Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

But I Don’t Want to LOL!

10 Jun

I had to laugh when I read about a little girl who asked her mom for frozen stuff for Christmas — meaning from the movie Frozen.

She wasn’t too happy when she got a bag of frozen peas.

There are some days I’m not too happy either.

Life gets hard or I’m disappointed. Or I mess up for the umpteenth time.

I just don’t want to LOL.

I know the Bible tells me to give thanks and rejoice (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), but sometimes it’s just hard.

We must choose joy and gratitude as we walk in the spirit, because our fleshly desires sure don’t want to cooperate (Galatians 5:16).

When Pam Farrel and I co-authored the women’s devotional, LOL with God,* Pam included this wise and practical page titled, “10 things to Do When You Don’t Feel Like LOL.”

I want to reprint part of that page here — mostly because I need it today!

#1. Be Proactive. 

Do something you know you’ve enjoyed in the past that is healthy and good for you: a bubble bath, a walk on the beach, checking out a favorite book from the library, watching a favorite movie, reading a joke book or an online joke page (the clean ones only!).

#2. Be Relational.

Call a friend—or your mother! Make a connection with someone you love and who loves you: your husband, son, daughter, mom, dad, sister, brother, in-law, friend or mentor.

#3. Be Productive.

Work! Often, accomplishing something will help you feel better about yourself or life.

#4. Be Organized.

Spring cleaning or revamping a drawer or closet can be cathartic. A fresh start can come with fresh, clean surroundings. We know it’s hard to believe that cleaning house might make you feel better—but it can!

#5. Be Active.

Get off that couch and move! Exercise releases endorphins that will make you feel better after working out.

#6. Be a Model.

Do a personal makeover. Go to the mall and request a free makeover at the cosmetic counter of a department store, or invite a friend over and have her mix and match your wardrobe for some new looks.

#7. Be Relaxed.

Have a spa day (at a spa or at home). Give yourself a facial, a manicure, and/or a pedicure, or sit in a Jacuzzi. If you have funds, splurge for a massage at a spa or health club.

These practical suggestions can do wonders to lift your spirits, but the best suggestion ever for a “struggling to LOL” day is to allow THE Spirit to teach you joy.

Being filled (walking) with the Holy Spirit is the equivalent to allowing the Word of Christ—the Bible—to dwell in us richly (Colossians 3:16a); and the result will be gratitude, a singing and worshipful heart, and joy (Ephesians 5:18-20; Colossians 3:16b) as well as the “fruit” of the Spirit living and working in us (Galatians 5:22-23).

Struggling to LOL today? Which of these seven practical suggestions might help? Does the Spirit of God live in you? Consider how He might give you lasting joy.

– Dawn

* Note: LOL with God: Devotional Messages of Hope & Humor for Women by Pam Farrel and Dawn Wilson is no longer in print, but some are still available here.  The information included above is from p. 113 in that book.

  Graphic adapted, courtesy of Pixabay

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‘Bad Day’? It’s a Matter of Perspective.

24 Sep

I’m always surprised by how people define “bad day.” For many, a “bad day” is when:

  • You can’t find earrings at Charming Charlie’s to match your dress for caution-baddayinprogress_lolwithgod_dawnwilsona birthday party. (This almost never happens because that store is amazing!)
  • You break a fingernail, right after getting a professional manicure.
  • You can’t find a parking space a few paces away from Home Depot’s front door.
  • You discover someone ate the last chocolate chip cookie in the bag … which you carefully hid.

Really?

OK. This isn’t going to be an especially lighthearted post. But I thought about this topic after I got upset looking for that aforementioned parking space. God really spoke to my heart that day. Broke it, actually.

THESE are the kinds of real-life “bad day” issues that lead to REAL frustration or fear:

  • You can’t find your child at the mall for more than 60 minutes.
  • Your husband loses his job. Again.
  • Your cancer returns. With a vengeance.
  • Your home is burglarized, your house ransacked and you discover many treasures are missing.

And then there are “bad days” most of us will never have to face.

  • Total rejection: A woman who cannot find a job because no one in her village will hire a “Christ-follower.”
  • Horrific persecution: A pastor whose leg is broken during torture in Laos because he dared to preach the gospel.
  • Unspeakable pain: A mother who weeps because her daughter was raped because the family converted to Christianity.

A bad day is a matter of perspective, isn’t it?

There’s simply no comparison between the first group and the last.

We can view the circumstances in our lives in multiple ways, and how we view them affects how we feel and respond.

One of the best ways to view circumstances—especially the tough ones (because really, with the absurd ones we just need to grow up!)—is through the lenses of trust and gratitude.

Trust when you feel abandoned? Gratitude when a crisis comes?

Stay with me here ….

There is great power in trusting God; and there is great transformation in a thankful heart.

For the Christian, there may be many bad days, even awful-horrible days; but there is more to life than even these circumstances. In the midst of great upheaval and struggle:

  • We can trust the Lord when we are afraid, and be grateful that most of the things we most fear never even happen.
  • We can trust the Lord for what we don’t understand, with gratitude that He is never perplexed and always has a plan.
  • We can trust the Lord with an uncertain future, gratefully acknowledging He will be in our future as assuredly as He has in the past.
  • We can trust the Lord to care for us, grateful for His endless resources and loving supply.
  • And we can trust the Lord when life falls apart—when we suffer incredible loss or pain—still grateful He is sovereign and will yet accomplish His will in, for and through us.

Granted, this is easier said than done. But daily practice is good heart preparation.

When we practice trust and gratitude in the simple, everyday circumstances of our lives, these habits will strengthen us when the bigger challenges and unexpected trials come.

In wisdom, we exercise our trust and gratitude “muscles,” and God (because He cares about us) wants to help us with that. As Matthew Henry wrote,*

Christianity teaches men to be joyful under troubles: such exercises are sent from God’s love….”

Believe me. I am not taking on this topic lightly.

I love and pray for The Persecuted Church and have found both conviction and great strength in the stories of God’s struggling children around the world. These believers “count it all joy” when they face trials of various kinds (James 1:2-8). Many rejoice and even celebrate, knowing God is working and they will receive great reward for any sufferings they face (Matthew 5:12; Romans 5:3; James 1:12).

How can they do this? They’ve counted the cost of following Christ and partaking in HIS sufferings (Luke 14:25-33; 1 Peter 4:13-16). They’ve  found God’s grace sufficient and strengthening in their greatest times of need (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

When asked how we can pray for them, members of The Persecuted Church usually do not ask people to pray their burdens will be lightened, but rather that they will be wise to make good use of their afflictions—especially to be a strong witness to those who observe how they are suffering for Christ.

In cushy America, our concept of suffering for the Lord is so skewed. We’re constantly praying for “safety,” but not for opportunities to share Christ. Amy Carmichael wrote, “We must learn to pray far more for spiritual victory than for protection from battle wounds.”

So convicting. Especially when I lament over a broken fingernail or empty cookie bag.

It puts our petty “bad days” to shame, doesn’t it?

Are you having a bad day today? How might more trust in the Lord coupled with the practice of gratitude help your perspective … and ultimately, your responses?

 – Dawn

 * Matthew Henry, Commentary on James 1:1-22.

 

 

 

 

 

The Gratitude Tour

20 Nov

It’s hard to be grateful for some things. Ever burn the Thanksgiving Turkey?

BurnedTurkeyHere are some reasons you might choose to be thankful anyway:

1. Everyone might think your turkey is Cajun blackened.
2. Your cheese broccoli Lima bean casserole will gain new-found appreciation.
3. No one will overeat.
4. You’ll get to the desserts even quicker.
5. The guys can take the bird to the back yard to play football.
6. You won’t have to face three weeks of turkey sandwiches. *

Oh that we might learn to choose gratitude.

I had a vivid dream one Saturday morning. God teaches me many lessons in my dreams. He uses scriptures I’ve memorized and events in my life and draws pictures to help me learn. Let me share my dream. (Note: in my dream I just saw the people … names and countries were added for this account.)

I heard a voice – “Let me take you on a little tour of your home.”

We started in the kitchen. I turned on the faucet and clean water gushed out. “Little Farhan in Sudan has no clean water,” the voice said.

I opened my cupboard, full of food, then moved to the dining room to eat a hearty breakfast. “Elda in Ethiopia is starving this morning … and Peggy just came off the street in your own hometown. She’s at the Salvation Army kitchen today.”

I sat down in the comfort of my living room to relax from the workweek. “Bill is still out of work, desperate for a job. He’s living in his car.”

I spent some time at my computer, surrounded by technology. “Alma went to the library today, using the community computer.”

I visited my bathroom. “Panjak in India has a mobile phone, but no toilet in his home.”

I hopped in my air conditioned car to go on errands. “Sumi in Bangladesh has blisters on her feet, walking everywhere in the hot sun.”

As nightfall came, I curled up on my Sleep Number bed. “Neela in Nairobi sleeps on the hard ground in a shack,” the voice said.

I read my Bible before bedtime. “Bingwen in China has only one page from a shared Bible … and he worships in a secret church.”

I woke from my dream in tears. It is far too easy to forget I have so much.

Please understand. I didn’t feel guilty for having all these things. I know that all good gifts come from God (James 1:17).

But I think I understand why God might have given me the dream on that Saturday morning.

He wanted to teach me some things:

  1. Be thankful for the good things you have. (Psalm 100:4b-5)
  2. Be thankful even when hard times come. (Ephesians 5:201 Thessalonians 5:18)
  3. Be aware and sensitive to the pain in the world – not self-absorbed, not turning your back on others’  suffering, but loving people sincerely with Jesus’ love. (Mark 12:31; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4)
  4. Share what you have; be a good steward of all you possess. (Proverbs 14:31; 19:17; 22:9; Matthew 5:42; 25:35-40; Hebrews 13:16; 1 John 3:17-18).

I invite you to take a tour of your own home. Do it today … or soon.

  • Fully appreciate what you have. “Thank you, Lord, for this …. and that … and this … and that…..”
  • Relax. Don’t feel guilty about your blessings from God. Just observe … be grateful.
  • As you consider each possession – each gift from God – take time to pray for those who struggle. Remember, especially, the people you know … pray and ask God to meet their needs.
  • Ask the Lord, “How do you want me to use my possessions for Your glory.” (Note: you may be the answer to the prayer you just prayed!)
  • Don’t rush away … Listen. And obey.

Living in gratitude – especially, being grateful for all we have and are in Christ – is one way to live “to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:3-12).

Make the daily choice to express gratitude for all your blessings, and even those tough things … like a Crispy Critter Turkey. Or at least thank God for the lessons you can learn or choices you can make.

Let me know when you take your own Gratitude Tour.

    – Dawn Wilson

*http://www.humormatters.com/holidays/Thanksgiving/turkeyburnt.htm

LINKED TO:  Raising Homemakers

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