In the line of Sunday’s post, here, I am thinking about gifts you can give. These gifts don’t require money, don’t need wrapped, and can be given to anyone, anytime of the year. They do have a cost—gifts always do—these gifts require you to put your self on the back burner. What are these versatile, but costly, gifts?
Patience. It’s especially needed this time of the year. It’s in short supply, and therefore is more needed and more valuable. It costs a person to be patient, rather than grumbling, being obnoxious, complaining about how slow the cashier is, and practically pushing people aside to get to the head of the line.
Flexibility. Ok, you are doing last-minute shopping, you meant to get that special gift earlier, but circumstances beyond your control stepped in, and the special gift isn’t available online or in any store. What to do? Take a deep breath, and be flexible. Think of that in the broadest terms possible. Don’t think of it as a specific gift, look at it like this: what need or want did that gift fill? Can you get something else that will work? Flexibility is a gift you can give yourself as you give to others. To be flexible means I’m not demanding something be exactly the way I want it. If I can be flexible, I don’t get stressed out about a situation.
Compassion. I am not talking about sending money to charities here, but rather being aware of a individual’s need and stepping in to do whatever you can to help. Maybe it is giving that person money, or a gift card for food, or buying a whole turkey dinner, taking it to the person, and helping them prepare it. Maybe it is sitting down with the person and taking time to listen with your whole heart—not planning what you want to say, not judging what he or she says—but just listening. Many people in various circumstances need the gift of compassion expressed as listening.
Willingness to withhold judgment. This is hard for me. I tend to think I know everything about a person’s situation based on what it looks like on the surface. LOL! People are complex; life is complex; there’s a lot going on below, so it’s always best not to judge.
A break. Yes, give yourself and others a break. Remember that whether or not you get everything done when you want it done, how you want it done, whether your family members get along or not—your value as a person does not depend on any of those things. Your value as a person does not depend on what other people say or think about you. Your value as a person depends solely on the fact that God loves you. In His eyes, you (and everybody else) have tremendous value. His view is the only one that ultimately matters. Think along His view, and you’ll have less stress, more joy, and be able to give the other “gifts” on the list easier.
Happy New Year!
Scripture references: I Corinthians 13: 4,5, Romans 3: 23,24, John 3:16, Romans 5: 6-9, Philippians 4: 6-8
As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”—one you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.
People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them The Keys, by Mike Bechtle, is a book I would have liked to have read years ago. That would have saved me considerable frustration, with myself and with others. It explains some things I’ve wondered about for a long time (like why I can’t come up with a quick reply in a conversation).
As the title suggests, this is not a textbook (read “dry and boring”) type of book. Instead, Dr. Bechtle uses personal illustrations, humor, and stories to make his points about dealing with difficult people, whether they be family members, co-workers, bosses, or others you spend time with regularly. You know—those people who just DRIVE YOU CRAZY!
Some points which jumped out at me are:
You can’t change other people; you can only change yourself. You can influence other people, but it has to be their decision to change.
Change comes slowly, whether to you or the other person. “Crazy people” learned those behaviors over time, so it takes time to change.
Crazy people may drive you crazy, but they are still human, still made in God’s image. The craziness isn’t all there is about that person.
The “old-fashioned” virtues of kindness, humility, patience, and gratitude are still needed as you deal with your crazy person.
Set boundaries and be prepared to sound like a broken record to defend your boundaries. You will need to defend them.
A person’s basic temperament—whether introverted or extroverted—doesn’t change, so don’t try. To try just puts a lot more stress on the relationship, and neither one of you needs that.
What you can’t change, you can often adapt to.
Be proactive, not reactive. Dr. Bechtle suggests ways to give thought to situations, and then act upon what you’ve considered, instead of having a “knee-jerk” reaction. This one point alone made the book valuable for me, a person who tends to react, but wants to move away from that tendency.
Thoughts lead to emotions, which lead to behaviors. A change in thought patterns means a change in emotions, which means behaviors change.
There is quite a difference between expectations, and expectancy. Expectations about people often lead to bitter disappointment; expectancy means you are operating from a position of hope. You know there are no guarantees that your crazy person will change, but there’s the possibility.
This book is about relationships; it’s really about the importance of faith and hope in relationships with difficult people.
People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them The Keys is one of the most helpful books I’ve ever read about personality and relationships. It’s a book I’ll read again, probably soon; this time, to take notes.
COVID-19 brought a lot of change to the world. As I read different headlines from around the world, I thought about the attention given to money and nations’ economies. I thought about the things money can’t do, because contrary to what the world in general thinks, money has its limits.
Money can’t automatically protect a person from getting sick. Many celebrities said they were diagnosed with COVID-19. Yes, money certainly helps pay the bills after a person gets sick, but money conveys no physical immunity to a person.
Money can’t buy security (related to #1). Money can pay security guards, but they can’t do anything to give a person inward security—that possession that lasts despite circumstances.
Money can’t buy patience. Patience is one virtue we all need in these days of waiting in longer lines, waiting on the phone or on a chat line for a technician, waiting to see family or friends, waiting for test results, waiting to get better or for a loved one to get better. Who can buy patience at a store? No one, not even the richest man on earth.
Money can’t buy kindness and caring. I have a friend who lives about 30 minutes away. She was willing to do shopping for my mother and I and leave the items on the porch. We didn’t need her to do that, but I was touched that she was willing to do so. Someone who prefers to remain anonymous sent me a $50 gift card. Money can’t buy kindness; it has to come from the heart.
Money can’t buy simple joys. By simple joys, I mean seeing a sunrise or sunset that takes your breath away, or looking up at the summer night-time sky and marveling at all the stars you can see. Nature’s delights didn’t come by money, so no matter how low your bank account is, or how much in debt you are, you can still enjoy them.
Money can’t buy overall health. It can buy doctors’ time, and supplies, and health insurance. For instance, I’ve been told I have arthritis in different places. I left the retail job I had because it was difficult to contend with health issues and work too. I was making more money per hour than I’d ever made. Even if I made twice that amount, if my knee, my wrist, or my back started to hurt, trust me—I’d feel it—no matter how much money I made.
Money can’t buy dependability. Dependability is in a person’s character. Money can’t buy the inner qualities of a person. The person either has it or not.
The next time I start thinking money is everything, I’ll read my list and remember money is a tool. It can do a lot, and provide for a lot, but there’s a lot it can’t do.
A problem I have is my lack of persistence. It’s all too easy for me to give up.
One day as I gazed at a little country creek , I realized God provided an object lesson for me. The creek contends with rocks, fallen trees, the remnant of an old railroad bridge, and other obstacles on its way to its destination, a larger creek. Nothing holds the little creek back. It keeps on going–over, under, around or through the obstacle. It never gives up, never gives in, and eventually reaches the merger with the bigger creek.
What a lesson for me, given anew every time I look at the creek. How well am I learning? Slowly, but I am improving.
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:3,4, King James Version
“What we hope ever to do with ease, we may learn first to do with diligence.” Samuel Johnson, Pope, (Lives of the Poets)
Somehow I think I should be able to do everything perfectly–the first time. If not the first time, then the second. If not the second time, well then, definitely the third. If I still don’t get it, there must be something wrong with me, right?
I have the above quote on my computer. Almost every day I read it and the message I get is this: I need to be patient with myself, give myself grace and space to get used to doing new things. I am not mechanically inclined; I get confused easily when working with even the simplest tools to do the simplest chores. Anyone unfortunate enough to be working with me needs a lot of patience.
Samuel Johnson’s words now serve as a guide and learning plan for me.
Author’s Note: My friend Lori suggested “Kozy Kitties” for the title, so I wanted to give her credit. “Kozy Kitties” sounded much better to me than my title of “Comfortable Cats”.
Today’s Friday Photos switches from scenery to cats–cats enjoying the comforts of home.
Pumpkin and Tiger –cats are known as heat-seekers, and these brothers prove it!
Boots came to me from a neighbor who couldn’t keep him any more.
Pumpkin and Tiger, along with their mother, brother and sister, were feral cats. After months of dry cat food and milk the felines decided they really did want to be indoor cats. The above picture shows that while they had to give up the freedom (and dangers) of life in the wild, they learned to appreciate household comforts.
Boots arrived much later. After a few anxious days of hissing, growling, and some feline boxing, the resident cats, of whom two were Pumpkin and Tiger, tolerated Boots. (I think it helped that Boots was a big cat, as big or even a little bigger than Pumpkin, Tiger, and their brother Shorty.) Boots tolerated them–a huge step for him because he had been the only cat at the neighbor’s. It required some patience but gradually everybody moved from tolerance to acceptance.
One day I was angry at myself because I hadn’t accomplished as much as I wanted. Inwardly I beat myself up for it, and then of course, felt even worse. (Ever do that to yourself?)
As I went through some old papers my gaze fell on one entitled, “How’s Your Love Life?” The paper was a checklist based on a Bible passage– verses 4-7 of I Corinthians, chapter 13, often called “The Love Chapter” because it gives aspects of God’s love. The paper listed such qualities as: patience, kindness, humility (ie., not being arrogant, not boastful, not “full of oneself”, willing to put others first), respect for others, forgiveness, and the ability to be slow to anger.
The reader was encouraged to rate himself/herself on how patient, kind, etc. he/she was with family, friends, and other relationships.
The thought occurred to me: How loving am I with myself? How patient am I with myself? Do I treat myself in a kindly way? Or do I say things to myself such as, ” You are so stupid! Why did you do that? ” or “You are such a klutz; you trip over anything.” or “I’ll never change; I’ll always be (fill in the blank).
Typed on screen, those words seem harsh; they are. I keep thinking phrases like the above are motivating, but in reality they aren’t. The attitudes revealed in those phrases actually keep me from making helpful changes, and I spiral downward from there. Negative leads to more negative.
I want positive changes in my life, so I am moving out of Negative-Land. I need help with the move, so I am asking God for help to treat myself with the consideration that His attitudes, as revealed in I Corinthians, chapter 13 show.
I'm Joanna, a busy married mum of two beautiful boys aged four and three. I'm sharing my experiences as I navigate the wonderful world of motherhood! Mistakes, routines, mum / life hacks, cleaning, beauty...little bit of everything!
You must be logged in to post a comment.