Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Call Me Pollyanna ...

By Andrea Grigg

Image from freedigitalphotos.net
Credit: stockimages


I know not everyone will get the title but a lot of you will!

We had a family stay with us over New Year. I can’t remember how we got onto the subject, but it ended up with one of their teenage daughters telling me her last year’s Gratitude Challenge. Every day, she posted a photo on Instagram of something she was grateful for. Yep, that meant finding 365 things to be thankful for, and she did it.



The idea really appealed to me so I thought I’d give it a go. Some of you will have seen my efforts on Instagram itself, as well as on my personal Facebook page and Twitter. (Instagram has an option for you to set up your posts to go live on these platforms simultaneously.) By the time you read this, I will be up to Day 69.

It’s been harder than I thought. Not because I can’t find something to be grateful for, but because it’s not always easy to put a concept into a photograph! I’ve put up some funny ones, (Days 26 and 33) some environmental ones, (Days 28 and 36) and some quite personal ones (Days 5 and 45).

Overall though, the exercise is cementing something inside me, something which sounds obvious and simple but is actually quite profound.

In the Bible, there’s a verse I’ve always liked but it’s really hitting home for me now: “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:18

 (Interesting to note that being thankful is an aspect of God’s will for our lives.)

I have so much to be thankful for:  My husband, my family, where I live, the fact I don’t have to worry where my next meal is coming from … the list is very, very long. And committing to this Gratitude Challenge has emphasised it.

Does this Challenge relate to my writing? It sure does.

Image from freedigitalphotos.net
credit: Stuart Miles
I’ve had a difficult eighteen months creatively speaking, with lots of roadblocks and obstacles – both mental and circumstantial – including the dreaded writers’ block. But I’ve learned something. So much of my problems are simply First World problems. And when I focus on what I do have rather than what I don’t, including in my writing life, it makes all the difference.

Even though I’m writing again, I still have my frustrations. And when they come, I choose to be thankful for the good stuff; for the books I’ve already written, for the lovely comments and encouragement I’ve been given, for the way the writing journey has shaped my life.

The Gratitude Challenge has taught me that even in the midst of uncertainty and self-doubt, I can choose to practise thankfulness and that leads to something very valuable.

Contentment.

In this crazy, messy, dysfunctional world of ours, I’m content. I have a lot to be thankful for. Absolutely loads. And when I’m grateful, even for the smallest thing, it takes the focus off myself, lifts my spirit, and strengthens my relationship with God. Just like that.

Image from freedigitalphotos.net
Credit: David Castillo Domenici

So if you like the sound of the Gratitude Challenge, come on over to Instagram and take a look for yourself.  You can find me there under my normal name, Andrea Grigg. (You’d be amazed at some of the names you find people under!)

I’d be very ‘grateful’ if you took a look J








Andrea Grigg is the author of two contemporary Christian romances, A Simple Mistake and Too Pretty. She loves hearing from readers and writers alike, and can be contacted via Twitterher Facebook author page, and via email - andreagrigg@live.com


8 comments:

  1. Hi Andrea, I've been enjoying your Gratitude posts. I did Ann Voskamps 1000 Gifts gratitude listing a few years back in a journal which opened my eyes to the power of being thankful. It keeps us humble and gives perspective to our place with God. Yes, He loves us madly but He is our creator.

    I'm continually blown away by the fact that God chose to have me born and live in one of the best cities in the world with all the incredible blessings He bestows on us.

    I only read this morning Ps 68:19 - "Blessed is the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits"

    He daily … loads us … with benefits. I'm just gobsmacked.

    I went through a similar black hole in my writing in the past couple of years but experienced so much through it even though the season wasn't very enjoyable. Keep writing, Andrea. Keep believing. Keep leaning into Him.

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  2. Thanks for this, Andrea. I've been enjoying your Instagram pics too, and the daily reminder that we are blessed, so blessed, in so many ways.

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    1. Thanks for that Carolyn. It's a great challenge and I'm stoked you're enjoying my photos :)

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  3. Thank you for your encouraging words Ian. And 'leaning in' is my personal buzz word this week :)

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  4. A great reminder, Andrea, to look around us in our lives and be thankful instead of complaining or feeling hard done by--so thank you. And I loved the reminder about Pollyanna too!

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  5. Love it! A great reminder to get my head out of 'feeling sorry for myself' land.

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  6. Andrea, lovely post. I see your Instagram pics in my feeds and they brighten my day, too. :)

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