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Christmas time has a way of making us all feel so special. It brings those nostalgic feelings of childhood, the peace of having family and friends around, and the joy of giving. It is the perfect recipe for a great season.
On the other hand, it also has a way of destroying our self-worth. There are often more places to go than we are physically able to make, our hearts sometimes are bigger than our financial abilities allow us to give, and our expectations are at an all time high. This is the perfect recipe for depression. I’m dealing with this right now myself.
Are we rejecting ourselves throughout Christmas? Is God up to something in us during this time or is it all just commercial?
Giving gifts is good because it makes us view others as better than ourselves. It opens the door to show love to those who don’t feel worthy. Not much feels better than giving that wow gift with a smile on our face, and God loves a cheerful giver. It is good to go out of your way to make rounds and see family you may not always see. For them to know that you are going out of your way makes them feel special and boosts their love and worthiness as well. But where does that leave you? The recipients of the gifts can feel love and we feel good about that. The family members that receive our time feel love and we feel great about that, too. But there is something missing in us that feels like we rejected ourselves. We have given ourselves ’til we are on E and feel horrible about ourselves for even wanting some time to ourselves or to our own kids.
In seeking God further through this I am reminded that this life is not made for ease and comfort. We give ourselves thin and we keep on giving because we were freely given to. However, God also knows our limitations. He knows we need to stay full in order to give and I see Him giving us wonderful gifts in this Giving season.
We talked above how Christmas time brings these challenges. We question ourself. We churn in ourselves to figure out just what we are. We ask ourselves, “Am I the type of person that gives no matter what? Can I enjoy making it hard on myself to make it easy for others?” We are torn between ourselves and others. Maybe God is right there with you as you find yourself. If this life is for sharpening, preparing, and solidifying, then these problems we face are no more than exercises in that training. In Romans 5:3-5 we are reminded just what we gain through this whole process:
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
So while Christmas time can be the perfect recipe for both a great season and depression at the same time, God is in the whole thing keeping you full if you are looking for it. As you wrestle within yourself this season to find the right balance of giving and receiving, remember you are receiving perpetual gifts all along the way.
You will find happiness in what you do when you do it just because it’s in you. No expected result and not out of any need other than “it was on my heart.” This isn’t always a walk in the park! You will have to decide in yourself that you are content with that. What can you do “as unto the Lord” today?
I often find myself seeking answers that are pointless or even dark, then wonder why I feel sad or disappointed with myself. This scripture is as much a way out of trouble as it is a guide for what you want. We WILL find what we seek. What are you seeking today that won’t benefit you?
I’d like to start this by saying we all toot our own horn. I do it all the time and I enjoy it! I often do sarcastically to flirt with my wife because she gives me this little eye roll thing that just drives me wild (it fuels me). We are all hungry for attention. We all need acknowledgement. It’s a shame that sometimes people do need to truly toot their own horn to recharge themselves. If you must, there is a way to do it that gets you far more volume than your standard noisy cymbal. I think we can all agree that it is not truly satisfying to do it the way everyone else does it.
The key to this unique toot is this..you ready? It’s quiet and it’s not really about you at all. If what we want is attention, the best way to get that is to be acknowledged for your actions. If you really have to speak up so loudly about yourself there are two possible things wrong here:
- You aren’t doing enough “doing” to get truly noticed. Maybe you need to narrow down what your reward expectations are and refocus your energy into that.
- You are surrounded by people that do not know how to properly encourage you. This is an unfortunate truth for a lot of us. All you can do is keep doing what you’re doing, champ. Drop some direct conversation on that person that should be acknowledging you to let them know where you stand. Good managers know how far an appreciated employee can take the company, and a good wife or husband knows the reward they get when they give the proper acknowledgement.
So what does that look like in real life?
At your job
As a leader, I will find a way to acknowledge you in front of everyone if you are that quiet worker who does the right thing because it’s the right thing. Oh yes, I see you calling your own name for every good work and you will be rewarded for that, but for the person that quietly does the right thing without copying every manager and leader along the way, I see you so much more. I am ready and eager to make sure every important person in the company knows the good work you are doing. Please allow me to toot that horn for you.
In your relationships
There is a scripture that says, “A man who loves his wife loves himself.” (Ephesians 5:28) I absolutely love this scripture because it is so powerful. Powerful, in my opinion, is something that is actually productive-something that produces a result. There is nothing more productive than taking care of someone else so they will also take care of you. Everyone wins! At the same time, you get to toot your own horn in a very powerful and unique way: by quietly (without drawing attention to) loving your wife (or husband, this applies to you ladies, too!). Loving is much deeper than good sex or buying them dinner every once in a while. I mean the 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love that forgives, gives patience, offers support, listens intently, cares deeply, and so on. You do that consistently and you will have the toot heard ’round the world! Any of you guys or gals that aren’t currently in good standing with your significant other are especially open to the benefit of this because it won’t be expected.
As a Christian
This is a big one to me. I see so many people throw their name in on someone else’s accomplishments and sometimes even throw in the Lord’s name as a side note to themselves. Jesus was not about that at all! He was as humble and wise as they come. The entire chapter of Matthew 6 describes various situations where He says you should do good things in secret, specifically to avoid tooting your own horn. It’s called humility, and it is extremely powerful and lovable. One of my favorite scriptures tied to this topic is 1 Corinthians 13:1. It talks about doing all these powerful things that draw great attention because of the label it carries but at the end of the day, if they can’t love on people from the goodness of their heart, they are just a clanging cymbal. This is huge. It is commonly understood that no one really likes a showboat. Sure, sometimes over-confidence is attractive and bold, but for the most part, people prefer humility and acceptance above all. If we can’t show this, we do nothing for the faith because we do nothing for the people. Anytime we are the only one to benefit, there is more we can do.
I don’t know how everyone in your life operates, but I can promise you that there is something in us that admires a quiet worker of life. You have every right to call some attention to yourself if you are not getting it, but I want to encourage you to hold on, bite down, and keep going for a little while longer. It’s the right thing to do and it will always be more satisfying. There are people eagerly waiting to acknowledge you if you are in the right place. Toot on, folks!