We are taught to show hospitality to other people and to reach out with warm hellos and social greetings, extending kindnesses hoping to make others feel better about life and themselves. We cheer them up. We cheer them on. Yet, when I think about it, the one person we oftentimes neglect extending hospitality to is ourselves.
Getting healthily in tune with oneself can feel or seem a bit odd for us as Christians. We aren't used to hearing that. Many along the way have sadly taught and presented Christianity through a distorted lens of, "It's about everyone else first, then you...How you feel about something should not matter...After all, you are to sacrifice for others...You are last... You have to stay humble, right?"
I add here, it is about everyone else and you, beginning with you and your relationship with God Himself through Jesus. You are, not only, included (see Luke 10:27 below) but you are the focus of His affection. Therefore, it is healthy to reflect His sentiment toward yourself in a healthy way. Who are we to disagree with God?
It has to be God first, you, then others. That's the natural flow of things. You and I will serve God and others better when we love ourselves in a healthy way and see ourselves as God created us to be. That is, healthy and accepted Then we can reach out and show others that same love and acceptance. It is hard to give away something that you don't first have yourself.
We exchange, "This is who I am" and "This is my favorite stuff I like," secrets with besties, while people know us at the office at a business-friendly level. However, truly taking the time to nurture and show hospitality to our own selves as Christians might likely be deemed as selfish by others. Thus, head trash.
Transformed Living Action #1:
Ponder what you say to others around you in social settings or work settings. Positive, right?
Ponder what you say to yourself. Is it positive or negative?
One of my favorite scriptures over the past years has been Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Another is, Luke 10:27 (NIV) He answered, "Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself."
Wow, I feel sorry for what the neighbors are going to get in light of what I've seen some people give to themselves in the way of negative treatment, self-talk and putting themselves down, etc. I've observed more people who are down on themselves or who beat themselves up, rejecting themselves, etc.
Sadly, as it goes for self, so it goes for the neighbor.
Try looking at it like this:
Just go ahead and kill perfection…give it a quick death. Get it over with! Everyone will be better for it, starting with you.
I have adopted some new quests in my life at the age that I am enjoying. One is to celebrate and express my femininity, both bountifully and tastefully. I love being a woman and being a Christian woman, all in one. I love being feminine. I am enjoying the fruit of that choice. As my body ages and certain things begin to wind down I plan on winding up my celebrating what God has created in my unique DNA and the journey that He has assigned to me in this lifetime. I love being a Christian woman full of His life and I aim to celebrate it unapologetically, yet humbly at the same time, so that I can be my best for those whom I am called to serve. I'm turning up the celebration and kindness zones so that I can be kinder and more loving to others.
Transformed Living Action #2:
Make a decision to celebrate you and enjoy yourself, as well as others. Don't leave yourself out of that equation. Purposefully accept yourself and be kind to yourself always. Then, watch how you treat others differently, more positively as a result.
Don't say, "I will treat myself better when I have more money," or, "I will love myself when I lose weight," or, "I will like myself when I act a certain way behaviorally." Just agree with me now to stop it; stop the conditional love feast. Free yourself now by beginning to love and like you right here, right now. Then, make the changes you want as you go along. But, never stop treating yourself to goodness and kindness. I believe that it is right, scriptural, fitting AND hospitable to God and yourself.
If God as Creator said, "It is good," then, what pride would entice you to say otherwise? I agree with the Yes & Amen and Creator of the universe concerning you, "It is good!"
A happy, healthy, accepted you promotes a happy and healthier more accepting environment for others around you. I believe that is pleasing to God.
That's how it works.
As we each walk out our life's purpose, let us not allow fear to set itself up over our heads as a god. We are not to bow to it, but rather exercise dominion over it.
Let's cut off all hospitality to fear and open our doors and arms to embrace faith. Invite faith to move in. It is the best houseguest, and, really, I encourage you to allow it to simply become a vital part of your family.
In accomplishing this year we need to Guard Against:
I would say to you, "Get used to change as you are building."
If you observe the ocean, both its current and flow change.
In the same way, life has its ebbs and flows. It doesn't stand still, though at times it may seem like it does.
I encourage you to just go with the River of Life as you are in it, allowing God to lead you moment by moment by His Spirit.
Two phone calls you will receive this year, even today:
One phone call that you will want to answer every time to see if it is, indeed, for you to act upon is the phone call of opportunity.
While not every opportunity is for you, don't miss what God might be inviting you to to be a part of toward the fulfillment of your life purpose. Pray, asking God if a particular opportunity is for you.
One phone call you will always want to dismiss or ignore is FEAR.
Resist it. If we submit to God and resist the enemy, he WILL flee from us.
I encourage you to carry on with confidence in your journey,
Be sure to answer your phone when God is calling.
James 4:7 (NIV) 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Conversations With God" by Dayna Belcher, (c) 2009
"Live to attract heaven to you."
"Heaven's blessing awaits you when you wait on Me. I long to give them to you!"
Blessings of God come in different shapes and forms. Expecting and watching for those blessings along our life pathway keeps our childlike faith tanks filled.
I attended university in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, a beautiful city located in the Northeastern part of the state of Oklahoma. Tahlequah is home to gorgeous landscapes, where the seasons are distinct from one another, canoeing on the Illinois River as a much-coveted past time and rich history and presence of the Cherokee nation. I remember my surprise when I first saw the street signs there. They appeared both in English and in Cherokee. In Autumn the leaves turned to vivid, rich jewel-toned hues. Excitedly, I would mail them inserted in letters to my parents.
While studying as a music major, I worked as a staff voice lesson accompanist, working under Dr. Ralph Whitworth. I, also, taught both private voice and piano lessons on the side to supplement my income.
I recall a family whose young daughter, less than 10 years old, had much musical talent. The father brought her to me, seeking that I teach her to play piano. He and his wife had many children and lived out in the country. I remember quoting him my price to teach her and particular books that she would need to purchase for lessons. His hopeful countenance dropped. He expressed that he didn't know what to do, in that she had much musical talent, yet they could not afford the lessons. In that moment, I told him if he could find a way to purchase the books, I would teach his daughter for a time, taking my personal payment in Stillwell strawberries.
Stillwell strawberries, for those who don't know, are grown in Stillwell, Oklahoma. They are considered "gold" in strawberry language. They are sweet, delectable, palm-sized berries! They were "the" thing to have and enjoy in that region. It was a win-win for both of us. This family kept me stocked in amazing strawberries, while I taught their daughter for a time. It was a delicious barter and both of us profited.
I have no idea where they are today or what they are doing. Some of my students went on to be doctors, nurses, police officers, politicians and, yes, musicians themselves. Each one I count as one of my life blessings.