It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and I can finally listen to Christmas music without feeling guilty about cheating Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong; I love Thanksgiving. Actually, I think Thanksgiving comes at just the right time because it gives us a chance to reflect on how blessed we are before creating the list of all the things we need (or just want) for Christmas. It’s kind of funny; one day we’re going around the table reciting the things we are thankful for and the next day we get up at a curse-inducing hour of the morning to brave the cold and crowds to buy the perfect gift.  Before I get a list of comments calling me a grinch or something, let me just say that I’m not saying Christmas presents are bad or anything. I’m not making a judgment on Thanksgiving or Christmas, I’m just observing a fact.

Anyways, all that to say, that if there were Thanksgiving carols I’d gladly listen to them all through the month of November and hold off on the Christmas songs until December. As it stands, there are no Thanksgiving carols and I can only listen to Christmas music for a short period of time, so I want to shove as much Christmas merriment into the month as I can. It’s not like I’m totally skipping over Thanksgiving; I eat turkey and pumpkin pie and count my blessings on the appropriate day. There are just so many good Christmas songs and by the time it’s acceptable to listen to them, they’re only around for about two weeks. What a waste of good music! So, I’m a closet Christmas music listener about midway through November, then I can come out, jingle bells ablazin’, the day after Thanksgiving. Feliz navidad!


In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning

I love relaxing vacation days! No commitments, getting ready for the day at your leisure, snacking all day instead of eating real meals, listening to music ALL DAY LONG, and sleeping in. Although, I don’t think I was supposed to sleep in this morning because I got a phone call at 3:30 am, 8:30 am, and 9:30 am and a text message at 8:45 am. I’m trying to sleep here people! Despite the frequent wakeup calls, I did manage to stay snuggled under the covers until a reasonably late 10 am. . . Oh, and I really didn’t mind the phone calls. They were from 3 of my favorite people in the world: my boyfriend, my best friend, and my mom.

My favorite thing about a leisurely day off is probably listening to my playlist filled with Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble classics on repeat all day long. I’m a firm believer that life should have background music. . . You know, like in the movies when the girl is doing dishes to “Singing in the Rain” or some gal’s pining away for her guy and her friends decide to take her shopping to cheer her up and “Can’t Buy Me Love” is playing in the background. If it weren’t for the fact that I’d probably get institutionalized for insanity, I’d put speakers in my purse and play my own background music everywhere I go. However, because I’d prefer to make people believe I’m at least somewhat normal, I’ll stick to just listening to my itunes at home.

StarbucksAnother thing I love about having nothing to do is that it gives me time to go to Starbucks and just sit with a good book and a skinny cinnamon dulce latte. Speaking of which, caffeine is calling my name, so I’m gonna grab some homework and try to be productive. . . Um, I should probably think about which one I’m going to. I’ve been to the Starbucks in the Briargate Promenade every day this week, so maybe I’ll switch it up a bit so it doesn’t look like I’m addicted. . . ’cause I’m not. . . really, I could quit anytime I want. . . but I don’t have to prove myself to anyone, so I’m going to enjoy my latte without guilt. . . Just don’t tell anyone this is my 4th for the week.

So, I Guess Blogging Is My Strength

A few weeks ago, I took the Strengthsfinder 2.0 test for one of my classes. The purpose of the assignment was to discover our top five strengths. One of mine was intellection. While I was reading the description, I felt like the author had been spying on me because it reflected my life just about perfectly. Here’s a sample of what was going on in my mind while I read:

“You are the kind of person who enjoys your time alone because it is your time for musing and reflection. You are introspective.” Finally! Someone who understands why I don’t have to be around people all the time! And I thought I was and antisocial freak!

“In a sense you are your own best companion. . . ” Crap. That sounds lame. I AM an antisocial freak!

“This introspection may lead you to a slight sense of discontent as you compare what you are actually doing with all the thoughts and ideas your mind conceives.” Ok, so I have good plans for my life, I just live them out inside my head instead of in the real world. . . Um, can I retake the test?

“Or this introspection may tend towards more pragmatic matters such as the events of the day or a conversation that you plan to have later.” That’s not too bad. It helps me plan and keeps me organized. Good skills to have.

“Wherever it leads you, this mental hum is one of the constants of your life.” Aaaaaand I’m stuck with it. Great.

Sooooo, I figured, since I obviously have all these really great life-changing thoughts and ideas floating around in my head I should probably share my vast reservoir of knowledge with the rest of the world. AKA I just wanted a place to dump my swirling sea of thoughts so that it might seem like I am actually engaged in the social world rather than just having really great conversations with myself.

It’s Not About Me?!

I’m in a Bible study led by Dr. Juli Slattery, a psychologist at Focus on the Family (and one of the coolest people I’ve ever met). Last week’s study prompted me to ask, “Who do I live my life for? Who do I go to school for? Work for? Build relationships for? Get up each morning for?” I’d like to be able to say that I intentionally life my life for the Lord, but most of the time that’s not true; it’s all for me.

1 Corinthians 3:9-15 says that Christ is the foundation of my life and everything I do builds upon it. “The fire will test the quality of each man’s work” (v. 13). Anything I build that is of me or for me will be burned up at the end of this life. Only the things I build for Christ will last. In Dr. Slattery’s book, “Beyond the Masquerade,” she says that work is the outgrowth and reflection of our hearts. What is my heart rooted in? A desire to build success for myself or a desire to serve the Lord?
Too often I have a bad attitude about work and watch the clock until I get to go home. Because my motivation for work is all about me, if I’m stuck doing something that I don’t enjoy or won’t benefit me in some way, I do it half-heartedly. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” When I work with this attitude no job is too small, too menial, too boring, or too unimportant. The days I go into work with a poor attitude I’m working for myself and for what I can get out of the job. According to the 1 Corinthians passage, the work I do in this mindset will be burned up; it won’t count for anything in eternity. It’s only when I give my work to God and say, “Lord, I’m not here for me, I’m here for You. You’ve placed me in this job for Your glory and I’m going to do my best today to honor You,” that my work will stand through the test of fire.
It’s not only the work I do in my job that will be tested, everything I do will be put through the fire. My homework, housework, relationships, etc. Everything we do has eternal consequences: doing the dishes, taking out the trash, listening to a friend who is going through a hard time, making dinner, putting your kids to bed, walking the dog – each of these is an opportunity to serve the Lord. I have a choice to take out the trash with a bad attitude, grumbling the whole time about how it’s supposed to be my brother’s turn to take the trash out, or I can do it as an act of service to both my brother and the Lord.
When I choose to do my work, whatever it may be, for God’s glory, I will likely find myself enjoying it more. Cleaning the toilet won’t feel demeaning, making photo copies won’t seem mundane, and running errands won’t be a waste of time. When my perspective shifts from me-focused to God-focused I’ll be able to see every task as an opportunity to bring glory to my Creator and build things that stand the test of fire.