Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas To Not Do List--repost

I've been slacking on the blog front lately, so I thought you might enjoy a re-post of a former Christmas piece.  Actually, I have posted this the last two years to remind myself that Christmas is not about how much I can get done, it is about the birth of a Savior--my Savior.  And that's what I need to be about--not all the business and fervor that can characterize the season. 

Read it and make your own TO NOT DO List.  That way, you can keep Christ--and not craziness--in your Christmas!

Christmas TO NOT DO list
  • I will not stress myself out to make Lefse. I will just go to Story City, where all Lefse-makers live, and buy it.
  • I will not worry about making the contents of the children’s stockings equal.
  • I will not host holiday parties when I don’t enjoy it.
  • I will not stay up all hours of the night creating something complex and homemade in my sewing room just so I can say “I made it.”
  • I will not force myself to put the decoration boxes in the storage room when no one can see them in the porch.
  • I will not feel compelled to write numerous blog posts explaining the true meaning of Christmas.
  • I will not write something personal on each and every Christmas card.
  • I will not feel compelled to send an extra Christmas card to those people to whom we didn’t send one when I get their card in the mail.
  • I will not feel compelled to have homemade peanut butter cookies with Hershey kisses on top in my freezer.
  • I will not make a gingerbread house.
  • I will not use holiday placemats.
  • I will not go out and buy more Christmas paper if ours runs out.  I will just use the ugly peach stuff I bought for the school fundraiser.
  • I will not clean my house every Monday if I want to do Christmas stuff.
  • I will not force my family to listen to “Read Aloud Family Christmas” every night after dinner.
  • I will not grieve that no one in my house wants to do the count-to-Christmas calendar anymore.
  • I will not force myself to learn Spanish or learn how to knit.
  • I will not get mad at myself if I want to sit in my polka-dotted chair and drink tea and read other people’s blogs.
  • I will not force my children or any other member of my family to unnecessarily clean their rooms, or their closets, or the kitchen, or the cat’s house, or the porch, or the garage. Even if I have company coming over who I don’t really need to impress with my immaculate cleanliness anyways.
  • Actually, Tess hacked my blog and wrote that last one, but I will abide by it.
Ahhhhh.  I feel so relaxed.  Isn’t Christmas grand?

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 

Luke 2:11

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Confessions of a Reformed Feeler: Part 4

In my posts over the last few weeks, I have shared with you the struggles of being a feeler.  I did this so you thinking folk might have some insight to our worlds.  But now, for my final feeler post, I want to tell you why the world needs feelers and why I’m glad God made me one.  Here goes:

It really goes back to Genesis 2, where God created Adam; Adam had just finished naming all the animals that God had created, but found no suitable helper for himself.  Then God created another person—this time, Eve. Eve was perfect for Adam; she was his perfect complement.

noun   ˈkämpləmənt/
a thing that completes or brings to perfection.

As his complement, Eve completed Adam and made him a more proper reflection of the Father.  God is a multifaceted being and we reflect Him most accurately when we live in community with others in a harmonious way.  As feelers, then, we show a part of the Father that cannot be reflected by our thinking friends.  And when we live with them in understanding and unity, we show humanity a fuller picture of God Himself. 

In a world of thinkers alone, processes would be efficient and logical, but much of the flavor and beauty of life would be missing.  Feelers add color and depth.  Their perspective on God helps us to see Him as Fatherly, compassionate, and approachable.  Many passages in the Bible that show us how God feels.  His great sadness is shown in Hosea 11 when the people He formed reject Him: 

“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
But the more they were called,
the more they went away from me.
They sacrificed to the Baals
and they burned incense to images.
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
a little child to the cheek,
and I bent down to feed them.”

God cries when he must punish His people and He says through Jeremiah (14:17):

"Speak this word to them: "'Let my eyes overflow with tears night and day without ceasing; for the Virgin Daughter, my people, has suffered a grievous wound, a crushing blow.

We know that God demonstrates joy because we are told in Nehemiah 8:10 that  

“The joy of the Lord is [our] strength.”

God is a feeler too.  We can see him feeling and thinking throughout the entire Bible. 

We feelers reflect Him most accurately when we:

·      Feel loved by the beauty of a sunset or the remembrance of God’s faithfulness
·      Write a card or say a prayer for a friend because we truly feel their pain
·      Cry when we sense injustice or oppression
·      Love our children powerfully and understand God’s love for us because of this
·      Have joy bubble up in our souls for simple things like fireflies and snowflakes and flannel sheets
·      Have faith in God because we trust Him and we don’t need everything to make sense
·      Feel the nudging of the Holy Spirit and step out of our comfort zone
·      Call our Father “Abba” because we feel His abiding love for us
·      Commit to others, deeply and from the heart, and serve them because we love them.
·      Enjoy relationships and harmony over isolation and productivity
·      Despise conflict and desire peace
·      Include others when we notice them feeling left out
·      Use our idealism to serve God and others despite popular opinion
·      Bring great passion to relationships, projects and performance
·      Use warmth and sweetness to draw others to ourselves and God.

As feelers, we are able to experience some of the deep sadness that God expresses in the Bible.   We can also embrace the palpable joy spoken of so often in the Psalms (although we must be careful not to make OUR joy our only goal).  God has made us just as He wanted—a perfect complement for His thinking children.  When we use these powerful emotions to show what is Good about God and not what is evil about ourselves, we are operating within His original design.  Anytime we do things the way that God wants them done, there is rest—not restlessness—and contentment.

So…feeler rejoice!  God has rescued you from yourself!  And when you give Him all of yourself, He can make you into what He has always intended you to be—completely beautiful—inside and out.  He did this because He loves you.  And you are precious to Him.

Choose Him;
FEEL rightly;
God will be glorified.

But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,

    he who formed you, Israel:

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters,

    I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

    they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

    you will not be burned;

    the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the Lord your God,

    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

I give Egypt for your ransom,

    Cush and Seba in your stead.

Since you are precious and honored in my sight,

    and because I love you,

I will give people in exchange for you,

    nations in exchange for your life.

Do not be afraid, for I am with you;

    I will bring your children from the east

    and gather you from the west.

I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’

    and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’

Bring my sons from afar

    and my daughters from the ends of the earth—

everyone who is called by my name,

    whom I created for my glory,

    whom I formed and made.”

Isaiah 43:1-7