb Chitwood says
I always find the videos add to the book. Your recorded conversations are thought-provoking and inspirational. I sometimes struggle with feeling entitled to be paid something for all the work I do. I love the quote Angie said in the video: “Expectations are premeditated resentments.” And I really like the Peter Kreeft quote Ann had in the chapter: “No one who ever said to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and meant it with his heart, ever failed to find joy—not just in heaven, or even down the road in the future in this world, but in this world at that very moment.” (p. 180)
Jennifer Crewe says
I haven’t gotten to Chapter 9 yet so haven’t wathced the video but I needed to share some things going on in my life. I have been really enjoying Ann’s book and trying to put it into practice. Now yesterday I received a phone call from one of my daughters giving me bad news about her husband and her marriage. Seems it is over and her husband wants no part in trying to patch it up. They are not Christians. Now I am faced with finding the eucharisteo in this. I had been doing well with the small things but now I am at the hard things. I am searching for the grace and thanksgiving in this situation. I am believing that I will find it, but such timing. I am so thankful that I had been reading and learning from One Thousand Gifts. I know that God will use this situation for good. I believe that it will turn my daughter back to him. Not sure aboutg my son in law I am still searching for God’s grace.
I just wanted to thank Ann for this wonderful book and let you know that I am really trying to practice what I have read. God bless you
Holley Gerth says
I’m so sorry you’re going through this hard time, Jennifer. I’m going to pause and pray for you and your family right now.
Jennifer Crewe says
Thank you Holly, prayer works and is much appreciated. There seems now to be some possibility that my son in law is perhaps willing to talk to my daughter. Perhaps God is answering prayer already.
all shall be well says
Praying for you also, for God to be mighty in the midst of all of this….and His peace that is beyond understanding for your heart……….
I hardly know what to share because I could identify with so many things in this chapter. Beth Moore says that in God’s kingdom, the way up is down. I’ve spent too much time standing up lately, fists clenched. This week i hit a wall and once again cried through much of this chapter. The surprising thing is that I am not a big crier.
Today I am going to practice Palms Up.
This quote hit me and I blogged about it, if you care to peek. Actually my blog posts this week were full of Ann’s quotes and my journey to my knees.
“God hold us in the untamed moments too.”
Bev Brandon @ A String of Pearls says
Surprised by joy.
Surprised by sin.
LAYERS. It really means something to me to read your words, your layers, unfolding like the wrappings coming off of Lazarus, John 11:44. Every day we break the moral law and how do I deal with what’s terribly wrong way down deep inside of my heart? Until the day He folds our lives shut just like his grave clothes, folded, finished, John 20:7. What layer is He unfolding in me?
LET GO. Your own “worn words” give me hope. It’s the shattered glass sin that so surprises me and transforms me if I repent, not the sin for which I go on a witchhunt…for the very reason you gave of hunting for humility (p. 172). It was Paul who wrote in I Tim 1:15, at the end of his life, right before he was beheaded for believing, that he was “the chiefest of all sinners.” The more we see Him, the more we see ourselves and that we must let go of our layers of “straining higher, harder, doing more, carrying long the burdens of the ultra-saints” (p. 171), and “our own wild desires to protect our joy at all costs” (p. 178). What do I need to “let go?”
ENTITLEMENT. Psalm 139:23, Search me for what is a secret to me but so hidden there & help me engage better in this battle of entitlement. Count it all joy—and the word “count” is an accounting term: “hegeomai” meaning to count the hard times in the joy ledger, the 1000 gift list. Or, am I counting “the times that a sense of entitlement is what inflates self, detonates anger, offends God, extinguishes joy (p. 178).” Have mercy, O God! And thank you Ann, Jessica & Angie for Spirit words, John 6:63—these words you speak are life to me.
Such thought provoking material. What perfect timing as we begin Lent this week. This whole book has given me so much to think about and these next 40 days of Lent are why: Jesus giving himself up on the cross for our sins…eucharisteo. My journey through Lent this year will be very diffrent and focusing on the gifts. Love this book and the videos, hoping for another one.
Thank you so much for these videos. You ladies are wonderful together and this brings so much to the already fantastic experience of reading this book.
This discussion about the glass breaking brought to mind an experience I had recently. My extended family has been having some issues about an upcoming family reunion, and in the course of the discussion, I sent an email to a brother that, though wasn’t intended to be unkind, could have been taken that way, and could have been responded to in a defensive manner. I actually expected him to really give it to me, if he ever did bother to respond at all. Rather than the email that I was expecting, I saw his number in the caller ID, and my first thought was, “Well, let’s get it on!” bracing myself for confrontation. When I answered the phone, my brother disagreed with some of the things I had said in the email, but he did it in a very kind, non-defensive manner, and as he spoke my heart melted to the point that I was sobbing, and it took all I had to get through the conversation without letting on to how I was reacting. His birthday came up a week or so later, and I sent him a birthday card telling him what a neat guy he is and thanking him for the grace that he offered me in that moment.
My point is, that in thinking of the broken glass incident, and the idea of keeping our hand open, I though of my need to learn to keep my hand open to the idea of forgiveness and love in those moments, instead of my natural reaction to release the adrenaline by yelling and blowing off the steam. When we (or children) are expecting to be reprimanded, but instead are offered the grace of forgiveness, hearts change and we can begin to understand a little more the gift that we have in the atonement. Not that we always make that connection, but as I get older, the connection becomes clearer.
Thanks again for the book, and these wonderful discussions.
all shall be well says
I love what happned with your brother, and how you responded, as in our family there are lots of broken and tension-filled relationships, and “keeping my hand open” is a wonderful literal picture to have in that regard. Thanks so much for sharing…………karen:)
Beth Werner Lee says
Video provoked an interesting discussion: “Mom, where in the Bible does it say expectations are wrong?” (Literal thinker!) Which kind of expectations? I’m planning a party…good expectations that I prepare for. I think I explained about selfish expectations that when unmet aren’t let go, and gave examples in our life.
Preparing for Lent: I want to challenge more of my friends to begin gratitude journals, to get the book! I want to give up sweets, writing thanks instead. I want to read a devotional and have the literal artist make a hanging picture each day for a purple cord strung across our sliding door. But I’m not good at making things happen (really low expectations because of experience, there) so I lift this three-fold idea to God with open hands. “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will GIVE you the desires of your heart.” I took that one verse to heart somewhere around 200 in my own gratitude listing.
I love the picture of responding to the conflict by kneeling with palms raised. Is that how I can respond when…? Show me your ways o Lord, lead me in your paths!
Sharon @ Hiking Toward Home says
“Expectations are premeditated resentments” Wow, Angie. That brought a lot of things into focus for me!! Friendships that have been abandoned… because I wasn’t what they expected, Ministry that was in a sense “abandoned” because I stood against what “they” expected. They chose to resent me because they finally saw that I wasn’t the “perfection” they EXPECTED.
As for this chapter, it affirmed a perspective I have now. Having lived in a country where people live with next to nothing, dirt floors and bamboo huts… what right have I to complain about the home God has given us to live in here? The “entitlement” attitude that I fight against daily … the fight is a tad easier when I am reminded that I really am blessed more than I deserve. Because when it all comes right down to it … I deserve nothing. … but hiking in God’s grace … Oh, the gifts He showers us with!!
all shall be well says
Hmm, that is an interesting quetion, what I am entitled to…….. I am praying about that. I have noticed, as I have been counting the gifts I already have, that have been all around me and I did not notice, that I concentrate alot on what I think I do not have, and what I would want in my life, so maybe the entitlements have been disguising themselves as wants, or even needs………
Seed: “The joy of small that makes life large.”
“Expectations kill relationships.” (I heard that from 3 or 4 different sources this week!)
Water and bloom: David lament versus Israelite complaint. Wow. that really explains a lot to me AND about me, and frees up a whole new level of communication with God.
Blessings to you all,
Because I struggled with trauma in childhood, I have lived a life of perfectionism and legalism, for self protection and preservation, with little room to receive or give grace.
My hands have been held tightly, afraid to trust, afraid to let go, and afraid to experience the joy of being out of control and really letting God be in control.
My clinched fists are harmful to my family. I don’t want to pass this cycle or theology of fear and legalism onto my kids and their families.
Counting gifts, especially of my children, is opening my hands and heart to receive God’s grace and joy and pass that grace along to my family and others.
I have a whole blog post about the Attitude of Entitlement-http://budurl.com/Entitle.
So blessed by the bloom book club! Thanks guys!
I love this chapter because it is someting I struggle with ALL of the TIME! I only have half as many children as Ann (and also live in a multi-generational household) but feel myself react the same way every moment that I hear complaining, whining, tattling or anything remotely negative. I was just thinking this past week before I even got to this chapter…that lots of times, for me, the hardest eucharisteo is the days that are just frustrating! Days that I’m tired, worn out…those off days where nothing goes right. Days that I’m irritable and clumsy. Those are the days that I find the most difficult to call myself back to eucharisteo. Give Thanks. Find my peace. This chapter was key in all of that!! I will have to go back and reread it like Angie said. This is something I wish I could just have transferred to a transparency and held up in front of my face every moment of the day! If I can get a grasp on this and see everything through this lens….it would be so much more helpful! lol I’m so thankful for God teaching us these things and for a place where we can share our thoughts on what we’re learning! Sooooo good!! <3
Jeanne Damoff says
Thank you, again, ladies. Always so very good.
I love the way Ann shares in the book how God reveals these wonderful layers of truth and then she finds writings by other believers who’ve discovered the exact same things. I find this happening all the time as I read. She takes truths God has taught — things I’ve even written and spoken about — and sets them to the soul awakening music of her beautiful words, making them live. Reading this book is like kneeling before the mysteries and receiving a benediction and confirmation all in one. What a gift.
Okay, a few scattered observations:
1. I think we have the entitlement thing all backwards. If we believe scripture, we deserve only one thing: eternal separation from a Holy God. And yet, He offers us salvation, lavishes us with grace, and surrounds us with unspeakable delights and breathtaking beauty. How can we ever shake our fists at Him and demand more? Of course, I still do it. Like you said, it’s one thing to know the truth and another to put skin on the knowledge.
2. This chapter reminds me of the water song from Hind’s Feet on High Place:
Come, oh come, let us away—lower, lower every day
Oh, what joy it is to race, to find the lowest place
This the dearest law we know—“It is happy to go low.”
Sweetest urge and sweetest will, “Let’s go down lower still.”
Hear the summons night and day, calling us to come away.
From the heights we leap and flow, to the valleys down below.
Always answering to the call, to the lowest place of all.
Sweetest urge and sweetest pain, to go low and rise again.
The water always goes low. So good to remember.
And 3. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before in a previous comment. I may have, because it’s one of my favorite quotes. I think it applies to this chapter and also to the happy climb of One Thousand Gifts up the NY Times best sellers list. (Oh, how I love to think of what that means! This message spreading far and wide. And all the while Ann reaching lower and lower for God’s best. His ways. Pure delight!) So, yes. The quote. In Perelandra, after Ransom had been sent by Maleldil (God) and rescued the planet from its own version of The Fall, he stands before the angelic powers, not sure how he’s supposed to respond to a success of such scope and magnitude. And the angel says, “Be comforted, small one, in your smallness. He lays no merit on you. Receive and be glad.”
Only a small one would understand the joy of simply receiving, palms up, with all the glory going to Him. Praying for you, Ann, as you continue to go low. Receive and be glad.
Jeanne Damoff says
P.S. Perelandra is by C.S. Lewis.
Jeanne, I’ve been sharing some of Ann’s book with my husband and last night I asked him to watch the video for chap. 9 with me. When it was done he was so taken by the image of reaching lower for the greatest gifts. I told him it reminded me of the water song from “Hinds Feet…”, a book I reread at least twice each year. What a joy to share that with you!
Jeanne Damoff says
Fun! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Ann S. says
I too love the water song in Hinds Feet on High Places and come to think of it, its all about giving up ones expectations and just trusting the Good Shepherd to take care of you and love you May the river of joy flow out of each of us!
Jeanne Damoff says
Kiersten Johnson says
The one quote that has hit me the most is in this chapter. “In Mary’s humility-her willingness to die to her expectations and plans-God exalts her. In her submissiveness to His will, He fills her emptiness with fullness of Himself.”
My grandmother suffered with her expectations being shattered. Her whole married life she was looking forward to traveling with her husband during retirement. What she didn’t realize was that God had other plans for my family. For 20 years we watched as my grandfather slowly lost all ability to care for himself. We had to see the suffering and pain not only of my grandfather becoming ill but of my grandmothers expectations being shattered. The last five years of his life he had dementia. The last two years of his life my father, mother, brother and I had to take him away from his wife. We had to care for his every need. Oh how my expectations had been shattered. I expected to go through school and start my life. But instead they were stopped when God called me to care for my grandfather. Last year on Easter morning my grandfather went to be with our heavenly Father. It hurt and still hurts remembering all the pain and suffering my grandmother went through. She went through pain because of expectations.
We all have expectations in life. I have learned that expectations hurt us more than help us. I try every day not to have expectations because of not only watching my grandmother suffer but suffering myself when expectations were not meet. I challenge each one of us to stop having expectations and let God plan according to his will.
Thank you Ann, Jess and Ang for your willingness to provide a book club for those of us who need community but can’t find it in our own community. You have helped me tremendously live my life with less pain than before.
a salutary challenge, which i commit to do my best to meet…i’m so sorry about all the things you and your family have been through–they would be cruelly hard to bear for anyone, whatever expectations they did or didn’t have–and i pray that
God will bless you with less pain, and more joy!
Ann, Angie and Jessica, I give thanks for you doing these videos.
The humility is so transparent on the screen and it helps reinforce
my head..to heart ….to hand learning.
Several years ago I felt led to always pray at the church prayer
rail with palms open (after celebrating Communion). My heart
heard…..hands open, to release your burdens and once emptied….
hands open to receive the offered gifts. It was a big deal for me….
I like to “blend in” with the tightly clasped, praying hands group
at the rail. But I heard, listened, and always obey ….I kneel at the
rail always palms up. Now I understand a little more from your
When my sons were small I had a visitor roll a toy car back and forth across a table to them and experienced that same wonder, and joy that Ann writes about on p166. I have started my gratitude journal and will continue to record the many graces that happen daily. I agree with Angie’s comment about how this chapter is one to refer back to. I know that when I expect anything that I am setting myself up for failure. This book is allowing me to refocus, but it is also reinforcing many of my beliefs that I have simply lost, or let go of with trying to control things around me. Living with “palms open” makes us vulnerable, but challenges us to be humble. It is going to give me the opportunity to be “small” once again and be awed by simple everyday wonders. Thank you ladies for living (in) courage.
I thought my first non-stop reading of this book altered me in January, and it did. But re-reading slowly with the group, each chapter 2 times, is taking it off the page and out of my head into my life. It is bringing me more clarity, joy and peace than I could have imagined. Ann said “Thy will be done” to write this book and now we have the opportunity to do the same; can we even imagine what God is doing with this? What amazing grace!
From the time I was little, I believed in happily ever after. My home life was terrible, but I knew that Jesus loved me. If Jesus loved me, He wouldn’t let anything bad happen to me. Somehow that thought took root in my heart and became my expectation. I loved Jesus, I tried to do what was right, and I expected Him to keep me safe and happy. When life took a turn away from that direction, in a most painful, heart-wrenching way, I was lost. Did this mean Jesus didn’t love me? Was I not His chosen child, precious and dearly loved? If so, then why didn’t He do what He was supposed to do?
It has been two years since my expectation was shattered. Two years that have brought me much pain, but also much joy. I have learned more about my Lord than I ever thought I would. The relationship we have now is so much deeper than it was when I was caught up in my unrealistic expectations. I now know that Jesus does love me, but that’s not a guarantee of a life free of pain. It’s a guarantee of His presence walking with me through the pain.
For me, the sense of entitlement can creep up anywhere. Anywhere I get my eyes off Him and onto self and circumstance. I am comforted to know He desires great things for all of us, but I am learning to trust in His perfect will.
Seed: To see what is full
Water: To receive humility and take joy
Growth: To know me as He does . . . “Thy will be done.”
another very helpful video! like so many of the “commenters”, i was struck by the remarks about how bad it is to think that we have entitlements to/ legitimate expectations of getting this or that good thing. i completely agree that these sorts of expectations lead to resentment when things go wrong, and we don’t get what we took ourselves to be entitled to. But i think that the expectations cause trouble even when things don’t go wrong: we appreciate the goods we do get less (take them for granted more) if, rather than regarding them as pure gift, we think of them as our due So the expectations are like a spectacularly unsuccessful anesthetic: they increase, rather than dull the pain, when things go wrong (because it’s especially galling to not get what was our due), and they dull rather than enhance the joy when things go right (because the wonderful thing we’re getting is only what we’re entitled to). So, to use Ann’s example, we chronically underappreciate water, because everybody in the first world is entitled to expect having all the water we need whenever we need it. Talk about a lose-lose situation!
so, although i find it very difficult to give up “expectations”, if i just saw more clearly, i’d see that i’d be better off without them. And there are lots of other “ungoods” that fit this pattern, aren’t there? as Ann discusses, it can be desperately hard not to stress about the future, tho’ Scripture tells us that we’ll be much better off if we consider the evils of the day sufficient unto it. it can be desperately hard not to hold grudges, tho’ we’d be so much better off letting go of the grudge and freely and fully forgiving. In all these cases, to paraphrase something i think marxists used to say, “we have nothing to lose but our chains”, and I think it’s very important for us to strive for, and pray for, an ever clearer vision of our chains as chains.
thanks again to Ann and Angie and Jessica for the videos–i’m not looking forwarding to their being over!
As in Jeanne Damoff’s comment, I had just yesterday read the water song from Hind’s Feet on High Places. I love the way the Lord words and re-words His message to us, to be gently sure we get it. Thank you ladies, for your transparency and your vulnerability so that all of us may benefit. The Lord bless you.
My list is at #178, and already the perspective is changing to hope and more joy. Thank you, the peace is contagious.
I love this book club! Thanks Jess, Ang & Ann!
crazymom in cali says
Exactly what I needed at this very moment….thank you for sharing what God has given you….
December Rose says
“It’s the vantage point.” (pg 164) “Eucahristeo makes the knees the vantage point of a life.” (pg 168)
It is in the “low” places that I feel closest to God. This book is challenging me to look at my life from a different vantage point… living small to be awed by God’s bigness. Allow me to see from the “low eyes” of my heart; speak through the “low mouth” of open hands; lift up with “low” knees… “the joy of small that makes life large.”
Wow! Each chapter just peels back another layer. I am stunned or “surprised” at all God is teaching me with each chapter. I really need to let this one sink in. I am excited at how my life can change by viewing everything that I receive as a gift–better than what I really deserve. And then to find Jesus in it. To find how He meets me in the most menial, repetitive task.
Oh, but I struggle. Since early childhood and old Disney movies, I have expected princes, happy endings, and life filled with music. I am the queen of hopes dashed. I am learning to change my perspective and my expectations and not be surprised by sin, but surprised by joy.
What about our expectations for our children? What about the nitty-gritty expectations for our children in the daily chores, schoolwork, etc… How do we respond when they fail to meet them? I know what not to do–lash out in anger, but how do I respond in grace? Isn’t grace sometimes firm? I don’t have a language of grace. It does not come easy to the flesh. I don’t have any examples of responding in grace to fall back on and learn from. I’d love to hear from you all.
Thanks for this videos!! They really help in digesting the wonderful information and life lessons of Ann’s book!
Does our Omniscient God want humility so badly for us because it is best for us? Isn’t there more expansive joy in “smaller” souls? Giving thanks for even the smallest of things opens the eyes wider to see a Great Big God. He wows and I realize that He graces me with lavish gifts of such love—right down to the smallest detail. And when I surrender my life to obey Him in love, knowing it pleases Him, oh the inexplicable joy!
Thanks for the perspective that lower is better! For reminding that He is enough and ultimate grace and all else is to be received with open palms as gift .
Elizabeth Mattson says
Important for me to learn the difference between lamenting and complaining. (p175)
Important for me to recognize the feeling of joy begins in the action of thanksgiving. (p176)
Important that I believe a sense of entitlement – expectations- is what inflates self, detonates anger, offends God, extinguishes joy. (p178)
Important for me to humble myself, follow Christ to the table, give thanks for what is given – this is joy! (p179)
Feeling sad this is almost over, until I realize that it is only over in this way, eucharisteo is never over. Thanks be to God!
A few years ago I was in the beginning of ” The Empty Nest” and at times it felt unbearable…like a part of me — who I was — was being ripped from the core of my being….I prayed ” Lord, please give me something to hold onto.” And what He gave was Words that I could hold onto— ” Giving Birth… Life / LETTING GO / Trusting God “.So the journey continues now in new ways of learning to let go of roles, expectations, entitlements and trusting God ….And I love the picture of Open Hands/ clenched fists.When I get tense, stressed I feel my body tighten up and will use this as a reminder To Let Go !!!! To let go of the struggle of What I Want and invite Him in with Thanksgiving…… Yes this will take practice !!!!
The words that struck me to the core in this chapter:
“Only self can kill joy.”
“I’m the one doing this to me.”
“The moment the hand is clenched tight, fingers all pointing toward self and rights and demands, joy is snuffed out.”
As Ann so beautifully put it, I’ve been trying so hard to protect my joy that I’ve snuffed it out. I’ve realized that I’ve had a sense of entitlement to a life lived without trials or hardships, and in being fearful and trying to anticipate “what’s around the corner,” I’ve suffocated joy and offended God, rather than live life with an open hand, remembering that “God is always good and I am always loved.”
Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace says
One of my favorite parts of this chapter was the truth about expectations. Expectations bring all sorts of trouble, whenever they creep up. Loved this: “Instead of filling with expectations, the joy-filled expect nothing – and are filled.”
So incredibly, profoundly true and freeing. Something miraculous has been happening as I read this book…and count my gifts…graces filling the pages of my journal, and focusing my mind on God in every moment, in every gift….all of it leaving me “surprised by joy”.
It truly is in the bringing low…in the dying…in the sweet surrender… where joy and freedom are born.
I blogged about some of my own revelations on this journey here:
1000G: Chapter 9 « Purple Moose Tracks says
[…] don’t know why I do this to myself! I read the chapter and watched the video but didn’t have time to write up my thoughts that day, so I put it off for a […]
purple moose says
I guess the key is to take all of life as a surprise. If we expect nothing, everything is a surprise!!
And can I get to the place where I can thank the LORD for ALL He gives, even the yucky stuff? I don’t think I deserve the yucky stuff, really. But a very wise man said (Job 2:10) “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Gulp.
one thousand gifts: ch 9 « doing a new thing says
[…] Chapter 9 […]