The Perils of a People Pleaser

Whether by nature, by nurture, or a by a combination of both, I am a dyed in the wool people pleaser. As far back as I can remember, I have wanted to please people, whether it was my parents, my teachers, my friends or even strangers. I want to make people happy and I really, really, want them to like me. I live for positive feedback. I positively bloom when praise is showered upon me. Unfortunately, I also negatively wilt and wither when I feel like I have displeased someone. I feel like a dog who brings his master’s slippers to him and then sits there wagging it’s tail and wriggling in eager anticipation of the much desired pat on the head and “good boy” (and perhaps a yummy Scooby snack). When the master does these things, the dog wags and wiggles in even more joy. But when the master either ignores or rebukes the dog, the dog cowers and away into a corner. Yup – that’s me – an eager puppy either wagging or slinking – always uncertain.

This constant need for and seeking of approval has caused me much trouble in my life and is an unhealthy mindset. The desire to be liked, wanted, or loved has led me to make some unwise choices that have had hard consequences. Having said that, neither have I really been a follower of the crowd and neither am I willing to do just anything to feel like I belong. This conflict has often left me feeling confused, alone and lonely.

As a Christian, I have often felt like I was living between a rock and a hard place. My desire to live a Godly life means that I very often do not fit in with people in the secular world. Strangely enough, my personal belief system also puts me at odds with “main-stream” Christians as I do not believe in or follow many traditional church doctrines. (notice that I said “church” doctrines)

As a people pleaser, this is a very difficult way to live. I do not wish to offend those who live in either camp, non-believers and believers, so I am not very verbal about those areas in which I differ. This means that I appear to do a lot of fence -sitting – and to be quite frank – my butt is getting sore!

I know that my problem stems from my mistaken perception that my self worth is based upon what others think of me. I do not know from whence came this very mistaken ideology, but it is deeply ingrained in me and has adversely affected me all of my life. Even in the relative wisdom of my middle age and having an adoring husband and sons and a mother who I know really love me, I still feel like I am somehow “not enough”. You know – not smart enough, successful enough, pretty enough, worthwhile enough, and yes, even not “Christian” enough.

While I have just said that I don’t know where this flawed and harmful thought process comes from, I do, in fact, know. It comes from my enemy the devil. It is he who daily accuses me that I am “not enough” – not good enough for this world and definitely not good enough for God.

Rev 12:10 … For the accuser of our brothers is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night.

It is the enemy that causes me to look at myself in a flawed mirror. It is the “fiery darts” of the wicked one that fills my mind with “stinkin’ thinkin”. It is the enemy that plays upon my weakness – my desire to please and be liked by all – to confuse and conflict me.

The two opposing yard sticks in my life, against which I am constantly measuring myself, are the world’s ways and God’s ways. I don’t really want to live in the world’s ways, but I have a life on this earth and I feel that I must find some way of “fitting in”. I really want to live a Godly life, and I tried for many years to live according to “the letter of the law”, but I always felt like I failed so miserably, both in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the Christian church.

While it is difficult, I must keep reminding myself that as a Christian, I CANNOT serve both the gods of this world and The God of all creation at the same time.

Gal 1:10 For now do I persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

2Co 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship does righteousness have with lawlessness? And what partnership does light have with darkness?

2Co 6:17 Therefore come out from among them and be separated, says the Lord,…

I really need to realize that I am not, in fact, measuring myself “up” against the world. In comparing myself to the world, I am actually using a measuring stick that is far below the one that God desires me to use. Desiring to please “the world” actually brings me down which is in the opposite direction from where God, through Jesus Christ, wants to put me. Jesus Christ went “down” into death for me so that I might go “up” into eternal life.  So I need to get rid of that worldly measuring stick once and for all!

Psa 30:3 O Jehovah, You have brought up my soul from the grave; You have kept me alive, so that I should not go down to the Pit.

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I also need to get rid of the measuring stick by which I feel that other Christians measure me. In the past, I have found that there is no one generally accepted measuring stick – each Christian denomination seems to have their own measuring stick using as a guide the various scriptures that each denomination has decided to follow, or not follow. One uses a measuring stick that says “you can’t eat this”. Another uses a measuring stick that says “you can’t wear this”. Yet another one uses a measuring stick that says that women can’t speak, teach or preach. ( I intensely dislike that particular stick). And there are even some that use measuring sticks that say “it’s all good. Everything’s ok as long as you are a nice person and don’t hurt anybody else”. It is a veritable forest of measuring sticks out there! No wonder I get confused and conflicted!

I need to chop down and burn all those confusing measuring sticks and only use the one that really matters – the gold standard of Jesus Christ. That is the only one by which God uses to measure me. That may sound very daunting, but it is a measuring stick that has been painted by the blood of Christ –  painted in love, by love and for love. When I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour, I “put on” the blood of Christ which was shed for me, for the remission of my sins. My sins are covered by Jesus’ blood – God can no longer see them. So when God looks at me, He sees the blood of the sinless Christ. When the measuring stick of Jesus Christ is held up, I am right there with him. And I can have peace and joy knowing that I finally “measure up”!

Col 1:20 And through Him (Jesus) having made peace through the blood of His cross, it pleased the Father to reconcile all things to Himself through Him (Jesus), whether the things on earth or the things in Heaven.

So my lesson to myself is that I have to stop being a people pleaser – that only brings me down. (this includes trying to please other Christians)

What I MUST remember is that God sees me, the real me, through His eyes of love, as manifested in Jesus Christ. God sees me, and He loves me, and He thinks that I am beautiful. He is pleased with me. That is all that really matters, and that truth is where I should get my self-worth.

Mar 1:11 And there came a voice from Heaven, saying, You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Happy thought – since I am in Christ and Christ is in me, God is pleased with me too!

Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!”

Rom 8:38, 39 For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Note to self – read this several times a day and get it into my thick head!)

Blessings

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The Swimming Pool

I am trying to get my middle-aged body into some semblance of fitness. To that end, I have been going to a small, local pool where I do gentle range of motion exercises, stretching, and even swim some laps. The best time to go is earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon, since I often have the pool to myself at those times.

There have been a few times though when I have either arrived there a little later than usual or have not yet finished my exercise regime before a gaggle of gals descends upon the waters. These ladies are usually older than me, and I assume that they also come to the pool for gentle exercise. However, I have noticed a strange phenomenon: they have their bathing suits on, they get into the pool, they make intitial attempts to move through the water in some semblance of exercise activity but when they approach one another, it seems like some great magnet secures them all in tight formation in the center of the pool! And then the noise level goes up exponentially as each one of them attempts to add their pearls of wisdom to the gossip fest.

This is strange behaviour to me. I mean, you have to pay to use the pool, you have to scrunch and squeeze the various lumps and bumps of the body into a bathing suit, and then you have to try to peel said wet and tight bathing suit off of aforementioned lumps and bumps! I have to wonder why a person would go through all of that just to have a good ol’ chin wag! But what really makes my swimsuit chafe is that they are all doing this right in the center of the pool and then they bob about until they have covered all the points of the compass leaving very little room for my svelte (cough-cough) form to pass by them as I imitate a sleek dolphin doing laps.

These ladies dress the part for swimming, they go to the right place for swimming, they even enter the water as if for swimming, but if they think that they are actually getting any exercise, they are deluding themselves.

I think that there are many people who call themselves Christians who are somewhat similar to those ladies. You know, the people who may dress a certain way to impress you into thinking that they are Christians. The ones who may attend church regularly, just to be seen doing so. The ones who actually enter into the church but don’t engage with the sermon, the praying or each other. And like the women in the pool, I think that these people are deluding themselves into thinking that they are “real” Christians and that their faith is real and active.

I have met a lot of “luke-warm” Christians. People who have the appearance of Christianity on the outside but whose faith is either non- exsistent or very shallow and very easily changed by circumstances.

Rev 3:15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I would that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing, and do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,

I have also met people who, by the look of them, one would not think that they were Christians, but their faith is real and deep.

If you call yourself a Christian, don’t just put on a bathing suit and then paddle around in the shallow end of life and faith, chattering away the precious minutes of your life with meaningless talk. Get INTO the pool and exercise your faith with healthy, meaningful and productive activities that will strengthen your faith and help to build the faith of others.

“Swimming, swimming; keep on swimming” Dory in “Finding Nemo”

Blessings

Trick or Treat?

Autumn is one of my favourite seasons. I love the cool, fresh air scented with the spicy aroma of fallen leaves. I love the “crunch, crunch, crunch” sound of dried leaves underfoot. I love the mellow, golden sunlight. And of course, I love the wonderful riot of colour that paints the trees.

There is one aspect of of autumn that I intensely dislike, and that is the North American tradition of observing Hallowe’en. To be brutally honest, I don’t understand how anybody who calls themselves a Christian can have anything, at all, to do with it. I am sorry if I offend anybody with my opinion on this subject – that is not my intent. I just feel very passionate about how we, as Christians, live out a Godly life as examples to a fallen world.

Perhaps you are like my son, who now having a child of his own, has said that he is going to take his daughter out for Hallowe’en, no matter what anybody (probably meaning me) might think, because, after all, it is just a day to dress up in fun costumes and get some goodies!

Is that really all it is? Is that the TRUTH? Let’s have a quick look at the origins of this particular “celebration”. I have compiled a short Hallowe’en FAQ.

1. Peoples of ancient Gaelic Ireland celebrated the Festival of Samhain, the beginning of winter and darkness, from sunset on October 31 st to sunset on November 1st.

2.  According to Irish mythology, Samhain was a time when the doorways to the Otherworld opened, allowing the spirits and the dead to come into our world. It was essentially a festival for the dead.

3. . In ancient Ireland, Samhain was associated with the god Crom Cruach to whom sacrifices were made by smashing the skulls of first-born children against a stone idol. (lovely)

4. Ritualistic fires were lit at night and used for divination (fortune telling), and the smoke was believed to have held cleansing and protective qualities.

5. Costumes began to be worn, either to disguise and protect oneself from the spirits of the dead who were said to wander that night, or to represent spirits of winter and darkness who would demand a tribute to protect people.

6. “Trick or treat”  originated from the above practice of dressing up and going from home to home and demanding payment such as food, or a curse or “trick” would be placed upon that home.

7. Jack’o’lanterns seem to originate from a folktale about a man named Jack who tricked the Devil, and as punishment the Devil forced Jack to forever wander the world of the undead, using a lamp carved from turnip to guide his way. Historically, carved turnips were used to represent evil spirits, either to scare them away or to scare other people. People used jack’o’lanterns to keep away the dead, evil spirits and vampires.

There seems to be a difference of opinion (isn’t there always) on how the Festival of Samhain became what we now call “Halloween”. But many sources suggest that the Christian church, as ruled by Rome at the time, wanted to shift the focus of those who had been converted from paganism, from observing pagan festivals to celebrating Christian ones. Thus the Pope moved the observance of “All Hallowed Day” or “All Saint’s Day” to November 1st. This was a day to remember and honour the Christian dead, especially Christian martyrs. Thus, the evening before,, which was October 31 st, the pagan festival of Samhain, became known as “All Halloweds Eve” and eventually “Halloween”.

No matter which of the wide variety of historical and informational sources you look at, Halloween has its origins in paganism and the worship of other gods. The themes of those rituals all seem to deal with darkness, death, fear, evil spirits and superstition. I have to ask, why would anybody want to celebrate those kinds of things???

And as a Christian, God tells us many times and very clearly that we are not to have any other gods before him (He calls this “whoring after other gods”!), we are not to worship idols, and we are to avoid the appearance of evil at all times. So how can Christians observe Halloween??? I just don’t understand it.

Exo 20:3-5 You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make to yourselves any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them.

Exo 34:15 lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice to their gods, and call you, and you eat of his sacrifice;

Deu 18:10-12 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that uses divination, an observer of clouds, or a fortune-teller, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or one who calls to the dead. For all that do these things are an abomination to Jehovah.

1Th 5:22 Abstain from every appearance of evil. 

As for my son’s comment that it is just a day to dress up and have fun – I must ask – REALLY?? I mean, look at what people are dressing up as – every evil under the sun covered in every kind of blood and gore imaginable. FUN??? As for the treats, how harmless is that when the police have to warn parents every year to check their children’s candies etc. because there are sick people out there who put harmful things such as razor blades, pins, drugs and poison into the “treats”. Harmless fun???

I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it.

I recently read a comment, which I paraphrase here: “Christians observing Halloween makes as much sense as Jewish people dressing up as Hitler and celebrating the Holocaust”. I kinda agree.

 1Co 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and of a table of demons.

2Co 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship does righteousness have with lawlessness? And what partnership does light have with darkness?

2Co 6:17,18 Therefore come out from among them and be separated, says the Lord, and do not touch the unclean thing. And I will receive you and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. 

BTW- in case you think I used biased Christian resource material to get my information for this post, I used Wikipedia along with other online resource material, all of which were secular.

Blessings

Odd (Wo)MAN Out

Have you ever felt like you were the odd man out? I have often felt like I was a square peg trying to jam myself into a round hole. In school, I was a good student, too smart for the liking of some students (“teacher’s pet”) but not smart enough to fit in with the really “brainy” kids. I enjoyed participating in sports but I wasn’t particularly adept at them so I didn’t fit in with the “jocks”. I loved art, photography and drama, but I wasn’t quite “edgy” enough.

As a young wife, I found that I wasn’t materialistic enough to want to participate in the “must have to keep up with the Jones'” shopping gabfests that seemed to prevail amongst the wives of my husband’s co-workers. And don’t even get me started on small town gossip gaggles!

One  situation in which I particularly felt (and continue to feel) like the song from Sesame Street, “One of these things is not like the others” was the times when I was sitting in hospital waiting rooms waiting to see the oncologist-urologist. I was only 45 years old when I was first diagnosed with bladder cancer. It was very disconcerting to go for scans and treatments only to find myself the only woman in a waiting room full of older middle-aged and elderly men! You see, the bulk of the oncologist-urologists case load seems to consist of treating men with prostate cancer.

The worst part was when the nurse would call me in to put on that very fashionable garment known as the hospital gown. You know, that cute little number that was designed by Dr. Seemore Butts? And then I would be led into another small waiting room, which I think was used as a meat locker in the off hours because it was freezing cold. So there I am, sans pantalons, (French for bare a**ed), shivering and covered with goosebumps and not a whole lot more, trying to make sure that my gown is covering my nether region because I don’t know how many other unfortunate slobs have sat bare butt on the same chair! Now, you might think that the situation couldn’t possibly get more uncomfortable or embarrassing BUT to add insult to injury, the nurse ever so efficiently directs one of those dear elderly men from the waiting room, who also happens to be wearing the latest in hospital gowns, to sit down in a chair beside me!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?? Talk about avoiding eye contact – and any other type of contact for that matter!

(When you have finished laughing, you may continue reading)

So, it has been seven years since the diagnosis, and yesterday  I had an appointment for my annual bladder scope. That’s where the doctor takes a camera on the end of a cable the size of a garden hose and tries to insert it into your urethra which is the size of a small straw! (ok-slight exaggeration – but it sure feels like it!) so that he can view the tissues of your bladder. So I once more found myself sitting in a waiting room full of men and 1 or 2 concerned wives. I would like to say that I have gotten used to feeling like the only apple in a bunch of bananas, but I haven’t. However, I now have a wonderful hubby sitting beside me holding my hand and I now get my own private dressing, or rather, un-dressing room that is kept at a temperature unsuitably warm  for hanging frozen sides of beef, but warm enough to keep goose-bumps at bay.

And best of all – I received the “all clear” and “everything A-okay” for another year, making this my third year being cancer free. PRAISE GOD!

I just wanted to share my good news and hopefully give you something to laugh about.

Blessings

Play Now, Pay Later

Recently, my hubby and I enjoyed a fantastic eco adventure tour at Collingwood Scenic Caves. As we walked along a 420 ft. long foot suspension bridge, we got to experience the fantastic view of the landscape below the Niagara Escarpment – and yes, the bridge wiggled. Then we enjoyed a wonderful tree-top walk along a 10 inch board walkway suspended from between trees some 30 – 50 feet off the ground. Those boards wobbled too. My hubby and I sucked in our bellies and crawled through a crack to enter a cave known as “The Refrigerator”. Finally, we enjoyed two exhilarating rides on zip-lines, the last one requiring a literal “leap of faith” as you step off the top of the Escarpment with a 150 ft. vertical drop below you and 1000 ft. of zip line to travel along. TOTALLY AWESOME!!!!

I have a very adventurous soul, so my soul thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the experience. Unfortunately, my body was NOT in agreement with my soul. After climbing steep stairs and crawling through the first cave, my legs complained most vociferously (OOOO –  big word). My dogs were howling and my birds were screeching. (See my post “Pushing Through Barkin’ Dawgs, June 4, 2014) Three days after my adventure, my body put in a formal complaint with the Ministry of Labour and then went on strike. I was one unhappy puppy – whine-whine.

One of the unpleasant characteristics of Fibromyalgia, is that an activity may or may not cause pain the day of the activity, however, 2-3 days later, you can wake up feeling like someone ran a steamroller over you. Because I do not wish to spend my life in suspended animation, I participate in activities that I really enjoy but for which I know I will pay for later on. I endure the resulting pain, fatigue and stiffness because I don’t have any other choice if I wish to enjoy my life to the full and avoid becoming a very grumpy Mrs. Couch Potato.

I make a thoughtful choice based on comparing the level of enjoyment to the level pain I may suffer afterwards. In other words, I think about my actions and their consequences, and I accept responsibility for those consequences. I find that many people in this world have a “play now, pay later” mentality but it’s not because they have to. Those kinds of people have a very selfish, self-absorbed, narrow view of their life. They want what they want – they want it NOW and to hell with the consequences.

I used to work in healthcare and I saw the sad results of people who lived the “play now, pay later” lifestyle. People who ate too much and ended up with legs amputated from the complications of Type II diabetes. I would be tidying up their bedside table and find, chips, chocolates and candy stashed away. They wanted what they wanted! I would monitor the vital signs of a patient with cardiac or pulmonary disease, who would then walk out to have a cigarette. They wanted what they wanted!

I have never understood people who willingly engage in harmful activities. Do they really believe that “it”, whatever bad thing “it” may be, will not happen to them? Are people really that blind and stupid? Are people really that selfish?

“What’s a few drinks every day – I can hold my liquor”

“It’s only 1 or 2 joints – I’m not a drug addict”

“I only watch soft porn – it’s not hurting anybody”

“It’s just a little harmless flirting – I’m not cheating on my spouse”

“I’ll turn to God if I need Him, but I don’t need Him right now”

Play now, pay later.

Maybe you are lucky and can play without paying. Or maybe you end up paying but things work out okay in the end. I know that there are many people who have made some drastic mistakes by “playing” but they seem to come out of it okay. Many others are not so fortunate and must either live with the consequences or die from the consequences.

One thing is absolutely certain, if you don’t choose God and if you don’t accept Jesus as your Saviour, you WILL die from the consequences. Maybe you think that you have time to make that choice later on in your life, after you have “lived” a little. You are fooling yourself! Our lives on this earth are fragile things and our life could end in a second.

1Pe 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of men as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls out,

There are no second chances if death claims you before you decide to choose to follow Jesus.

Jesus is coming back to gather his followers. Even though we don’t know the exact day and time when Jesus will appear, we are told to expect him at any moment.

Mat 24:36-39 But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not the angels of Heaven, but only My Father. But as the days of Noah were, so shall be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered into the ark. And they did not know until the flood came and took them all away. So also will be the coming of the Son of Man.

2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a rushing noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat. And the earth and the works in it will be burned up.

Since Jesus could arrive at any moment, you can’t say “there’s lots of time. I want to play now, I’ll choose him later, after I have done some ‘living’ “. You may end up paying for your playing by forfeiting your life for eternity.

Instead, I urge you to choose Jesus today – he already did all the paying for your worldly playing. Choose Jesus and you will enjoy unimaginably wonderful playing for all of eternity.

BlessingsIMG_9803 (800x600)

Thanksgiving Checklist

In Canada, we are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. People will be busy travelling to visit loved ones and kitchens will be filled with the aroma of a wide variety of eatables being cooked for Thanksgiving dinner. There is a lot to do in getting ready for the feast.

Turkey – check

Stuffing – check

Mashed potatoes and gravy – check

Cranberry sauce – check

Turnip – oh do we really have to? All right then – check.

Pumpkin pie – check

Don’t forget the whipped cream! – check

And don’t forget to wear your “turkey pants” – you know, the ones with the elastic waistband so that you don’t have to unbutton and unzip your pants after you have pigged out!

But as you and your loved ones gather around the heavily laden table, I would urge you not to forget what should be the most important item on your checklist – and that is to thank God “from whom all blessings flow”.

Maybe you don’t have loved ones or a table full of food to enjoy. Maybe you are thinking that you don’t have much for which to be thankful. I can understand that feeling. Some of my days have felt so bad that all I could think of thanking God for at the end of the day was the fact that I actually survived another day.

During those difficult times, the times where I really couldn’t think of much to be thankful for, I decided to challenge myself by thinking outside the box. I decided to try and look at things from a different perspective. I decided that if I didn’t have the usual things to be thankful for, I would look for unusual things to be thankful for. Here are some of some of the things on my “thanking outside the box Thanksgiving checklist”:

1.Toilets –  I don’t like cleaning toilets, but in the middle of the night or if it’s raining, or winter, I am very thankful that I have an indoor flush toilet. I am so thankful that I don’t live someplace where raw sewage runs down the middle of the street in front of my house. Thank you God for indoor plumbing!

2. Toilet paper – Have you ever had to use a magazine page, piece of newspaper or even a leaf to wipe your nether regions? Or even worse, had nothing at all to hand? As an outdoor enthusiast, I have been in such “sticky” situations. When I’m at home, I am so thankful that I have toilet paper and that I don’t have to cut up the Sears Catalogue. Thank you God for toilet paper!

3. Dirty dishes – I hate washing dirty dishes more than I hate cleaning toilets! Dirty dishes are like rabbits – they keep on multiplying! No matter how many times you wash the dishes, if you turn your back – poof – more dirty dishes! BUT – I am so thankful that I have a wide variety of pots and pans to cook with and dishes from which to eat because I have seen that millions of people in the world literally don’t even have a pot to pee in and I have seen them using rusty tin cans and even leaves to try to scoop up what little food they have. And speaking of food, I am thankful that I have access to a wide variety of nutritious food that makes my dishes dirty. Thank you God for the food that makes my dishes dirty and for the dishes with which to cook and eat.

4. Cleaning the ring around the bathtub – there are times where I think that the Cat in the Hat must have been using our bath tub for the ring that sometimes decorates our tub! Being middle-aged, my aching back and knees don’t really appreciate having to kneel and bend over while I scrub the barnacles of the sides of the tub. BUT – those creaking knees and aching back sure do appreciate being able to relax in a nice hot bath that is bigger than a laundry basket and for which I did not have to chop and  split wood, light a fire, haul water from a creek or well, boil said water on stove and carry by the pail-full up to aforementioned basket-sized tub that sits in an unheated room! So, thank you God for indoor plumbing, hot running water, full-size bathtub and centrally heated bathroom.

5. Dirty laundry –  I live in an apartment and I don’t have a washer and dryer in my unit. Nor, does my building have an elevator so I have to carry heavy laundry baskets down and up (and down and up) 2 flights of stairs to get to the laundry room. So washing dirty clothes is not a favourite past-time of mine. BUT – I am thankful that I have a wide selection of nice clothes, appropriate for the weather conditions, with which to cover up this “middle-aged spread” of mine. And I am grateful that I don’t have to beat my clothes on a stone in a dirty river to try to wash them. Thank you God for the clothes on my back and the clothes in my closet and for electric washers and dryers.

6. Vacuuming – I have married the “crumbiest” guy I have ever known. I will never lose track of him, because wherever he sits or walks, he leaves a trail of crumbs behind! I also have a white cat who is doing her best to make us a fur rug in the living room. Whenever I grumble at having to haul around the vacuum, I remember that there are many people who only have a dirt floor to call their home. Thank you God for solid floors with warm carpets.

These are just a few examples of how I try to  “Continue in prayer and watch in it with thanksgiving,” Col 4:2

And if you find that you are in a difficult place in your life and feel that you might not have much to be thankful for, remember the following:

Php 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

Col 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you also are called in one body, and be thankful.

I challenge you to thank outside the box this Thanksgiving.

I pray God’s mighty blessings upon you and your loved ones. Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Rev 7:12  Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.

 

Two Small Words

When I was a child, my mother taught me the “magic words” – “Please” and “Thank you”. When I became a mother, I taught those words to my own children. To this day, even though both my sons are grown men, I still receive positive comments from people regarding how polite my sons are. (I guess I did one thing right anyways – phew!)

As a parent, I did not want my children coming up to me and demanding things as if everything was their right to have. And if I did fulfill their requests, I certainly didn’t want them to walk away without them having given me some sort of acknowledgement and expression of gratitude, again, as if everything was their right to have and/or do.

To me, expressing gratitude shows that you acknowledge the effort and sometimes sacrifice that someone has put into helping you. As a parent, you may often feel that all your effort goes unnoticed and unappreciated. It took several years, in fact, both my sons were young men, before I received a wonderful, unexpected affirmation from one of my sons.

My youngest son is not overly communicative. And our relationship became very strained after the break up of my marriage. So it was a HUGE blessing to me when on two separate occasions, my son called me out of the blue to thank me for some of the things I had done for him when he was growing up.

His first call was inspired by the fact that he was eating left-over shepherd’s pie for lunch. He told me that as he was eating, he suddenly remembered all the times that I had prepared a tasty, hot lunch for him when he was in school. He had disliked being at school and he didn’t like eating sandwiches. So for him, being able to come home for lunch and knowing that I had something nice for him to eat, was a real blessing.

The second surprise call came after he had had to take a young fellow worker to the hospital after the young fellow had been injured in a workplace accident. As he sat there trying to comfort his bloody co-worker as they waited for a doctor, my son remembered all the times that I had held his hand in emergency rooms as he was being stitched up after one of his many (many!) accidents. He realized how stressful that must have been for me. So he called me up to thank me for having been there for him. (I hope you’re all saying “Awww – how sweet” right about now)

But seriously, who wants to do nice things for people who are never grateful? If we, as humans, feel that way, why would we think that our Heavenly Father feels any differently? As much as we may have given/give and have done/do for our loved ones and for others, we can NEVER outgive what God has done for us.

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Even though mankind has rejected (and continues to reject) God, He still loved us so much that he was willing to give His son over to death for our sakes. I mean, think about it, would you give up the life of one of your beloved children in order to save the life of someone else? Especially if that person wasn’t very nice?

And think about Jesus, who never sinned, yet paid the price of the death penalty for our sins. Would you die for people you didn’t know or who didn’t care about you?

Surely, the very least thing we can do is to say those two small words “Thank You” to God and Jesus for what they have done for us.

In Canada, this weekend is Thanksgiving. So take a moment out of your busy holiday schedule to say “Thank You” to your Heavenly Father and to your SAviour, Jesus. It will really bless them and I know that you will be blessed in return.

Rev 7:12 saying, Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.

Blessings