Introducing the Everything is Gift Spiritual Discipline Campaign!

Have you ever wanted to do the same spiritual discipline with many other people around the world at the same time? Here’s your chance! Introducing…Everything is Gift. If you’d like to participate, tell me in a comment below. If you’d like more information first, read on.

The Guidelines

  1. This spiritual discipline begins on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28) and ends on Christmas Day (Dec. 25). Christmas Day is part of this discipline, so keep following the guidelines until the day ends!

    gift box

    Photo by SalFalko. Used in accordance with Creative Commons.

  2. For the duration of this discipline, you are not allowed to say or otherwise use the following phrases:
    • Have to
    • Must
    • Need to
    • Should
    • Ought to
    • Anything that’s essentially related to the above phrases
  3. Instead of the above phrases, you are to substitute the phrase “get to”.
  4. There is absolutely no cost or obligation involved. You’re doing this because you want to.

To give you some examples:

  • “I have to take out the trash” is now “I get to take out the trash.”
  • Your “to-do” list is now your “get-to-do” list.
  • “I need to buy presents for my family” is now “I get to buy presents for my family.”

Why Am I Doing This?

This discipline arose out of my own experience. I noticed that I would frequently become overwhelmed by the amount of tasks on my plate. As I entered into that overwhelmed feeling, I found myself treating every task like a burden. And the busier I got, the more burdened I felt. Everything felt like obligation, like duty, like responsibility. Nothing felt like joy.

So I thought, how can I restore joy to my life? What came to me what the understanding that everything in my life is a gift from God. Whether the life-giving projects I work on, the various people I encounter, the house chores, or the tough situations, everything is a gift. It’s not always a gift I want, but it’s freely given by God for my good. So I can take joy in receiving every situation and task as a gift from Him.

From there, I thought, how can I turn this understanding that everything is a gift into concrete experience? And I thought about the way I use language, the way I speak about my tasks. If I change the way I talk to better reflect the truth of God, then I make that truth more real in my experience. Hence the guidelines above.

Why during the Christmas season? First, the theme fits. So many of us think about gifts during Christmas, so it’s a natural connection. And second, it’s very easy for this season to turn from enjoyment to burden. How many of us feel overwhelmed at one time or another by the shopping for gifts, the organization of family gatherings, the house cleaning, the shopping and cleaning, and the Christmas card writing? By making this tweak in our language during this season, we stand a better chance of retaining the joy that God intends and that we desire.

How Will I Help You?

I will support you in doing this discipline in two ways:

  1. In lieu of my regular blog posts, I will be posting my reflections about doing this discipline. So on Mondays and Thursdays, you’ll hear about my experience doing it, and you’ll have opportunities to comment about your own.
  2. I will be producing an e-book with daily reflections for each day of this campaign. It will be available for download before Thanksgiving Day. If you want it, simply sign up for my mailing list at the top right corner, and I’ll e-mail you a link when it’s ready. If you’re already on my mailing list, you’ll automatically receive a link to download the book when it’s available.

So there you have it! I hope you’ll join me in changing your language so that you experience more of God’s gifts this Christmas season!

If you want to participate, leave me a comment below and let me know. Also, I’d love for you to invite your friends to join!

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Continue the conversation here! Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Malisa

    It’s easy to rob ourselves of joy. I want to try this!

    • andrewcyee

      Yes, it totally is. Let’s push against that.

  • Susan P Johnson

    I’m in. This sounds like a great discipline for me during the holidays. A discipline I get to do! Thank you, Andrew!

    • andrewcyee

      You’re welcome, Sue!