What I Want for Valentine’s Day

What I Want for Valentine’s Day

My husband gets these posts in his email inbox. I’m sure when he sees the title of this one he’ll open it eagerly to see what will make his wife happy this year. In our culture many guys feel a lot of pressure around Valentine’s Day, searching for the thing that will impress that special someone, or at least get her off his back for another year.

If you watch TV at all you’ve certainly seen the advertisements for chocolate-covered strawberries and life-size teddy bears. (And Honey, as much as I love chocolate-covered strawberries, that’s NOT what I want this year.) Merchants must love taking advantage of this holiday.

Have you ever noticed how almost all the promotion around this holiday centers around things a guy would give to his girl – flowers, cards, candy, teddy bears, and yes, chocolate-covered strawberries? Don’t guys want anything? Sure, there are cards wives give to their husbands on this day. But perhaps we should promote fishing lures, remote controls, or cordless drills on Valentine’s Day. Then guys would look forward to it as much as their wives and girlfriends!

What is it that women are looking for on Valentine’s Day? Why is there so much angst from men to satisfy what they often don’t understand? Why do women feel lost and alone if they don’t get what they’re looking for?

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What’s GOOD About Shame?

What’s GOOD About Shame?

Can there ever be anything good about shame?

You may have heard it a lot: “You ought to be ashamed of yourself!” Perhaps you felt a knife in your own soul when a parent, teacher, or coach said it to you. Perhaps you watched a sibling or friend wither under such a putdown. Or perhaps you caught yourself saying it to your own child or someone else close to you.

And the truth of it is, that’s right! Each one of us ought to be ashamed of ourselves. We’ve done things, said things, and failed to take action in ways that have harmed ourselves and others. If we were to feel the full weight of our shame we would be crushed. And some of us are.

Human beings hate shame. Throughout the years people have devised all kinds of ways to deal with shame. Religious penance or the doing of good deeds doesn’t address the inner shame, however, even though they try to. Whole movements have developed over trying to get rid of our shame about things such as sexuality or body weight. (Wasn’t that the underlying issue in the “sexual revolution?”)

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God Wants You Uncomfortable

God Wants You Uncomfortable

“God, help me, please!”

I believe God loves those prayers. There’s never a wrong time to pray, though sadly it may be the only time He hears from some of us.

Such a prayer might assume, however, that God wants us happy, comfortable, and satisfied. That’s perhaps partially true, especially in the ultimate sense. But the Bible talks at least as much about how important our discomfort is to God. Sometimes God wants you uncomfortable.

“You mean God does NOT want me happy, comfortable, and satisfied?”

God created you for something much more than happiness, at least in the way we usually think about happiness. Our natural concept of our existence is much too shallow, much too tame, and much too comfortable.

Think of a time in your life when you felt the worst. Perhaps you were depressed, or anxious, or lonely. If you’re like most people you probably wanted to stay in bed or veg out in front of the TV. From the outside you might have looked “comfortable,” but you were actually more than miserable.

Now think of time when you felt most fully alive.

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Six Things I’d Say To My Younger Self

Six Things I’d Say To My Younger Self

Advice-for-my-younger-selfI just had a birthday. At my age that’s both good news and bad news. I’m glad I’m still here. (As someone said, it sure beats the alternative!) But it does give an opportunity to look both backward and forward, and think about what I wish I had known when I was younger.

You can probably look back and see some things you wish you had known also. The purpose of looking back isn’t to be filled with regrets, but to let past experiences, mistakes, and pain become valuable for the future. In God’s economy nothing need be lost. Every problem, every missed opportunity, every negative experience, every bad choice can provide fuel to learn and grow. That’s just plain common sense, and it’s also the message of the gospel. In God’s hands all our problems can be transformed into character and beauty.

Here are some things I’d say to my younger self if I could:

  • Don’t worry about what other people think.
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7 Things to Do If You’re Sad

7 Things to Do If You’re Sad

Have you ever cried so hard and so long you thought it would never end? Or have you become so used to your sadness that you can’t imagine ever having a moment of happiness again? If you’re sad there are things you can do.

I know what that feels like. I’ve been there. Over a period of four years I experienced long periods of time when all I could do was cry. I’d curl up in a little ball on the floor of my bedroom and cry. When I couldn’t sleep because I was crying so much I’d walk the streets at night, crying for hours. At work the next day I’d struggle to see through eyes that were sore and swollen.

That was twenty years ago now. Thankfully God brought me healing in some wonderful ways. People who know me now cannot imagine that I was ever such a distressed young woman. Today I’m happy 90% of the time. I love life!

Perhaps you’re feeling sad because you’ve missed out on some things in life you really needed and wanted. Perhaps you’re sad because someone (or many people) abused and misused you, and you feel worth no more than a puddle on the floor. Perhaps you’ve lost someone close to you and you’re finding it difficult to build a new life without them. Or perhaps you don’t know why, but you’re just sad.

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