Keep On Shinin'!
Growing up, Christmas was always a special holiday in our house. It was the one time of year that my parents (and grandmother) made sure that I received every toy, trinket and clothing item that I had on my year long desire list. They went out of their way to let me know just how special they thought I was. Every year seemed to be the same:
They would wake up at dark thirty and get everything positioned under the tree in just the right order. Afterwards, they would come in my room, wake and drag me out to the living room to open my gifts. With sleep still hovering over me, I would open each and every present and they would beam with joy. Me too! I would squeal with every gift I opened. "EEEEEAKKKK! A Cabbage Patch Kid! With glasses! I LOVE IT!" "EEEEEEEK! A Tweety Bird and Sylvester alarm clock! I LOVE IT!" "EEEEEEEEEEEEEAK foot-in pajamas! I LOVE IT!" This would last the entire morning until all the gifts were opened. (Did I mention I am the only child so it would, literally, take all morning to open the mountain of gifts!)
For the next month or so, I would be very attentive and responsible with those gifts, making sure to put them away neatly after every use. If my cousins came to visit, I would make sure they administered as much care as I bestowed upon my prized possessions.
Fast forward a few months, say around March or so, things would change. My parents would get frustrated with me because they would find that same Cabbage Patch Kid tossed to the side of my bed. Or that Tweety and Sylvester alarm clock tucked deep in my closet, no longer displayed on my bedside table. My pajamas (and some of the other clothes I received that day) would end up balled up in my drawers. My parents would scold and remind me that they spent their money on these things and that I should treat them better. They would also threaten to never buy me anything else until I learned to take care of the things I had.
Jazzy and Kayla recently celebrated birthdays and I am now having that same conversation with them. "Take care of the things that people give you! Do you want me to tell them not to waste their money on you?!"
Today, the Holy Spirit reminded me of this same message: 'I've blessed you with the gifts on your desire list. Are you mindful of how you treat them? Do you care for them today the same way as when you first received them? Do you take them for granted thinking I will bless you with more?'
You see, not all the gifts on my desire list are tangible; some are spiritual. For instance, God has given me the ability to write. Sometimes in the middle of the night, I am given topics to write about. I used to get excited about these things and I would jot them down. But sometimes instead of writing them, I push them to the back burner thinking I will remember them later. Guess what? I don't always. There are times when I am given a topic and I think, "no one wants to hear about that." So I don't write it down. Am I being a good steward over my gift?
When I was a new Christian, I made sure to spend private time with God. I made sure that He knew how much better my life was with Him in it. I would obey His Word. Am I still doing that today? Does He still know how much I love Him?
When I was in toxic relationship after relationship, I asked God for someone who would love me the way that He said I deserved. God gave me LT. Now that we are seven years into our marriage, am I still being a good steward over my marriage? Am I as protective of our relationship as I was in the beginning? Do I cherish my gift (LT)? Am I making sure that others respect our relationship?
When I was feeling under the weather, I prayed for restoration of my health. Now that I am feeling better, am I being a good steward over my body? Eating right? Seeing the doctor regularly? Getting enough rest? Exercising regularly?
I wanted a new car, my husband (via God) blessed me with it. Am I still keeping it clean? Am I reminding others to keep it clean? Am I being a good steward over it?
The list goes on and on.
Admit it. You've been (or maybe you still are) in the same boat: you prayed/asked for something and received it. You said you loved it. But now that it isn't "shiny and new" are you still taking care of it like you did when you first received it? I can't be the only one who needed this reminder. But to know better is to do better, right?
I challenge you to write a list of the things that were on your desire list that you can now cross off because they've arrived (health, healthy marriage, family, restored relationships, finances, etc.) Now take stock of how you treat those gifts today. Are they still "shiny"? Are you neglecting them? Are you taking them for granted because you are waiting for the next big gift? Are you using them to their full potential? Do you continue to show thankfulness for these gifts?
Another reminder is that how you treat the gift is a direct reflection of what you think about the gift giver!
It's not too late to start. After all, you want continued blessings, right? Start today.