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Listening at the Speed of Life

– by C. J. Wade –

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Christmas

Wednesday Wind Down: Cash and Carry

Hi Sweethearts!

Twas the day before the night before Christmas, huh?

I hope you aren’t stressed and that you and your family are safe and sound.

Here’s some motivation for your holiday week.

What are you willing to cash in order to carry your purpose? Spoiler Alert: I’m not talking about money here. Ready for a quick dive? Let’s go!

When Mary received the news that she would be carrying the Messiah of the World in Luke 1:26-38, she had two reactions – “How?” and “I’m in.”

Two reactions.

Now, I can’t lie to you — my reactions would have been multiplied, starting with “You talkin’ to me?”

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

I guess that’s why she was found to be honorable and favored (verse 28). *lol* She trusted God enough to be a daughter (“How?”) and a servant (“I’m in”) and God trusted her enough to allow her to be the mother of Jesus.

Quick detour– have you ever heard of cash-and-carry? A good bit of these stores no longer exist, so it’s OK if you haven’t. Cash-and-carry is a term that indicates a direct exchange of currency for products instead of offering financing options. These stores usually host wholesale or big ticket items.

Let’s look at Mary.

When she asked how, she gained understanding of what this type of motherhood would cost her. As a Jewish girl, she was aware of the scriptures surrounding the Messiah. She knew she would receive ridicule and mockery. She knew that it was an odd mode of delivery because He was expected to come to Earth in grandeur. She knew she would have to watch Him die for the sins of the world. She quickly analyzed her cash — the sacrifice of being physically, spiritually, and emotionally attached to the lineage of Jesus. That’s some serious dough.

She said “I’m in.”

My question for you again is What are you willing to cash in order to carry your purpose?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Mary decided to walk into her purpose heart-in-hand beyond baby-in-belly. She and Joseph both cashed in their conveniences to carry their purposes. Joseph as a carpenter, not a corporate executive. There wasn’t a significant amount of funds for such a surprise as this. He was also within his cultural right to disown Mary immediately, but his heart was found righteous in God’s eyes. Let’s not run over the fact that the angel encouraged him to take Mary as his wife — his co-laborer, his laughing partner, his forever home — not just an appendage to take care of the baby. This was a long-term commitment. This was a serious sacrifice. This was serious LOVE.

So, what’s my cash? My vulnerability is definitely part of my heart-in-hand. As an introvert, I value intimate relationships over large crowds. I power up in solitude. Extending vulnerability is huge for me, yet I’m called to do it every week on this blog, my book, speaking engagements, and other avenues. That’s the interesting part about currency — it varies among us. In exchange for this discomfort, my purpose is fulfilled. Another person realizes he is not alone in his struggles. Another woman accepts that she has a life worth living. Another life is empowered. Another soul is loved.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

That is worth the sacrifice. That is worth the cash (again, not real cash).

So, I ask you and myself as this year comes to a close, What are you willing to cash in order to carry your purpose? Maybe you need to write yours down. Do what you need to because it is a question to consider going forward. That’s what I’m doing over here.

Peace & Thanks for listening. Stay well and I love you!

Protect Your Merry!

Merry Christmas, Sweethearts! I know a photo of Serena may not be your thought of Christmas, but allow me to explain why it perfectly fits mine.

I had to protect my Merry yesterday (and for the last couple of weeks, for that matter.) I mean, I fiercely protected it like Serena Williams defending her side of the tennis court. A few people got clap-backs that they inadvertently signed up for. Rude shoppers, irresponsible drivers, and inconsiderate individuals/former friends in my circle could have sucked the happy right out of my bubble, but I swatted them like flies… and I have no remorse.

They didn’t know that I had to fight to gather my Merry.

I searched for its pieces while crawling through the barren forest of my spiritual winter. I scrounged. I foraged. I created little piles of joy around me, forming a 360-degree barrier between me and the world – me and the reality of my bank account, professional transition, and life changes. I replayed fond memories of my father instead of anticipating his absence on yet another holiday.  Four months later and I still patch the holes of my heart with thoughts of his smile to protect the cracks of my heart from the cold winds of grief. My piles of Merry were the only boundaries I had to keep the darkness from penetrating my oxygenated peace.

So, you had best believe, that I defended my happy with everything I had yesterday. To keep from crying sporadically in public places, I thought of his spirit dancing and I spoke to him.

“I love you.”
“I know.”
“I’m trying.”
“I miss you.”
“Thanks for everything.”

DP1745482_xmas_trees_Glass_OrnamentsTo keep from royally cussing someone clean out (as we say in the South), I retracted the sporty backhand that was perfectly poised under my tongue and said “Have a blessed day.” Friends that were jolly as long as I supported them have surprisingly fallen away like leaves from trees when reciprocity made sense. I stuffed a little happy there too so the wind couldn’t get in and make me bitter. I let the angels do their jobs. I summoned God the Father to comfort me and the Holy Spirit to keep aerating my Merry with reminders of Truth. I let a harvest of joy grow from seeds of gratefulness. As I stood in front of my heater, I thanked Him for warmth. As my feet hurt from working, I thanked Him for the opportunity. As I drove on lesser gas as I normally do, I thanked Him for my wheels. As I coughed and massaged my face from sinus pain, I thanked Him for life. When I ate leftovers, I thanked Him for provision. Upon receiving random messages from sweet friends, I released the expectation from hearing from certain ones and truly let the peace of God rule and wash the hurt away. These things fortified my Merry and I wasn’t letting anything rob me of it.

Maybe you’re like me. You’re holding onto your Merry with both hands and you’re trying to keep it alive in the midst of hardship, loss, or change. I pray that you protect it with everything you got – that you exhibit the grit needed to keep the light in your spirit on, that you regain the strength and courage to fight for your happy, fight for your joy, and fight for your right to live. Don’t be distracted by what you don’t have. Defend what you have and let God heal the cracks. Let the angels of protection do their jobs. Hold fiercely to the Truth that Jesus was born so you could live.

You are loved.
You are cared for.
You are the reason Christmas exists, and your Christmas is Merry because Merry is a state of mind.

I love you and Merry Christmas, Sweethearts! Peace & Thanks for listening!

Photo of Serena Williams courtesy of Tennis.com
Photo of Christmas tree ornaments courtesy of Lowes.com

#bloglikecrazy: Day 22 – Make Room

A short stop for your Christmas Day and Any Day

Luke’s account of Jesus’ life on Earth is one my favorites. There’s something about his physician perspective that humanizes the experiences I read.
This one in particular instantly opens the camera lens to a new mother that clothes her newborn in rags in unsanitary conditions. All because the inn was full. Why would God give Joseph a heads up that his family was in danger and not direct him to better accommodations? On a journey where it was already uncomfortable, here is a mother having contractions in a stable and having to trust that the feeding trough would be sufficient for the King of Kings. What a humbling and terrifying experience. Talk about faith… whew.

I’m always stuck at the “no room in the inn” part. Certainly there was a better option than an animal shelter, but apparently, Mary and Joseph knew something we didn’t.

No matter where Jesus was birthed, He was destined to fulfill His purpose. They just had to make it work. The hay, the rags, the filth, the trough… she made room. That’s all were required to do.

Whenever you are in life, make room.

Create space for purpose to grow. Stop making excuses for what you don’t have and use what is given. The purpose is in you, not the things. God will provide the necessary items in order to bless the readers of your story.

Whatever you do this week, make the room and prepare for it to be filled.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

#bloglikecrazy: Day 21 – How to be a Bounty Hunter

Quick tips for the holiday weekend via Daily Prompt: Bounty

Today marks Christmas Eve and there are people scrambling to find the perfect gift at the perfect price – or perhaps a gift that will “do” for the last person on their list. The adrenaline rush that comes from finding that jewel in the haystack is an addiction for the last-minute shopper and while that may be attractive to some, I travel on a different route this time of year. I give to people around me all year at very random times because I love surprising people with love. I am not in the rat race of marathon shopping, but I can help. My name is Christina and I am a bounty hunter.

#1: Know what you’re looking for.

The first step in being a bounty hunter is knowing what you’re looking for. I know… that sounds counterproductive. You’re out looking right now because you DON’T know what to look for, but honestly, you do. You know you’re looking for something that will make the person smile, laugh, and/or feel loved and appreciated. You’re looking for a glimpse of them in the item. If you pick it up and you don’t see them smiling or using it with pride, put it down. You’re settling and the receiver will pick up on that.

#2: Bow down to the truth.

You waited until the last minute. Stop being childish and frustrated toward workers and other shoppers for your misuse of time and resources. Be truthful and be patient. You may not can afford that $100 watch, but you can give a thoughtful $25 blanket in their favorite color because you know they always get cold during movie night. You’re not going to find the perfect gift without it costing you time or money, so just be humble, breathe, and go into that store or into that kitchen with the receiver in mind – not your inconvenience.

#3: Focus on the Bounty.

Christmastime is when the world gives presents and spend significant amounts of time with friends and family. It’s imperative to remember why people travel great distances to sit and drink hot chocolate, watch football, enjoy a movie, sing hymns, and share pictures. The real bounty is the time, not the gift. If anyone makes you feel the opposite of that truth, accept that whatever you give will not be “good” enough. You could spend all of your savings and that person will still think of something else you could have bought. I don’t suggest cutting off your cousin, but you may need to check your heart at the door of the department store. Give what you can and let it fall as it may. Focus on the real Bounty, the generous gift, the true compensation – YOU.

You are the gift of premium price. No one can replace you or cover up your existence. Your birth was trumpeted in heaven and has since made a mark on this earth that can never be erased or validated by dollar sign. You are the wealth. You are the opulence. Every person in your life should see you as the prize, not just what you have in your hands. That applies both ways, too. See people as bountiful blessings and you’ll always find the perfect gift.

Now go out there and smash that to-do list, my fellow Bounty hunter. *wink*

Peace & Thanks for listening!

#bloglikecrazy: Day 15 – WAWG

Couple
Photo courtesy of newhdwallpapersin.com

 

Fall is here and that means family time is here as well. There’s a perfect short stop for that.

I would love to think that everyone’s holiday season brings laughs, love, and bountiful blessings, but I know it doesn’t. Some family ties have turned into strings that choke out the possibility of beautiful moments. Adults that were best friends as children all of a sudden can’t stand to be in the same room with each other. Siblings live in silence across state lines. Parents and children holding on to wounds of old.

Let me tell you something.

“We’re All We Got.”

There’s enough division in the world. We don’t need to multiply it with broken families. There are plenty of sores that need to be healed and broken hearts with shredded band-aids holding them together. I will never trivialize the pain that has created those rifts; however, for today… this season… this life… all we have is each other. Maybe that person is not designed for the permanent prime real estate in your heart, but someone is. At least you have someone to be angry toward or someone to kiss goodnight.

For the family that is alive and sitting around you and to the family that is in a nursing home or prison, remind them and yourself that you were born to each other for a reason. Perhaps you’ll never know what it is as you fight over past sins, but nonetheless, the fact remains. WAWG. Just slip them a handwritten note and a smile. At least you sent the reminder. That’s all you are responsible for.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

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