Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Don't Waste the Gift

Sorry for the delay in posting. I had a totally different blog post in mind but it wasn't coming together so I switched it up until something started to flow. Even though it's after midnight on Tuesday in New York, at least it's Tuesday somewhere out there. :)

We live in an imperfect world with a lot of stress and drama. In the midst of those difficult seasons, there are moments we take out our frustrations on the ones closest to us. I know it's happened to me more than I care to admit. The very people who are the most supportive and caring often see the uglier sides of us. Unfortunately, we sometimes put our best foot forward with those we barely now and set our loved ones on the back burner. Without a proper perspective, it is so easy to take all of God's blessings for granted but especially our friends and family. That perspective can only be shifted as we worship and wait at throne of our Eternal God and King...

The eternal God is your refuge, 
and His everlasting arms are under you.
- Deuteronomy 33:27

In the beginning of our chapter, Sarah tells us that as we worship at the throne of the King, we are to "celebrate these special people and don't waste the gift that they are to us..." (Stress Point, p. 127). Do you see your family members as gifts? When is the last time you stopped to celebrate your loved ones? We celebrate a lot of things, momentary things, like when our favorite team wins or someone has a birthday or you got the new iPhone. Celebrating people 'just because' is not always regular occurrence. Yet those special friends and family members are the true gifts we have been blessed with.

Growing up, my parents would randomly declare it to be "I love Jenny day" (or Matthew or Mommy or Daddy... we all got impromptu "I love you" days). It was always so exciting! There was normally a small gift involved, and sometimes our favorite meal or going out someplace cool, but I don't honestly don't recall anything of that. I just remember feeling so special... knowing I was special... because I was loved. And that was the point. 

For my 30th birthday, my friends back in Chicago threw me a surprise party, hosted by my dearly loved Christen who passed away in January. There was great food and beautifully-written cards but what was most special was the gift of their presence. I can't remember anything I unwrapped that day but I vividly recall sitting in that living room being overwhelmed with the words each person shared. Words of encouragement, special memories, scriptures, laughter and even tears. I sat there, blown away by the love they shared with me. Humbled that I meant that much to them and honored to be surrounded by such precious people. At the end of that wonderful evening, one person shared that it was like an "enoculation of God's love" for me. An accurate description. 
It felt like an "I love Jenny" day all over again. 

What's even more amazing than that is I can have an "I love Jenny" day and you can have an "I love _____" day everyday. How? By worshiping and waiting at the throne of our Eternal God and King. The One who loves us unconditionally and desires to pour that love out in great measure everyday. It's not that He doesn't show His love to us everyday, He does. 
All day, everyday, forever. It's just that when our focus is self and our present moment, we miss it. Yet, when we find ourselves in God's presence regularly, we will know how awesome He is and how special we are to Him. And then, we recognize just how much He has blessed us, we just want to display His love to others.  When we celebrate His love, we can celebrate the love HE gives us for others. 

Don't waste the gift.
The gift of God's love. 
The gift of your love for others. 
The gift of others loving you.

All too often it takes a tragedy to realign our priorities. We wish we could go back in time to say all the things that were in our heart but failed to verbalize enough, or sometimes, at all. Tomorrow is not promised. The only relationship that will last forever is the one with our Eternal God. Don't wait until you have the right amount of money for some extravagant present. You or I will never find the perfect scenario (or the "Hallmark" moment, as Sarah calls it). Interrupt your friend or family member's day with a celebration of love. Just because. 

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. 
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. - 1 John 4:7-12

Teach us to number our days carefully so that
we may develop wisdom in our hearts. - Psalm 90:12

When is the last time you stopped to celebrate the ones you love?  

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