It's that time of year and it seems like holiday season begins with Thanksgiving feasts!
Depending on where you live, there seems to be some sort of holiday gathering before Christmas season.
This list is not limited to Thanksgiving time. It can apply for gatherings where you will meet relatives and immediate family. So this may help you :)
Thanksgiving is associated with family time, fun, gatherings and at times those infamous family members who ask all sorts of questions, like: "Why are you still single? When are you having a baby?" : )
Albeit it being a fun time, I felt God say that I should also speak into that inner anxious person during this time! So I will! :)
So how do you enjoy the holiday season whilst still keeping your peace? Well, here is a list of Do's and Don'ts on celebrating your holiday whilst keeping your PEACE!
Pray before you go:
Pray for God to bless the place and for Him to guide your conversations. Who knows, maybe He may ask you to invite a friend or colleague too who may be alone during this season or far from their family or who doesn't have family!
Be Thankful. Whether you celebrate the specific holiday or not, the aspect of gratitude is one that never runs dry. It doesn't take hours to think of things to be thankful for. From the clothes on your back, to the place you live, for God's love, and so on. Gratitude and thanksgiving is something that is powerful. Some say, as your praises go up, your blessings come down! :)
Take the chance to catch up with the family member you haven't seen in a while
After prayer, you can also choose to be intentional on giving the gift of quality time to someone. Whether it's that distant cousin or aunt, you can always take the time to see what they're up to now, how they are doing, or simply to play a game with them.
Enjoy it and Relax
Cooking, cleaning, so much to do! I know! But enjoy it. Even if you are the host, enjoy it. Play some music whilst you cook, dance whilst you cook, put on your favourite apron. Use your gifts to give it a personal touch, such as making nice name tags for the table or decorations.
Philippians 4:4 says, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"
I know that not everyone will have the "perfect" family reunion, so for those who have difficult times in these seasons, know that you are not alone. Philippians 4 is a good Chapter to read, which is titled: "Stand Firm In The Lord".
So, some Don't's:
Over worry yourself about who will be there. You're an adult and now is a time to exercise your boundaries.
If you already know who will be there, take inventory beforehand, and ask God what He thinks about this time. He will guide you to assess what are the best ways to navigate in this season. Also, He will be able to tell you if there is too much on your plate and the wisest places for you to go. You never know, maybe you are there to encourage someone or to be there for someone. Or Someone may encourage you!
Okay, this is the one you might have been waiting for. It coincides with the boundaries. You're an adult and you're able to speak for yourself about why you are still single or why you are in a relationship. For questions that are too deep, just take a breath and calmly explain that either you don't have an answer for that question at this time or that realistically you are waiting on God. If someone cannot respect your boundaries, which I hope and pray it will not get to that stage, you can simply excuse yourself for the time being and say a little prayer. You can then assess to see if you need to sit somewhere else in the room to talk to someone else, or to change the subject or to ask the person if they can stop. :)
I know nothing is perfect and things can get messy, but I hope they do not! This is a time where you can exercise what God has been teaching you in your quiet times. Whether He has been teaching you to be patient, being fearless, or to enjoy your days, know that God goes with you everywhere you go. Joshua 1:9 says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
May this be a blessed season and time for you and yours, in Jesus' Name!!
We thank Him for life, for love, liberty, for grace and for our loved ones!
"It's better to have a clear conscious than to run around falling apart"
"Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever's worst
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever's worst
We try to fix something but you can't fix what you can't see
It's the soul that needs the surgery" -Pretty Hurts, Beyonce
I was searching for something to watch on TV and saw that Beyoncé's music video for pretty hurts was playing. I stopped because of the statement that it made. There are a lot of things in the video, however, the main points that stood out to me were:
1. How Truly Inspirational It Was.
It is so easy to assume that because we see Beyoncé do certain videos, we form an opinion and think that we know what she is all about. Of course we have to discern what we listen to etc, but quite honestly, context is also vital. We can never truly know anyone unless we know their heart, which can ONLY be for God's eyes (yes, fruits also do count, but that's another topic as well). What I do want to say is that the impact of this video demonstrates the openness of the subjectivity of human beings (especially girls), who are 'required' to be "perfect", or without blemish. But of course, we know that there is only One who is without spot or blemish.
2. It Shined The Light On Performance And Perfectionism.
Once again, we live in the world. We will always have labels and words thrown at us. Getting back to The Manual (i.e. The Bible) will truly reinforce our status, i.e. who we are, and whose we are. We're in a hurting world, therefore there is constant pressure to be something that we're not.
3. She Asks The Question, "Are You Happy With Yourself?"
Happiness of course is a topic that can be discussed. I hear some religious people saying: "we're not living to be happy…that's all emotion!"
Perhaps a better way to form this statement is to ask: after the long day/ a hard day or any day for that matter, are you sure of yourself? Are you able to say, "yes Christ, I gave it all to you today, and did it for you. May You do the rest Lord"? Are you able to look in the mirror and take it all off (whatever "it" may be), and know that you are at peace with yourself? And most of all Christ? That's what happiness can also mean, being content. It can be resting assured that you're resting in Christ.
It's better to have a clear conscious than to run around falling apart. Are you authentic? Of course it doesn't mean you reveal everything about you to everyone, but you get what I mean ;-) It's like what she says in her lyrics, "Plastic smiles and denial can only take you so far."
In the music video, there is a part where Beyonce is playing a pegeant queen. At the question portion, she is asked, "What is your aspiration in life?"
- What is your aspiration in life? -
5. Prevalent Topics Are Brought To The Surface.
For example, there is a model who eats cotton balls. It may sound a certain way, but this actually happens in real life. I wasn't surprised by this scene as I've heard about models who, even though are a size 2 or 0, are called "fat" and thus are so pressured to be so thin. They then compensate food that gives us refuge and strength in exchange for cotton balls, or drinking soda on an empty stomach, (and other crazy substitutes) so they can stay 'relevant'. It's a shame, and we need to fight against that. In the music video there is also a girl throwing up in the bathroom. These are some of the topics we need to talk about, and ask, 'what's at the heart of this' or 'what are the root causes of these surfaces'?
Although there are many more other things that can be said about the song itself, and the music video, I believe that this is a start in order to discuss what's truly important to us, and where our identity lies.
What Are YOUR Thoughts On This?
PS. As seen on the different blogs, I am in no way perfect, so when I wrote this post, it is to challenge us and to make us think. :) This topic will always be relevant as we continue on this course called life. We're in this together =)
I had been learning for a while about this secular and sacred divide.
I learned that when we divide things according to those categories, we tend to think with a "holier than thou" mentality and think religiously.
That is not the way that we should live. It's too much work anyway. haha. ;)
As I said before, God's grace is about freedom. The Gospel is freedom, but obviously the meaning of that differs for some people because we tend to interpret things differently.
I was reminded of this verse: It's under the context and title of "Don't Judge Your Brother":
"Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only" Romans 14:1-2
We're all on a journey of learning things and growing in many aspects of life. If we keep judging each other, we'll just waste time focusing on some one else whilst they are moving on! :) :)
Everyone is on their own journey, so before they discover that they can do certain things without condemnation, it's time to love them and learn from them about what they're going through instead of passing judgement on them! (Otherwise just focus God if you can't do either! It will lead you to do that!! haha!) :) #JussSayin'!!!
Lecrae's message here (you can also view at the bottom on the page) , I believe, had God's Handprint and grace all over it. It was powerful.
Of course we'll be affected differently depending on the scope we're on, but I do encourage you to listen to it. It will change your life about many aspects of life.
Another point in his message was about erasing that secular and sacred divide at the workplace. I used to think "I don't want to work in the secular world! I just want to serve God!!" haha! ;-) like many of us do when we encounter God and want to serve Him or we're new Christians :) Later on I would divide things and say, 'this is sacred, this is secular', as if it was like breakfast and lunch-time and had to keep the two separate. BUT, by God's grace, I received freedom in that aspect and learned not to think that way anymore. I now enjoy things differently because of that.
It's a journey and there will always be something to learn. But learning that there's freedom readily available for us, is the first step. Take it to God and ask Him what the next step is for your life. You'd be surprised in what He says. For some, it's just worshipping Him in all that we do.
I'll leave you with this verse: "whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters" Colossians 3: 23.
I'm reminded of a video from a while ago, it's titled "work as worship" (again you can watch this below). Applying this verse for our lives takes off the burden off of work everyday, if we replace it as a form of worship. That means taking off layers and layers of burdens from ourselves, trying to attain things, when we can lay it onto God and do the best that we can. After all, our Master's the One that opens and closes doors, isn't it? ;-) Amen.
I know it's hard, but we have to ask for Grace if we are do to it. Ask for grace this day! :)
All the best people, as you do your job!! God bless you always!! :)
I might have to come back to this post soon as well! hahaha! I'll keep you updated! :P :P Love you! ;-)
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters"-Colossians 3:23
Now, slavary doesn't mean that one cannot be a slave in Christ. In fact, in Christ, it's a good thing. In Christ, you're recognized (by Him of course, remember we're not people pleasing here! haha!…yup..that again! haha!), you are of value (precious precious value), and you are wanted (for who you are to be exact and not what you've always wanted to be). Here's an illustration: Take off the head of whoever is controlling you (i.e. your handler but metaphorically of course; please don't murder anyone for Christ's sake. lol), then in your mind, replace that head with Christ's Head. See what changes. That's who you're following instead. Amen.
Slavery in Christ means being a servant of Christ. *phew* you thought that was something else didn't you? And yet it means that you are free.
I read this the other day: "And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds" (Titus 2:11-14 NLT)
Another translation says, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men…" (Titus 2:11-14 NIV).
It may be hard, and we will make mistakes, but His Grace is sufficient for all. Praise be to God for that. Hallelujah, He is so worthy of praise.
No more worldly ways, no more pleasure which take us away from Christ, no more unnecessary weight on your back.
Note: (You can listen to Hillsong Young & Free's album for inspiration :)
I'm really liking Coblie Caillat's new song, 'Try'.
I had the opportunity to try out my 'no-make up' mode in public with a few people the other day. It was fun. :)
I really thought I'd be so scared and just chicken out, but it went really well. Of course at first I was a bit apprehensive, but remembered what I had spoken about! haha! Although I felt 'naked', I felt great! :)
When I saw the official music video by Colbie Caillat, it made me think of how this was an issue for a lot of people, and when these people 'expose' themselves to the world around them, it makes them feel vulnerable.
It's times like this that we really appreciate those who are willing to put themselves out there and expose themselves to help others.
It's great to see someone sending out a positive message about being real.
These days I hardly read comments on different peoples' Youtube videos due to some of the negative and harsh arguments and criticism. It made me think of Theodore Roosevelt, who spoke about how easy it was for someone to simply criticize, but really the one with more substance was the one who was in the field doing the actual work and facing the obstacles with bloodshed sweat (to put it lightly, haha!).
It's not to say that everyone should publicly be "out there" in the field, but they can be doing something.
Once we've had some sort of experience, we begin to understand what it's like for other people, and that the common goal at the end of the day is to help others, not tear others down.
There's something powerful about Roosevelt's quote that made me think about finding meaning in what it means to be the 'critic' and what it means when you're being 'criticized'. :)
It's something worth thinking about.
A lot of people look up to celebrities and when they stand up for something that will help others, people take notice, especially those who feel like the outcast. This is why this is so inspirational. It's not for those who are okay without any make up on or who feel no pressure to be something they're not. It's for those who are thirsty for something, and have a need to find out where their worth lies.
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