I want to talk about entertaining. My giftings are definitely not the kind that can capture the attention of others with music, stories or hilarious jokes. When people speak of me, I’m pretty sure entertaining isn’t one of the words they use to describe my personality.
However, I am pretty darn good at entertaining guests by preparing the most desirable atmosphere and setting possible. I always do my best to make sure my home is clean and presentable. I want them to be confident that I’ve prepared for them with cleaning, shopping for amenities, cooking to their tastes and planning activities they might enjoy. I want my guests to feel welcome, right at home, and happy to be here.
Unfortunately, my gift for entertaining extends to my thought life. I struggle with entertaining thoughts and imaginations that are of no benefit to me or anyone else. It’s those thoughts that have fear at their basic root; the ones that start out with “what if…?” Then they begin to snowball and grow into huge imaginations of all the worst possible scenarios. It’s what people today call “in your own head.” And I have come to understand that it’s because I am entertaining them, it’s that thing I am so good at. It’s a gift! I’m making them feel welcome, feeding them and making them comfortable and right at home in my own mind.
Sometimes these thoughts are legitimate things to be concerned with, but even those are not supposed to be consuming us or occupying our mind. There are many scriptures that teach us a better way. John 14:1 Do not let your hearts be troubled; Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, I am with you; Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; Philippians 4:6 Be anxious about nothing. The list goes on and on. It tells us that even legitimate worries shouldn’t consume us.
That is s a lot of what NOT to do, and much easier said than done! But then what do I do? Because if I could just stop it because I wanted to, I would have conquered this a long time ago. Well, continue to read in Philippians 4:8 it says Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable –if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about these things.
In other words, go ahead and entertain! Just make sure you have the right guests invited into your head.
When people say “don’t give up,” they’re usually trying to encourage someone who is working toward a goal. Maybe they are trying to reach their best time running, or highest score in a sport, or reach a desired weight. There is usually an attainable goal in mind that can be accomplished with perseverance.
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to not give up on those intangible, ongoing challenges that are day to day living. It’s a very broad stroke to just say “don’t give up” on life. The alternative is pretty drastic! Everyday life is a challenge all by itself as we navigate relationships, homes, family, money, feelings, thoughts, and quite frankly, all our personal baggage. And that’s without adding any specific, personal goals to the load.
Seriously, don’t give up. Just keep pressing on, plugging along, putting one step in front of the other, and before you know it one of those things you wanted to give up on has found its’ resolution. Then the load is a little lighter and now it’s a little easier to tackle the next challenge that life is throwing at you. As simplistic and naive as it sounds, it was an effective enough of a solution that God even tells us to Don’t Give Up.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
I struggle with the concept of self-care. It’s not that I don’t believe we shouldn’t take care of ourselves because it’s critical to our well being. Our physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional health depends on taking care of ourselves. Long before there was the pop-psychology term we know as self-care, people always encouraged each other to “take care of yourself.” It’s a basic need for a balanced healthy life.
It’s when self-care blurs the line over into selfishness that concerns me. I was recently reading a series of answers to the question, what will be your word for the new year? The one-word responses ranged from Productive, Focused, and Giving to fun words like Caffeinated, or Clothed. (I’m assuming someone’s goal was to get out of their PJ’s.) I was a little disappointed at how many people chose the word NO as their mantra for 2020.
I once worked for Radisson Hotels and their slogan was Yes, I Can! There was no such word as no, only many different ways to make it happen. There’s so much to be gained with saying Yes! In it’s selflessness, you will find joy and satisfaction. In your relationships, when you don’t feel like another coffee date or leaving the house in the evening, your yes to an invitation can mean the world to another person. As the saying goes, in being a blessing to someone else, you were the one who received. When your supervisor asks you to take on a project, say yes. You can work out the when and how later but just agreeing to it can be a boost of confidence. When that family is need of a meal-train, but you can barely get dinner made on time for yourself, say yes. (Again with the blessing others.)
Yes is also a wonderful word for taking care of yourself. Say yes to treating yourself to a massage, a whole Saturday on the couch, that art class or dance-workout class, or reading that novel – even if it’s just a few pages a day. Saying yes to the things that improve your life will do you much more good than becoming selfish and practiced at saying no.