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Be a ‘Happy to Do It’ Christian

15 Jul

Ever ponder some of these serious questions in life?

  • If a man speaks in the forest and there’s no woman to hear him, is he still wrong?
  • If a parsley farmer is sued, do they garnish his wages?
  • Do fish get cramps after eating?
  • What do little birdies see when they get knocked unconscious?
  • If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

OK… those aren’t so serious. But one of the questions Randy Draper asks in his book,* Happy to Do It: Get Your ‘Snap’ On! IS serious … a basic attitude check.

He asks, “Will you have an attitude of service today, or will this day be an ‘all about me’ day?”

“Every day, either consciously or otherwise, each of us is faced with the opportunity to either be ‘Happy to Do It’ or ‘Hacked to Do It,'” Draper wrote.

The spirit of living sacrificially for others, he said, can be summed up in four simple words ~ Happy to do it! ~ and it’s a perspective that can be developed. We can condition ourselves to have a serving “Happy to do it” attitude as simply as developing an attitude of gratitude or forgiving others. It’s all about making the serving choice and conditioning ourselves to have a new habit.

Draper says he likes to snap his fingers when he says “Happy to do it” to someone’s request, “because it mentally ‘snaps’ me into this conditioned mindset.”

“Not only will you serve with gladness,” he said, “but soon you’ll also get to the point where you don’t’ even realize you’re doing it! What’s more, you’ll actually begin to look for opportunities to live out Christ before others.”

Attitudes shape us, and this kind of serving with joy attitude wells up from within, not dependent upon circumstances or how others respond. “Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever your circumstances ~ attitude is everything,” Draper said. He echoes the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:4 and 11-14, and again in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

“This rejoicing mindset has got to be the default, not the attitude of convenience,” Draper said.

Scriptures like these challenge us to stay positive when it’s easier to enjoy a pity party or when we’re asked to do the tough stuff … to serve when it’s unpleasant or hard. And they remind us to trust God and be thankful in all circumstances ~ a sure cure for worry.

“Think of these three attitudes ~ the ‘rejoice regardless’ attitude the worry-free attitude, and the attitude of service ~ as a kind of trifecta of living like the Lord, Draper says. “Don’t expect to wake up tomorrow and have them all mastered. It’s a day-by-day thing, kind of like exercise…. Keep your eyes on the Lord and your heart before God and the attitudes will come in their right time.”

I have to admit that sometimes I don’t serve with a happy face. And an unhappy face comes from an unhappy heart that hasn’t fully learned to be content and joyful in service. Maybe I need to “snap” to it! How about you?

Do you struggle with a “Happy to Do It!” serving attitude? How have you learned to serve with joy?

* quotations from Randy Draper, Happy to Do It: Get Your ‘Snap’ On! (HeartSpring Media, 2012)

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Embracing ‘Gain’ and “Got”

22 Jan

Good humor can help to put us in a cheerful mood ~ especially when there is an unexpected punchline. Ponder these humorous sayings:

  • He who laughs last … thinks slowest.
  • When everything’s coming your way … you’re in the wrong lane and going the wrong way!
  • For every action, there is an equal and opposite … criticism.
  • Love is blind … but marriage is a real eye-opener.
  • A day without sunshine is like … night.
  • Save the whales … collect the whole set.
  • Half the people you know … are below average.
  • If at first you don’t succeed … destroy all evidence that you tried.

Speaking of unexpected, the new Special K cereal dieting commercial grabbed my attention, because it is so contrary to the norm. The ad shows women stepping on scales to begin a dieting challenge, only to be met with motivating words, not incriminating numbers.

“What if we stopped focusing on what we want to lose and started focusing on what we want to gain?” the commercial asks.

I’m not going to debate whether the Special K challenge is a good idea or not ~ whether the diet plan is good nutrition and with sufficient calories ~ but I have to admit that their catchy question made me evaluate my attitudes.

So much of my life I focused on the negative … trying not to be bad, trying not to fail, trying not to disappoint, etc. A few years ago, I turned that all around by making some proactive, intentional choices to embrace what is good, life-building, and healthy. That’s what the Lord intended for us, I think. A positive, biblical focus.

Don’t get me wrong.

There certainly must be times to examine our hearts for sin (Lamentations 3:40) and to confess sin (1 John 1:9), and there is the continual “putting off” of  some sinful attitudes and behaviors as we “put on” the opposite righteous attitudes and behaviors (Ephesians4:22-24).

But does our Father in heaven want us to get bogged down in incriminating thoughts, focusing on how bad we are ~ and the truth is, there is no good thing within us without Christ (Romans 7:18; Galatians 5:17) ~ or does He want us to rise up in victory and embrace who we are in Christ and our eternal gain in Him?

A few years ago, when I began to concentrate on God’s grace and goodness in redeeming me, I was far more motivated to live for Him in humble gratitude than when I was forever digging about in my heart for some hidden sin.

I decided to ask my loving Father to reveal my heart in His own time and way (Proverbs 16:2; Psalm 26:2-3). He has been faithful to do that. Sometimes there are periodic times of heart-searching in a “revival week” experience, but I’ve found that when I stay in the Word and open to God ~ asking the Holy Spirit to teach me ~ God uses the Word of God and the everyday experiences of life to rub off the rough, sinful, foolish edges of my life.

The truth is, the Special K ad actually stops short.

Rather than even focusing on what I want to gain, how much better to consider what I’ve already got ~ how blessed I already am ~ because of my relationship with God in Christ.

Rather than focusing on my fear, I focus on courage and the strength He gives. Rather than focusing on my tendency to stress out and worry, I focus on the Sovereign God who is always in control. Rather than focus on what I believe I don’t have (which leads to a spirit of discontent), I focus on the abundant life God has promised to me.

How about you? Are you focusing on what you want to gain in life… or better yet, what you’ve already got?

You Are Now Leaving Whine Country

13 Aug

Our friend Judy Scharfenberg is a woman who loves to dig into the Word, but she also has a sharp wit, and apparently, her grandson has inherited it, too.  Judy is our guest blogger today … and she begins with some LOL humor!

I was telling my daughter Jennifer about the beautiful drive through wine country in our city Connor Questionof Temecula.

Seven-year-old Connor was sitting nearby.  He looked up and asked, “Is that where people go to complain?”

We laughed and I said, “Isn’t he the cutest thing.”

Later, I thought about Connor’s remark.  What if there was a place we could go to complain; not just a customer service desk or an 800-number, but a whole country where people walk around, sour looks on their faces, moaning and groaning to their heart’s content.

How long would they stay?  Would they want to leave?  How would they get out?

Wait a minute!  I think I’ve seen that sour look.  I’ve heard that moaning and groaning.  It’s been me!  Maybe I haven’t been verbal about it, but sometimes that complaining has taken place in my heart:

  •  “I wish I could go to Hawaii.”
  • “Why can’t I be like her?”
  • “If I had more money, everything would be better.”
  • “My life is full of hard work. “
  • “When do I get a break?”
  • “He just doesn’t understand me?

For years I cared for my Grandma Jay.  My six children were younger and five were still at home, my husband worked hard to provide for us and, like many families, we went from paycheck to paycheck.  Grandma lived with us until she needed more care and we had to move her to a care facility. 

I would visit two or three times a week, pick up her laundry, bring her home on Sundays for family dinners and make sure she got her hair done.  While I was visiting I would straighten her room.  Grandma had a habit of putting food in her bedside table and it was a mess.  She had given everything up and this was one way of keeping her independence, making choices, but I didn’t see that.  All I saw was “stuff” that needed to be done.  Well, Grandma didn’t like me straightening up; she did, “Just fine, thank you very much.”

One day she couldn’t take it anymore.  Her little 98-pound frame trembled with all of the anger she could muster, and she said, Continue reading

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