The National Retail Federation estimates more than 164 million people plan to shop during Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday! (In years past, we have spent an average of $423 each for a total of $59.1 billion.)
How long do you think those purchases will last? Toys–last maybe 30 days; clothes–one season; electronic gadgets—approximately one to three years.
One leader hoped for gifts that brought a greater sense of lasting satisfaction to our lives. Here are the five gifts he knew we could not really live without:
Work that matters, growing character and satisfying relationships. The leader used a metaphor to describe these as “good fruit of every kind”. Satisfying and productive work matters to your well being, to others and makes a difference in the world. Growth in our character means we are becoming the kind of people we truly desire to be. Healthy relationships with our spouses, family, and team members brings deep satisfaction to our lives. To produce good fruit in these important areas of your life we may need to prune, fertilize, pull some weeds, dig or protect from harmful intruders, etc. What do you need to do to get that slight edge for a fruitful yield this year?
Knowing God better. Leaders and students I have engaged around the world from many different cultures say they desire to know God better. Perhaps this describes you as well. No matter where you are in your journey, the next step is up to you this year. Do you want to know God personally? Are you beginning with God? Do you want to develop a more solid foundation? Desire to train and grow? There are many resources for you wherever you are in your journey.
Endurance and patience. Life is full of setbacks and obstacles. Sometimes I need patience when others grate on my nerves; other times I need patience in the midst of trying circumstances. We all need endurance, and that often requires harnessing the power of rest or including a better rhythm of rest in your life.
A life filled with joy. A Google search for joy during the holiday, revealed this on the first link: “Feeling down during the holidays can be tough, especially since you seem so out of step with the world. Everyone else seems to be beaming, ruddy-cheeked, bursting with holiday spirit. You’re feeling wretched and exhausted. But here’s something to cheer you up the next time you’re stuck in a room of revelers at a holiday party: Plenty of them are probably unhappy, too.” (www.webmd.com). The article normalizes hard times, but somehow just knowing that others are miserable does not cheer me up. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have not only holidays but a life characterized by joy? What will that take for you?
A thankful heart. The scientific research on the transforming power of gratitude is fascinating: A thankful heart changes us, transforms our relationships and helps us be more productive at work. You will also boost your resilience with gratitude.
What would your life be like with more of these gifts? The leader who wanted these for his people was Paul, the Apostle. He described them here: (Colossians 1:9-12).
Which one of the above gifts will help you really live this year? What do you need to do now to take a first step?
(Note: This post was updated and revised from a previously published post entitled “5 Great Gifts”.)
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