Do you look at life differently than those around you? Are you always seeking knowledge and understanding of the better way – even in non-church, non-Bible-study, everyday situations? Me too. Sometimes I am amazed at how a presentation on branding your business will give me ideas about the Christian brand and how to represent it. Or how principals on advertising will apply to how I should “advertise” Jesus to the world.

Recently, while in El Paso for the Texas Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus (TACVB), I was amazed by how the keynote speaker, Kendra Wright, president of Saffire, while addressing the employees of CVBs, created almost a perfect blog (or set of blogs) for me in her presentation titled, “A Little Dose of Happy: Strategies for Creating Your Best Life.” Wright is the mother of special needs child and has, even more than most mothers of healthy preteens, had to learn to make space in her life for happiness to be experienced. 

And as I listened, I thought, “that (message) advises Christians very beautifully.” (TACVB) Okay, I actually came up with the match to the acronym of the organization later, but the idea that it was a good fit for Christians came up during the time I was listening to Wright.

Here are just a few of the points of advice I plan to use. Nothing here is rocket science or shocking new ideas – just good principals I should be putting into use. I hope they will resonate with you too.

  • Write it on your calendar. If there is something you want to ensure gets done each day, write it on your calendar. Don’t just make yourself a note. Put it in your phone, your day planner, on your printed calendar on the wall or on that white board style calendar you use to keep track of soccer practice and Gymboree class and when the plumber is supposed to come. When you actually schedule something in your day, you are less likely to skip it or forget it. Oh how often I have said that I was making the commitment to prayer and Bible study first thing in the morning but woke up and got distracted. It would be less likely to happen if my phone reminded me that it was time for Bible study shortly after waking me up in the morning. My husband Wes has done this with scheduling the Holy Days into his life every year. Right after he buys a new planner for the year, he writes in the Holy Days so that he would not be able to accidentally schedule something else on a Holy Day that occurs six months away. God wrote the 10 Commandments on stone with His own finger [Deut. 9:10]. He had each king of Israel write out his own book of the law during the time he reigned as king. If God felt it was best to get important things in writing, and even “set in stone,” it seems like good advice for the rest of us too. [Deut. 17:18]
  • Practice gratitude. Sometimes gratitude is work. I don’t always just wake up grateful for the new day. But, studies show that gratitude works as well as many “happy pills” in creating happiness. Wright suggests journaling for just a few minutes each day about a recent and well-thought-out reason to be grateful. According to Wright, it should not be general or something you could say every day. So, while I should be thankful for my mate, my job, my health, my church, etc. every day, the gratitude journal would be something like, “I am grateful today for the beautiful double rainbow I saw because it reminds me that God promised He will never again destroy the earth with a flood.” This exercise trains your brain to look for special reasons to be grateful each day. My home Bible study group learned something similar in our Bible study lesson from The Armor of God, by Pricilla Shirer. Shirer explained that thankfulness ignites peace. So, in the days that my job is making me unhappy or a health trial is seeking to rob me of peace, the simple act of making the effort to find and express – to write down – something to be grateful for in that specific day will work like a drug to bring happiness into my day and peace into my heart. [Phil 4:8]
  • Disconnect from – schedule time away from – what steals your happiness. Wright talked about how she used to begin her day with the news. Like a lot of folks, she had the news on every morning while she was getting ready for her day. She realized that, while she wanted to, even needed to, be informed, starting her day with updates on politics or news about car wrecks and floods and robberies and murders set a bad tone for her day. She decided to start with something that made her laugh and often watches a monolog from one of the late night show hosts, like Jimmy Fallon, so that she starts her day with happiness and laughter. Wright also suggested taking an actual Sabbath each week, “like the Mormons do it,” to disconnect from the pressures of life for a longer period of time. According to Wright, the Mormons (on Sunday) spend all their time with church and family and rest, and try to avoid doing anything that would cause someone else to work, like getting gas for their cars or going out to eat. Wow. Wright stopped short of recommending we all keep THE Sabbath, but she did recommend the kind of focus on disconnecting from the world for an entire day that the Sabbath was meant to be. Mark 2:27 “And He said to them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” It is there for us to take advantage of the time off from day-to-day pressures. So, take some time each day and a day each week to relax, reset, and reconnect with God and family – this time is time away from the joy-suckers.

Write it down to make time. Practice gratitude to enjoy time. Disconnect to focus time. That Advises Christians Very Beautifully. Am I right?

I’d love to hear your thoughts too. You can write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org