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21-day-gratitude-challengeHave you been watching the news lately? Or spending any time on Facebook?

UGH! I know, right?

Although I have strong opinions, I am not going to go into a rant here. You’re welcome. Just promise me, one way or another, you will go vote on November 8th. Even if you don’t love either of the candidates, voting is a privilege and responsibility. Pick one. If you can’t decide, feel free to contact me and I will be happy to tell you which one you should choose. #NeverTrump

IN THE MEANTIME, how do we survive these next three weeks until election day? In this world full of cynical, angry, LOUD voices, how do we maintain our equilibrium and choose the joy, peace and love of Jesus instead?

I am not advocating a policy of disengagement or denial. Rose colored glasses are not the answer either. Our country is facing serious issues and we all need to get involved, get informed and get to the polls. Yet, if you are like me, you may be spending more time than you would care to admit getting pulled into an emotional tailspin by the deteriorating rhetoric of angry finger pointing. My blood pressure cannot survive another three weeks of this level of collective rage and despair.

This past Sunday, my pastor Tom began a new sermon series about gratitude, arguably one of my favorite topics. Choosing gratitude, without being too dramatic, has likely saved my life in many ways, so I am a big fan. At the end of the sermon, he invited us to take a 21 day gratitude challenge.

Every day, for the next 21 days, we agreed to intentionally and thoughtfully express appreciation to another human being. Whether in person, by email or with an old fashioned note of thanks, the challenge is to notice the loveliness of the human beings God has placed in our lives and TELL THEM about it!

Cynicism, pessimism and self-righteous anger, unfortunate by products of recent current events, don’t look good on me and frankly cramp my style. I much prefer the joy-filled Jesus girl aesthetic and I’m ready for some good news. Actively looking for opportunities and occasions to celebrate my fellow man (and woman) sounds like a much better way to spend the countdown to election day. Nothing cures my grumpiness more than gratitude, so I am all in. Challenge accepted!

My second favorite poet, Mary Oliver, says these profound words about noticing good in the world around us:

Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.

Isn’t that beautiful?

If you know anything about church calendars, you will know this sermon series and likely the Gratitude Challenge has been planned for months. Counting down 21 days as I sat in church on Sunday, I immediately noticed the parallel between the days left in the campaign. Isn’t it perfect? Do you think God knew we would need an attitude adjustment right about now? Isn’t it a much better, much BRAVER choice? I love the timing and so I decided to lay down the challenge to you TODAY- 21 days until election day.

Will you join me? Will you tell someone “Thank you, I appreciate you, you matter to me” EVERY DAY between now and election day? If so, tell me “I am in” in the comments below. And then come back and tell me about it. 

I dare you!

~~~

Here is the charge from our church FB page: “Gratitude Challenge: 21 Days of Thanks-Send thanks to someone every day for 21 days. It can be face-to-face, through email or in a letter. Make it personal and concrete, and do it once a day for 21 days. Share your results with us throughout the month. We can’t wait to see how your gratitude affects the world!”

Here is the sermon from Sunday, if you would like to hear the whole thing. It is one of my favorites of his and well worth your time.