Honoring Friendship

C-3PO and R2D2

 

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10 New International Version

 

What does loyalty look like in friendship?  How do we honor our friends?  Share your thoughts or a story in the comment section.

One on One time is extremely important

Yesterday filled my heart with warm fuzzes all day. I felt the privileged glow of spending time one on one with six of my precious friends. The day grew long but entirely satisfying.

I treasure all my friends. Each one is so distinctive and as such each friendship is unique. I attempt to encourage them, be understanding when they have issues and revel in their joyful moments. I make efforts to keep in touch, remember birthdays (by the grace of God), and spend time with them when I can. But I haven’t always valued my friends as deeply as I should.

In the past I had a group of older friends who also acted as mentors in my life. I met them during a floundering season of lowness. Their presence and support buoyed me back on my spiritual feet and helped me soar to new heights.

But as time passed I didn’t appreciate them properly. I loved them but my love was shallow. I grew bored and dissatisfied. I longed for younger friends. Friends who were more physically active and who I could relate to with ease. Simply put, I was an ingrate! I acted as an ungrateful person. Maybe not on the outside because these dear ladies may not have even been aware of my selfish discontent? But my heart swelled with it.

Can you relate? Ever have a good friend who you didn’t appreciate at the time? If they remain in your life consider reaching out to them and let them feel your love and gratitude for their friendship.

 

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Proverbs 17:17 New Living Translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

Bland or Spicy?

 

 

tiny pepper plant

“Black and white is salt and pepper of colors, for life tastes bland without them.” Vikrmn

 

“Give and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Luke 6:38 New Living Translation

Recently I wrote about the detriments of the routine in a post entitled “Spicy Life”.
The reason I wrote that post was because I know what it’s like to have a “Bland Life” as well as a “Spicy Life”. I wouldn’t wish blandness on anyone, but spiciness on everyone.

Many moons ago during my bland years life was routine and needless to say, boring. I slept in ’til 10am most days after getting to bed at 2am after my shift as a proofreader. Let me tell you that proofreading medical and scientific journals for eight hours a night has got to be one of the most tedious jobs known to man! Unless of course you’re a doctor or scientist and you can actually decipher the 12 syllable words and strange symbols into some sort of meaning.

Not an interesting place to be

Seven years I did this job every evening M-F. During the daylight hours I watched a lot of cable TV which was a new luxury for me. But the enchantment of catching up with shows I’d never seen before didn’t last long. I thought there had to be something more to existing on planet earth than proofreading and TV. My life tasted bland but it took me awhile to notice. Once I perceived my own dissatisfaction, I began making small changes with God’s help.

I decided I would enjoy getting more mail. So I began writing letters to friends who had moved away expressing my desire to keep in touch. I also began making my own homemade greeting cards for friends and family. Sending letters and cards to the sick and infirm also became a mission. The letters and cards were received well and in time I received personal mail regularly. My mailbox became a source of joy both going out and coming in.

 

Because I knew the pain of loneliness, I decided I didn’t want others to feel that pain if there was something I could do to alleviate it. Thus began adventures in visiting. I started regular visits with shut-ins who were stuck in stuffy nursing homes. Later I began to include hospital visits and then  planned get togethers with family and friends.

Suddenly one day I realized my life had gone from bland to spicy because I gave what I had and God blessed it. You see, the more I gave of myself the more came back to me. It’s a Biblical principle  you can count on to hold true. (See opening verse Luke 6:38)

We all have something to offer God to touch others. Time, money, skills, talents etc. It may be cooking, cleaning, singing, art. God uses anything because He’s ingenious and gave these gifts to you in the first place.

What has God given you? If you’re not sure, ask Him. Keep your heart and mind open for the answer and then take off with God on spicy adventures of your own. Leave the bland life behind. Choose to FLURISH in spice!

“To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks the LORD has planted for His own glory.” Isaiah 61:3 New Living Translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

Spicy Life

“It’s so much easier to pray for a Bore than to go and see one.”
C.S. Lewis “Letters to Malcolm”

Got any interesting routines in your life? Most of us have at least morning routines to help us get our day started. Alarm. A cup of coffee or tea. A Shower. Brush teeth. Get dressed. etc. I usually throw in a few stretches to start pumping the blood before I don my work uniform.

Routines can be extremely helpful when attempting to maintain a time schedule. But routines can also be a detriment. The problem with routines are they can become. . . routine. Yeah, they become so automatic that we may not even consider them routine but a part of who we are. That ‘part’ can becoming boring.

Do you think of yourself as boring? Do you feel bored?  Do others shy away from you at social gatherings? If so, you may have stumbled into the rut of the routine, operating mechanically, without passion or conscious thought. The longer you keep your routines, the more enslaved by them you become. You can morph into a boor. Is this what you want?

Consider God and His consistent love affair with variety. He spills unending assortments into our world through color, shapes, sounds, seasons, creatures, food, topography, emotions, plants, and so on constituting an entire universe exploding with diversity.

Flower fields of color—San Diego, CA

“Variety is the very spice of life” a familiar phrase written by English poet William Cowper in his work entitled “The Task’. Fifteenth century dramatist Aphra Behn stated the same thought this way, “Variety is the soul of pleasure.”

Maybe its time to change things up a bit? Explore a new interest or hobby? Visit someone you haven’t seen for a long time? Try new foods? Take the scenic route from time to time. Whatever you have to do to break the monotonous spell of the routine. Unless of course, you enjoy being bored and possibly boring?

If you sense you could be boring or a boor and you wish you were different, here are a few tips that may help:

Try photography
  1. Read more— magazines of various types, books, newspapers etc. The more interesting and diverse issues you can converse about the more interesting you will be perceived. You will no longer fear discussions when you have new information to share.
  2. Develop multiple hobbies. Start trying new things you may never have considered in the past. You might be surprised to find enjoyment from an unlikely source.
  3. Explore new places even if it starts close to home. Just follow your nose to unfamiliar areas and then widen your circumference of exploration as time and finances allow.
  4. Challenge yourself to do one spontaneous thing each week, even if it seems silly. Example; Buy an outfit that is totally unlike anything else you own whether in style or color. Or sign up for lessons of some sort like dance or cooking or ask a friend to teach you a skill they have.
Dance classes?

I hope you choose to FLURISH in variety rather than relegate yourself to routine!

Shine on. . .
karan k

Love the Alps! Have you seen them?

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 3:11-13 New International Version

State of Darkness

Today at work after setting up my booth for a day of collecting fares, suddenly out went all the lights. There we were before sunrise in complete darkness. Motorists could not differentiate between lanes of EZPass or cash because the lights and signs were not illuminated. Talk about dangerous. This state of darkness continued for a half hour.

Working in darkness smacked of eeriness and having no heat added its own effect. As a chilling mist mixed in the shadows and crept across my skin, I had to feel rather than see to do most everything. I easily could have made mistakes when customers made their way to my booth. I couldn’t see where to put the ticket into the machine. My money drawer being black did not help matters. I had to feel each coin and hope I pulled out the correct bills when making change.

At any rate it made for an interesting start to my morning. I looked forward to the sun coming up so I could see what I was doing AND be seen by oncoming traffic. Thankfully, no one was hurt during this dilemma.

What do we do when the lights suddenly go out in our lives? Darkness falls in the form of uncertainty or calamity. What do we do? Grope around in the dark or wait for the light to shine again confident that it will return?

Those of us who know Jesus, the Light of the world are assured of His presence to guide us through dark times but what about people around us who don’t yet know Him?

Their entire existence has been spent in the dark. All they know how to do is inch forward clumsily with no direction, feeling their way from point A to B because they have no light. Desperately they try to avoid pits and traps they can’t see. For them each day can be a scary struggle of its own.

Allow the Light of the world to shine out of you to those who may be seeking to find their way. Light makes all the difference in the darkness.

“But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?” Romans 10:14 New Living Translation

Speak with friends, family, whoever will hear

Perhaps you know some who have become accustomed to the dark? Their inner eyeballs have adjusted and grown comfy in its murkiness. They exist doing as they please whether they hurt themselves and/or others. Taking such pain in stride they continue willingly in the blackness. They don’t believe they need the Light.

Shine His light and love on them anyway. God knows their heart and how to draw them out of the darkness but He may want to use you to do it. Work with Him. Don’t be afraid of the dark, you hold the light inside your heart.

 

Let His light shine daily because there is coming a deeper darkness than we have ever experienced.  [read about it in Matthew 24]  When it arrives how will we react? We  light-bearers need to be ready practicing how to reflect His light in this present darkness so that we may be glowing  beacons for those stumbling even now in the gathering shadows.

Shine on. . .
karan k

“. . . the people who sat in darkness have seen a great Light. And for those who lived in a land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined. From then on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’ ” Matthew 4:16 + 17 New Living Translation

Practical Columbo [people pleaser finale’]

“If you live for people’s acceptance you will die from their rejection.” Lecrae

Let that sink in.

 

Columbo always made me think

Now are there any Columbo fans out there? For those unfamiliar, “Columbo ” was a successful TV crime drama that ran from 1960 to 2003. Lt. Columbo, played mostly by actor Peter Falk was noted for the phrase “Just one more thing”. So I’m sharing one more time some thoughts from my own ongoing journey to overcome people pleasing:

Listen up People Pleasers: Learn your own limitations. Each of us have different energy levels. Too much people pleasing can deplete our energy affecting our health and close relationships leading to serious breakdowns in either or both. Remember the opening quote.

“If you live for people’s acceptance you’ll die from their rejection.”

How many nonessential activities can you handle each week and remain fresh and lively? If you feel sluggish or grumpy, perhaps you need to cut back? It’s not wrong to put yourself first now and then when the motivation is to rejuvenate and stave off resentment!

 

What do your life commitments look like to those who care about you? Ask them for their honest opinion. Listen with a mind willing to make adjustments.

Another Columbo catch phrase; “There’s something that bothers me” and that is, people pleasers need practical tips to reform. So here goes:

 

Realize you always have a choice: It may not be apparent to you right away, but look for options. Don’t let fear pressure you to take the road more comfortable. That choice could lead to deeper pain later down that same road.

Columbo’s Wheels

Set your priorities ahead of time: Know what you believe and why about yourself, your capabilities and your faith. This is an area to revisit often throughout your life as you grow and change.

 

Stall for time to pray about the request: This is key. Telling the person/persons making a request of you that you need time to pray and consider their request will help you make the best decision. It gives you time alone with God and away from the pressure of answering in a weak moment.

 

“For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.”
I Thessalonians 2:4 New Living Translation

“What did you pay for those shoes?” Another famous Columbo question. My answer? Doesn’t matter because I like them and they were worth the price.” Said with confidence and a wink.

Shine on. . .
karan k

“Oh, just one more thing:” Be advised that saying “No” to some people could cause unfavorable backlash. This is to be expected and all part of the process for becoming a reformed people pleaser.

 

 

People Pleaser Burnout Remedy

 

Ever have a day all to yourself to do exactly what you want? To do what makes you jazzed, relaxed, happy? What did you do? Or what would you do if you haven’t taken one of these extraordinary days?

As a people pleaser it is beyond difficult to steal an entire day away from others, but believe it or not, it’s not impossible and it’s a command from God.

 

The fourth commandment says in the Amplified Bible;
“[Earnestly] remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (withdrawn from common employment and dedicated to God). Exodus 2:8

Suffering burnout from People Pleasing? You can prevent it.

I recently heard a message by Jeff Henderson from a DVD series called Life Apps* that focussed on the subject of REST in a believers life. Most of us were taught the Ten Commandments from a young age. I thought the fourth one about the Sabbath was a day we should set aside for worshipping God, which is entirely correct. What I didn’t understand is the various forms of worship.

Worship doesn’t always have to take place in a church. Worship doesn’t always have to be reserved for Sundays. Worship can be more than reading the Bible, praying and singing to God. Are any of these thoughts foreign to you?

 

What I happily gleaned from Jeff Henderson’s message is that setting time apart to be with God can and should be not only restful but fun. One of the ideas of the Sabbath is to relax and find renewed energy and passion for the things of God. So sometimes we have to do something else to recharge. Something we enjoy. Something like reading a good book, playing golf, taking photographs, whatever it is that you find fun, relaxing and renewing.

“So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of GOD. For who can eat or enjoy anything apart form Him?” Ecclesiastes 2:24 & 25 New Living Translation

 

Our God wants us to enjoy the life He gave us. He instilled personality and interests in each of us that we need time to develop to become His whole and satisfied people. As individuals we can shine and FLURISH for God wherever we are but we must take time for His Sabbath rest regularly. And that comes down to trust.

 

Trusting Him to help us get all our other responsibilities finished in six days. After all, since He created the entire universe in 6 days and took a rest on the seventh, we should take at least that much.

Will you trust Him? Put people pleasing aside or any other hindrance.  Take a 24 hour sabbath getaway once a week. This is God’s time management for you. Is He Lord of your time? I’m trying this twist on it and so far it’s freeing and fabulous!

When we obey and do things His way we can can come back to our regular duties after resting and they may no longer seem like duties. His Spirit will have adjusted our attitudes and our priorities. We will be more energized, passionate and replenished to do His work.

Ponder Mark 2:25-28 Share your thoughts.

Shine on. . .
karan k

*(DVD series Life Apps by North Point Resources—- highly recommended if you are in search of a study for a small group).

People Pleasers Anonymous

Ever feel like everybody wants or needs something from you? No matter what you do it’s never enough and more is desired and EXPECTED? Nobody remembers what you’ve done for them in the past, recent or long past. They just scream for more NOW. It’s frustrating to the point of insanity if you’re a people pleaser.

A few days ago I found myself feeling pressured because two people I care about both wanted more from me than I could give. My insides churned and I wasn’t sure how to handle it. I talked to God about it and realized He wanted me to shed a bit more of my people pleasing skin. The process can be lengthy and painful.

People pleasing sounds like you’re being nice and doing the right thing, especially as a Christian. You’re aiming to be God’s faithful servant to all who cross your path, right? Perhaps a super human could do this but not you or I.

Jesus who was God yet human when He walked the earth and now seated at the right hand of God, didn’t please everyone. A lot of His own people longed for Him to free them from oppressive Roman rule.  He actually had the power to do that. But He didn’t. He didn’t please them.

He also didn’t please those suffering from hunger or debilitating diseases. Again, He had the power to end world hunger and obliterate sickness and disease but He didn’t. He fed and healed a great many but not all. Jesus was not a people pleaser.

 

Who are you trying to please?

Jesus was on a mission from His Father and it did not include pleasing all the people all the time, did it? So why do some of us strive to accomplish that wearisome task?

 

What are your thoughts on people pleasing? Are you like me, caught in its trap? We can’t let this weight hinder us from FLURISHING.

This subject may need further probing? Stay tuned.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 English Standard Version

Shine on. . .
karan k