"...be prepared in season and out of season..."In west Texas, the plants and trees are kind of confused. Fall's late in coming. October was warmer than usual; cool days were spotty. The roses have bloomed like crazy, the tree's leaves didn't quite know what to do, and the dandelions popped up, ready to scatter their seeds.
2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV)
2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV)
The last few days have been cool. All the plants and trees are suddenly jumping on the Fall bandwagon - except the poor dandelions. They refuse to give up. As I looked at them scattered around the park, the words of 2 Timothy 4:2 came to mind, in season and out of season.
Talking about Jesus and living for Him is easier in the spring and summer. During the sunny times of our lives, we reflect Jesus' love and joy and compassion. Our hearts overflow with happiness. We talk about God's blessings.
It get's harder when winter hits. When times are hard, we might let fear or sorrow take over our lives.
We don't smile as much as we used to. We don't say, "Have a good day!" to people we meet. We might not reflect Jesus during difficult times.
How do we express Jesus' love when our hearts are broken? How can we be like the dandelions and keep our chins up, no matter the weather? Here are a few suggestions that might lighten your heart.
1. Smile. Smile when others are around. Smile when you're alone. You might feel silly, but look at yourself in the mirror and smile - even a fake one. There's something about a smile that lifts your spirits. Just a tiny bit at first but more and more as you practice it.
2. Play silly music or watch a funny TV show. This time of year, play Christmas music. Grab a child's silly-song CD and listen to it. Watch cartoons. Before long you will be chuckling and humming along.
3. Do something you enjoy. A walk in the park. Go to a craft store (Hobby Lobby's my favorite), a computer store, or a plant nursery. See an animated movie at a time when the theater will be packed with kid's. The possibilities are as wide as your imagination.
5. Count your blessings. I hate to even mention this because it seems trite and trivial. But it works. If you dread each new day, the sunrise might not be a blessing. Cherish these: a baby's laugh in the store, your pet's cuddles, ice cream with a friend, a good book. Simple things are the best blessings.
7. My favorite: Listen to God sing. I know, weird, huh? Listen to Zephaniah 3:17. He [the Lord] will rejoice over you with singing." Go ahead, listen to His words. You are precious to Him. He will never leave you. You bring Him joy. Let His songs bathe your heart.
8. Sing back to Him. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. Psalm 33:3
Sing praise songs. Dance around in your den. Don't be embarrassed; who cares?
The winter days won't fade away but you might find it easier to walk through them.
How do you lift your spirits when times are difficult?