One Thousand Sour Grapes

The Cover of One Thousand Gifts

You can’t get far in Christian circles, especially as a woman, without hearing about Ann Voskamp and her best-selling book One Thousand Gifts. As with most snarky people who criticize things out of jealousy, I have not read this book. I only have read excerpts. I knew right away it wasn’t for me. It is oozing with the kind of perfectionism that I have to run from like an alcoholic from a bar. I can get so caught up in trying to act perfectly and think perfectly and parent perfectly that I forget what else I’m strung out on…grace. The great grace that allows me to fail and get back up. The grace that gives me unconditional love even when I’m a tad jealous of a best-selling writer. I have to stay away from this type of self-help book or it can easily turn into Martha Stewart for my mind. That doesn’t mean I can’t have fun dreaming of how I would have written the book.

  • One Thousand Fits – as a mom of six, I’m pretty sure I could write this one and have it published by Christmas.
  • One Thousand Guilts – again, I’m the mother of six.
  • One Thousand Quilts – a book about all the quilts I have sewn, in my spacious sewing room, in my dreams.
  • One Thousand Jilts – a dating book
  • One Thousand Kilts – a very niche book about tartans and plaids. Ok, I’m clearly losing the rhyme.
  • One Thousand Sniffs – a book about crying at the hairdresser. I’m the leading expert in the field.
  • One Thousand Tiffs – a book about girlfriends or the holidays or the workplace? So many ways to go with that one.
  • One Thousand Shifts – a book about how I will have to get a “real job” working at a
    The Cover of One Thousand  Shifts

    Starbucks when the kids are grown.

  • One Thousand Whiffs – a book about how to win at the what’s-that-smell game mothers  have to play so often.
  • One Thousand Sifts – a cookbook to drain every last merchandising dollar from the other books.

To be clear, I’m not making fun of Voskamp or her very personal and successful book. I’m making fun of myself as a woman and a writer. I would love to have something out there that is as beloved as her book. I would love to be looked to as an authority on motherhood or marriage or anything really. It is hard for me to stick to being me, when I see that what appeals to people is so far from what I am. God has called me to be this woman I am now and to continue to grow towards what He has called me to. If that is a book that inspires Sara Groves to write a song (like Voskamp’s) then great. If I never write one thousand pages, then so be it. I  pray that I will be content to be whatever He has planned for me because it is the only perfection I will ever attain, by His grace.

5 thoughts on “One Thousand Sour Grapes

  1. Again to paraphrase (cause I can’t exactly remember the quote) Elizabeth Elliott, a jellyfish finds success in being exactly what God made it to be, a jellyfish. I struggle with perfectionism every day. A close friend reminds me often that I was not called to be the Apostle Paul, or grow all my own food and thereby avoid all additives, or have a spotless home, or graduate two National Merit Scholars from my homeschool, or whatever legalistic/perfectionist avenue I have decided to torture myself with today. Just sitting and playing with my kids is wonderful. I love that you write from a “real” perspective, and while you inspire me to be a better mom, you don’t present high and lofty ideals that I will never live up to. That’s one thing I like about your blog! Maybe one day we will beat the mommy guilt, it is indeed crushing. I jokingly told another friend, while she was pregnant with her first child, that there would be days when she felt like calling DSS and telling them “Come get my child, I am a horrible mother!” She gave me a perplexed look then, but told me the other day (her son is 3 now) that she totally gets it. I just ask God to fill in where I fall short. So glad His grace is sufficient.

  2. I love this post … I hear your heart for sure. “It is hard for me to stick to being me.” Yesssss.

    I think we all have our own “successful book I haven’t read but am jealous of” – personally, I am jealous of people’s homes that are kept in Martha Stewart-like condition … it has been such an overwhelming issue of my heart that it’s kept me from going over to their houses when invited. … the “why can’t I have that” can be crippling. And actually, it was because of that ungratefulness in my heart that I picked up One Thousand Gifts. Bitterness has seemed like a family trait – and I don’t want to pass it on!

    This is definitely not a call to action – I don’t expect anyone to rush out and read ANY book that “everyone” is reading and/or singing about. But I hope this is an encouragement – to be you. Be the best you. Be the most “at peace” you. I think that’s the biggest struggle I have. Just being me. Being at peace with myself.

    Blessings to you and your 6!

    • Thanks for the words of solidarity and encouragement. I might blog more on that sentence you quoted later. It is a big thought that needs exploring.


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