Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Joy #2: Holidays

Since we're so near the holidays--less than a week away from Christmas at the time of this writing--I thought I'd start here.  We are in the process of discerning joy from happiness and then defining joy in very specific terms.  The joyful person has a self awareness rather than a self focus.  (If you want to hear more about either topic, click on the link..)

So, how does this carry itself over into real life?  Yes, it is all very fine and well to wake up every morning, read the Bible and start afresh with a new desire to not live in the state of self focus.  But sometimes asking yourself the questions regarding each day's events will help keep that perspective.

So, I'm starting with the holidays.  Holidays. holidays. holidays.   I know, because I am a woman, what this means to the women out there.  If we narrow the holiday life down to some basic categories, we can talk about each one.  Let's pick: decorating/ home preparation and gift giving and social events.

Decorating and home preparation:  I figure almost everyone who reads a blog like this has a small interest in getting their home up to speed during the holidays.  Even though the extent of my holiday decorating consists of a string of lights and greenery plopped on the mantel, I'm sure that some of you have taken hours if not days to get your home spiffy.  I have my reasons for going sparse during the holidays, but I do not think it is wrong to go all out.   Before I go into the questions about each area, I've made some neat discoveries during this soul-searching process.

 It is just this:  The outward appearance of a self aware person and a self focused person can often look exactly the same.  Did you get that?  This is, sort of a bummer because now I can't just walk into someone's life and make instant judgements about whether they have a sense of joy or not.  Now, I can't judge anymore by appearances.  It's only when the heart is revealed that we know one way or the other.

So, I am proposing some questions to ask yourself.  They are by no means an exhaustive list.  You will find your own set of questions--things that go deeper into your own situation--things that you are searching when you read the Word of God.

So, what is it about decorating and home preparation that reveals something about us?

The self aware person asks these questions:

1. Is my home inviting, friendly, a haven of rest for my family and friends?
2. Does my decorating/ home prep lend itself toward the occasion we are celebrating?
3. Is it safe? Are others going to be inconvenienced in getting around?
4. Can I remain sweet-spirited through the process?
5. Can I sense when enough is enough? and when my family needs a break?
6. Can I stay within my budget and honor my husband in this way?

The self-focused person has these thoughts:

1. I hope my family appreciates all the work I'm doing for them.  After all, they didn't help at all.
2. I can't believe how cheap and run-down this house is.
3. These (people) are not going to be happy no matter how perfect the house is..
4. I need more (x,y, z) in order to impress ( whoever).
5. This is a thankless job.  What am I? the maid??

So, as you can see, the contrast is huge.  Either way, the home of the self-aware and self-focused person will often look very much the same.  The spirit of thankfulness is totally absent from the self-focused person.  If you struggle with this issue, you are not alone.  Here are some thoughts to help you with this issue.

God gave you the home.  Many people do not have homes.
God gave you your family.  Many people have lost loved ones.
God gave you your friends.  True friends do not need to be impressed.
God gave you your budget.  A loving family is the best adornment for any home.

I really do not like LONG blog posts, so we'll have to tackle: gift giving and social events for the next session.


MommaMindy said...

I love lists. I function well with lists. I don't like your lists. I think I'm on the wrong one. :) Appreciated the encouragement. This holiday season we have a very, very full house and I have to work hard all day long to keep up with cooking, cleaning and holidaying. I am tired and need to turn my focus around. Thanks, sister.

nitalinb said...

I enjoyed this, and it was good for me, too. Thank you.

nitalinb said...

After reading this post, I went outside and got myself some spruce and cedar branches to decorate my house on my budget. It smells great!Thanks for the inspiration.

Mrs. Parunak said...

Excellent point about how you can look the same on the outside whether your attitude is right or not. Ouch. I think sometimes I vacillate between good and bad attitudes.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

YES! Love your list of questions. Especially the focus on

Is this inviting and welcoming? Does this make my family and our guests feel comfortable and welcome?

Which, my friend, is the difference between hospitality and entertaining.

Merry Christmas :D


Sarah said...

"A loving family is the best adornment for a home".

What a wonderful sentence! I'm going to write this out

What a marvellous sentence:

A loving family is the best adornment for any home!

A big AMEN to that.

The dB family said...

Great post and explanation!! It's a good reminder too!