Trophies…just trophies

(Image not mine)

I feel like I haven’t been living with very much vision for my life. I feel like I should be setting bigger goals and then going about attaining them. In the workplace, I would like to be a Director one day. I wouldn’t want to be any higher in the ladder than that…but I do want to go about two levels higher than where I’m at. I would also like to own multiple properties…a relatively stable investment with long term growth. And tax shelter. I want to travel to every continent. See the world. I want to paint again. Dance. Be physically fit and reach my goal weight.

If I want these things, then maybe I need to set smaller goals that lead to the big one and go about achieving each step right? Maybe I need to be more proactive about looking for career building opportunities. Maybe I need to just make myself get that gym membership or sign up for classes. Maybe I should start looking for a little condo apartment to invest in for rental income. Didn’t someone say once, “The best way to get something done is to just do it“?

I shared this with Skywalker.

Why do these things matter? Why do you want them?

Well, it’s nice to be able to say I’ve been a good steward of resources and be able to produce fruits of my labor. It adds to security too. And I’d feel more accomplished. I might not save the world from disease, but for myself, I would have something to show.

Do those things really add security though?

Good point. No. My security is in Christ alone. All those things could be wiped with another economic crash or natural disaster. It’s happened before and it will certainly happen again.

Would your collection of trophies last in Heaven? Not that the things you mentioned are bad, but that’s what the world goes after. It’s all going to go through the fire…will it matter then?

Probably not. And now I feel a little sheepish. I know I’m to build eternal things, reach for the treasure that is in Heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. Yet the pull of going after those things have seeped into my being. The pull of collecting trophies. Trophies that will feed my pride. Trophies that could become my idols. I have to admit, they’re just trophies at the end of the day. Thank you Skywalker for speaking Truth into those rambled thoughts!

It’s a hard balance…we ARE to be resourceful and good stewards of our material wealth. We ARE to grow whatever we’ve been given…whether much or little. But not just material things….spiritual things as well. Do I have goals for that? Am I looking for ways to spread God’s love and compassion? What eternal things am I building? (Though really, I know I’m not the one building…God is.) Those are the questions that are probably of greater importance in the light of eternity. But it’s also not as tangible…and that is what I struggle with. I can’t “see” results. I suppose that also minimizes the temptation to be proud over what *I* accomplished. A life of faith is totally not about works, but it’s not easy either. So I blunder forward, praying for direction and discernment. Anyone else going through this?

A Different Christmas

It’s the first week of December. And as Christmas is drawing near, I find myself not “feeling Christmassy” AT ALL. There’s no inclination to put up the tree yet. No thoughts of digging out the decorations. Though I am considering writing a mad batch of Christmas cards to send. Mulling over this lack of enthusiasm for the season, I realize it’s because the constant innundating of commercials and over the top Christmas sales ads have made this time into something superficial, hollow and empty….when it should be one of the most joyful and thankful seasons we Christians celebrate. I tend to find myself sliding into the frency and this year, I just don’t want to take part in it.

I think all of us have children in our lives whether our own or our friends’/families’ children and I feel a deep need to start changing our and their generation’s perception of Christmas…to refocus it on Christ. I’m sure we’ve all seen kids rip through their mountains of gifts so fast they barely saw what was in their hands before tossing it aside to open the next gift. And while most have been taught in Sunday School that “It’s better to give than receive”…or that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”….sometimes it’s really hard to live that out. Myself included!

What if we said something very radical and un-American, like: “Our family is going to celebrate Jesus this year in a manner worthy of a humble Savior who was born to two poor teenagers in a barn and yet still managed to rescue humanity.”

This quote is from “The Christmas Conundrum“…a blog post passed by one of my pastors….it’s a great read, with great but challenging ideas on how to start reclaiming Christmas for Christ. Hope it’ll encourage you (to encourage others) to break from the cultural norms of consumerism we’re surrounded with. Hope there’s meaningful ideas in there to add to your traditions. There certainly is for me.

Let’s do Christmas differently…joyously.

Marriage > Parents

As we’re making our plans to move to the Coast, I sometimes can’t help the feeling that I seem to be taking my in-law’s son away from them. It probably doesn’t help that this was an issue for my Grandma when my uncle moved away decades ago….so my family is always asking, “Are your in-laws mad at you?” “Do they blame you?” There has been no indication of such….but I can tell they really don’t want to see Skywalker so far away.

Certainly me being in the picture, already owning a condo on the Coast, married to their son, makes it that much easier for Skywalker to check “Live on the coast” off his bucket list. Mind you, San Diego was more what he had in mind…but hey….we can start North and then head South later. Would he have made the same decision had I not been in the picture? He said, “Maybe.”

This is only the third time I’m moving to the same Coast….so it’s almost old news for my parents. They were always prepared for their daughter to go wherever the husband goes…but I know they still would rather see me live closer.

Talking to PRCow recently, we shared similar thoughts that children should eventually leave their parents, but a husband and wife should always be together. This is biblical. (And it’s very different from how the world sees children as theirs forever while the spouse can be temporary.) Similarly, we agreed with the perspective that your marriage also needs to be of higher priority than what your parents want. I’m not saying AT ALL that we can dishonor, disrespect or disregard our parents. God rebukes such people. Rather, the emphasis is on your promise to your husband/wife to be joined as one primary unit, in heart, mind, body and spirit.

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.  ~ Genesis 2:24

Above anyone else’s influence, suggestions, demands, requests, etc…while their opinions might be weighed in and considered, any decision made that will affect your primary unit (you and your spouse) needs to be made jointly. This way no blame can be laid on the other. “If only you hadn’t listened to your father’s crazy advice!” “Do you have to do everything your mother asks??” Once there is blame, there is room for resentment, and with resentment, bitterness…which ultimately kills love.

So, take the time to talk it through with your spouse. Everyone needs to be honest in laying out their thoughts and feelings before confirming the decision being made is one you jointly agree to.  Once it’s made, forever hold your peace! Even if it doesn’t go well, don’t let blame grow in your heart, but support each other and help pick up the pieces if it comes to it.

Last week I laid my thoughts and fears on the table and we talked through it. I have full assurance from Skywalker we’re doing this together. This move is OUR decision. For better or worse we’re in it together. And I am thankful.

Top 5 Regrets From Dying People —-

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Taken from The Buried Life….here’s the full post.

Top Five

After mulling a little bit, and getting inspiration from friends like Ms PR, I’ve come up with my top five priorities in answer to point two in this post. I can tell it’s going to be hard…maybe not to some…but definitely to me. If I may ask, please say a prayer for me to have the discipline, determination and drive to follow through daily! Thanks!

  1. Get at least 10 hrs of sleep every night.
  2. Get out of the house once a day.
  3. Do something creative once a day (draw, write, paint, create, etc).
  4. Eat healthy meals on time.
  5. Declutter the house….and stay decluttered.

Today, I did all five!  (^_^)
The hard part is to keep it up.