Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Blessings of Giving Thanks

blessings of giving thanks titleby Lydia Floren

What one habit has most transformed your life?  For me the answer would be                           the practice of thanks-giving..  Here are a few of the blessings of giving thanks that I have experienced:

Attitude. I see even a little blessing in life as a bonus, not a right, when I appreciate that my life—and everything in it—is a gift from God.

Contentment.  I am free to enjoy each day–even if things are difficult–when I give thanks that God is working all things to good.

Trust.  It is easier to trust God’s direction, especially when the future seems uncertain, as I give thanks for God’s love and goodness.

Fearless following. I can boldly follow God’s lead–the best i know it–as I give thanks for God’s commitment to safely guide me. I know that He will make any mid-course corrections if I misunderstand or just wander away for awhile.

Self-concept. I am at peace with who I am when I give thanks for my life–the unique blend of attributes that makes me “me”.   It settles me.  I have nothing to prove. I am valuable, and valued by the most amazing being in the universe, the person that made me.

Encouragement.  I am en-couraged—given courage to be myself, when I appreciate my identity and value.   And I can then en-courage others.

Hope.  I have hope to see beyond a hardship when I am giving thanks in the middle of it.  I can also more readily see benefits of those challenging situations.

Perspective.  Giving thanks for eternity reframes my perspective, and reminds me  what is really important.

Focus. Giving thanks for others takes my focus off myself.

Tolerance.  When I give thanks for the unique gifts of others, I more inclined to celebrate differences, instead of being annoyed by them.  I can appreciate that each person’s individuality makes life rich, just like one spice combined with another creates a wonderful flavor.

Freedom.  Giving thanks for Christ’s sacrifice allows me to leave the past behind, and to quit beating myself for being “imperfect.”  God completes me. In Him I am perfect.

Calling.  There is nothing like the deep soul-satisfying joy of God working through me to love another person in my own unique way.  Giving thanks to God for calling me to be loved, and then to love–Him, myself, and those I encounter–brings me joy.

Presence of God.  Giving thanks in all things brings me into the very presence of God.

The practice of giving thanks in all things has changed–and continues to change–my life.

How has giving thanks blessed you?  We’d love to hear from you!

God Showing Off: The Master at work

god-showing-off-title

by Lydia Floren

The fall colors have been spectacular this year in Eau Claire.

DSC01769 As i was wandering the neighborhood taking picture after picture I thought:

        God has really been showing off this year.

DSC01512 - CopyDSC01606 (2)Showing off?  No, not really.

Fall colors in Wisconsin—like spring flowers in South Carolina—are just napkin-doodles            for The Master Artist.

God showing off?    How ’bout

Angels singing in the air.

             God inhabiting a human body.

                   And a world transformed.

Now that there is some serious artwork.??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????How has He transformed you?  Please share!

 

It’s not about you, or is it?

its-not-about blog titleby Lydia Floren

 It’s not about you.   Or is it?   

It’s not about you.  I have never understood that statement.  Think about it.  You are the only one living your life. You make your own choices.  You experience life with your unique thought processes and personality.   In reality, your life is–well–yours.

But it’s not JUST about you.

So what do people mean when they say “it’s not about you”?  I think they really mean that your life is not just about you.  It is about more than you.  Here’s what I mean:  You are not the only person in the universe. For example–and this is the most important by far, this universe is inhabited by God, your maker.  In fact, you–your life– is a creative expression of God.  You are His masterpiece.  In addition, there are other people like you inhabiting this world, people with with life, and wants, and needs just like you.   And for good or ill, your choices impact your connection with your creator, and influence other people in your little corner of the world.

Here’s the problem: if you have not learned to accept and appreciate yourself,  YOU are all you can think about.  You are focused on trying to get your needs met.  Conversely, when you are at peace with yourself,  you have the capacity to focus outward instead of inward, blessing others instead of expecting from them.

Everyone is needy–everyone has needs.  In order to move beyond yourself, you have to

1.  face your needs and then                                                                                                                     2.  choose to look first to God—not other people—to meet those needs.  

Our needs:

We all recognize our needs for food, clothing, and shelter, but we often ignore important needs that go beyond the physical. Only when we acknowledge these needs, and they are truly met,  can we move past  ourselves. For example, we all need

  • identity–a sense of who we are as a person, an understanding and appreciation of ourselves as a unique individual
  • value–a belief–and solid reason for the belief–that we are valuable
  • belonging–a place in the world where we feel safe, and at home–where everyone knows our name.
  • calling/direction–a sense of purpose, and genuine hope that we can fulfill that purpose.
  • safety–the deep knowing that you are protected: that nothing and no one can destroy you.

We try hard, mostly in subconscious ways, to meet these very essential needs, but come up empty most of the time–and for good reason:  it is impossible.  There is no way that we–or any other person on the planet–can meet these needs.  That doesn’t keep us from trying.  Many promising relationships wither under the heat of our unrealistic expectations that someone else can and should meet our most basic needs.

God is the only person that can satisfy our hunger for identity, value, belonging, calling, and safety.  Quite frankly, God not only CAN fill this void in our lives, He has already given us the means to do so. But He always gives us the choice of whether or not to accept His provision.  How do we recognize God’s provision, and accept it?   A good place to start is to invite Him into your life, and cultivate the habit of giving thanks in all things.

Give thanks to God for:

  • your identity: the combination of personality, temperament, history, giftness, passions, and connections that makes you totally unique in the world.
  • your value: as His precious child, someone He paid a very high price to adopt into His family. You are cherished and loved by the most amazing being in the universe. The Person that knows you best loves you most.
  • your belonging: as a member His family, And your belonging in this moment in time, and in this place in the universe:  You are not here by accident. You belong where you are.
  • your calling/direction:  to love God, yourself and others in your own unique way as you live your life.
  • your safety:  nothing/no one can touch or change your identity, value, belonging and calling IN ANY WAY. These are safe, and protected by God.  As God’s child, your existence is safe for eternity.

Be thankful for you, the person you are and are becoming. 

Be thankful for God, who fills your deepest needs abundantly, beyond all that you can ask or imagine. 

 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.                Philippians 4:19 NASB