The 1 Habit Your New Year Can’t Do Without: {Giveaway}

‘Anail is driven out by another nail;

habit is overcome by habit.” ~ Erasmus

It’s only the 4th day of the New Year, when this woman cups my face in her hands and draws me right close to just say it.

“It’s changed my life.”

I’ve been trying to shake it for days, as I set the table, read with the kids, watch the snow come down — shake these fear’s long forgotten that have been stalking me hard.

And she’s been trying to get it together for years. She’s had a few husbands. More than a few heart shatterings.

It’s like she’s shaking the hope of change right into me.









“The bottom line is…” She takes my shoulder and I can see how her wrinkled face lights up. “It’s brought me closer to God.

That’s what I want. Always closer to Him, the way He alone can ignite you, put all the broken pieces together, shake the enemy off. Isn’t that the habit the new year always needs?

I drive home from town and think she’s not the only one who’s found real, deep change and a younger woman had just told me the day before:

I’m 24 and have suffered with a chronic illness since I was 14. The past 10 years have been a roller coaster of physical and emotional pain as well as a struggle with questions, anger, and lack of faith in God. Through the years, there have been times I have been so mad at God and other times I’ve clung to Him for dear life.

About 5 months ago, I hit a really low point, struggling with a deep depression, hopelessness, and the urge to use prescription pain meds more than I knew was good for me.

That’s when… everything changed. I read your story and started my own gratitude list and my life hasn’t been the same since…

I thought the change might not last, like many other things that have inspired me for a few days or weeks.

Well, it’s been 5 months and I continue to record my blessings every day…. Whenever I’m feeling discouraged, I go… open my gratitude journal.”

Whether a grandmother or not a mother, that’s what changed them: Love. Keeping a list of His love. His Love is the only thing that changes any of us and living loved — wouldn’t this change everything?

The fears I’d been feeling, the overwhelmed and uncertain — Is every failure to experience joy because I made an excuse to not give thanks?

The radio host, she’d invited me early on the 3rd of January to join her and co-host in daring their listeners to Count 1000 Gifts in 2012 and I had said it, that I should do it with them too.

Taking up the dare all over again — the dare to slow down and wake up and receive all God gives for what it is — a gift. Take the the Joy Dare. Isn’t that what Aristotle said– “We are what we repeatedly do.”

Then Christianity isn’t an act — but our faith is expressed only in our habits.

A habit of not complaining, but the habit of giving thanks; the habit of not worrying, but a habit worshipping. The habit of repeatedly giving God praise that our lives might become a prayer. Small is always the leverage of large. It’s one moment after the other, the small moments that turn a life. It’s the small actions that can change a life.

It’s habits that can imprison you and it’s habits that can free you and when thanks to God becomes a habit, so joy in God becomes your life.

Maybe a life needs change over and over again — that constant turning to God? Not so much resolutions but revolutions.

And in this keeping habit of keeping a gratitude list?

1. Have a relative absence of stress and depression. (Woods et al., 2008)

2. Make progress towards important personal goals (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)

3. Report higher levels of determination and energy (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)

4. Feel closer in their relationships and desire to build stronger relationships (Algoe and Haidt, 2009)

5. Increase your happiness by 25%(Who wouldn’t want a quarter more happiness!) (McCullough et al., 2002)

Who doesn’t want all that?




So I write it down —

This crazy Joy Dare to do it all over again because I need it, to make this the habit before all the other habits — the joy habit — and count a full 1000 gifts in 2012. He deserves all my thanks and it’s impossible to give thanks and simultaneously feel fear. Woman with the soul amnesia — she keeps remembering and needing to remember again.

Just three gifts a day.

The whole earth is full of His glory.

And maybe I could make it crazier — by hunting, seeking, looking for specific gifts from His hand?

A Joy Dare to give all glory to Him? And share the joy?

onethousandgifts-januaryportrait {Download to print here}

A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.”

That is what Erasmus said.

When I read this, I am  surprised because I had never known and I am sad for all that would have changed if only I had.

I look down at the pen, this pen I keep wielding, one writing her way all the way to one thousand. This pen: this is nothing less than the driving of nails.

Nails driving out my habits of discontent and driving in my habit of thanks — eucharisteo. I’m hammering in nails to pound out nails, ugly nails that Satan has pierced through the world, my heart.

It starts to unfold, light in the dark, a door opening up, how all these years it’s been utterly pointless to try to wrench out the spikes of discontent. Because that habit of discontentment can only be driven out by hammering in one iron sharper.

The sleek pin of gratitude.” …. ~ {One Thousand Gifts}

So on the fifth day of a new year, I hunt with a fresh hunger, live koinonia, do eucharisteo, seek God, give thanks — againWe never cease working on the the habit of good food, good exercise, good time management. Why ever lessen the habit of our grateful thanks to a good God?

And I can sense it in the dark places that we never stop fighting: Focusing on intentional thanks — forces those fears to slink in the face of His Grace.

It’s like you can hear it in the woods.

Hear it across the fields and in the hand of every heart desperately seeking change — —

all these hammers ringing in a New Year and all this joy.

To Celebrate Joy Dare 2012: Giveaways
I only do a little something like this once a year, but wouldn’t sharing a bit of joy be a good way to start a New Year? So let’s crank open the rusty comment box and cheer each other on!
DSC_0039Picnik collage

And if you take the Joy Dare and count your own 1000 gifts in 2012 —

Might we enter your name at the end of 2012, when all the gifts are counted and much praise given to our God — enter you for a draw of the same model of camera that’s sitting here on our counter?A Nikon D90 {& 18-105 mm f/3.5-5.6G Zoom Lens included.} {To enter, thanks for all 1000 gifts must be counted in 2012. If you are already counting? Well, you’re ahead in practice, seeing, giving thanks in all things! Just keep going and count another 1000 from where you are right now! More details to followOpen our eyes, Lord — the whole earth is full of your glory!}

So a draw for the Nikon D90 when you live the dare!

And a little giveaway today to launch the JOY dare of 2012?

{You can head here to download & print the calendar of January’s Joy Dare. It’s on our fridge ~smile~

Want to share your gifts with the free app? We’re with you! Looking forward to your snapshots!}

To enter today to win:

a signed copy of One Thousand Gifts,
a turquoise nest pendant with necklace,
a bird-in-flight beaded bookmark
and your own journal

just wave in the comments box (yes, the comment box!)  — or leave a comment sharing today’s dare: January 5th: a grace found in something you’re reading, something you’re making and something you’ve seen today…

Reading via email or in a reader: click here to find the encouraging gathering in the comment boxy and leave your entry to the giveaway...

For another entry (or two):
Share that you’re doing The Joy Dare {Count 1000 Gifts in 2012} on facebook or on TwitterI dare you: Count #1000gifts in 2012. Who doesn’t take a dare to Joy? {the free camera would be bonus} #1KgiftsDareand then leave another comment for each share?
Entries for the giveaway package will remain open until Saturday 8 am EST. {Details to follow about camera giveaway}

Might we thank you for walking with us this past year?  Thank you for looking to Christ in all things. The moments have added up — and regardless of the road,  it’s been all grace.

A thousand, countless thank yous.

Taking the dare to FULLY live with you!