Monthly Archives: December 2014

Christmas Relationships

What IS it about Christmas and gift giving that causes SO MUCH STRESS on the one giving and the one receiving?!?!

Here is what I mean…

The one giving the gift has the pressure of “getting it right” – making sure they give a gift that the other person either needs or really wants. BUT – is it the right color? The right kind? The right size?

And if it is not the right size, if I get it too big will they think I think they are fat? If I get it too small, will they think I am trying to tell them something?

If I spend too much, what will others think about their gift from me because I didn’t spend the same amount?

Or are you like so many others who say, “I’m just going to get them a gift card, because they are SO HARD to shop for!”

OR, “I really don’t have enough money, but I can make them something…I wonder if they will think I am cheap for not buying them something.”

The one receiving has the pressure of “responding the right way” to the gift given. Do I act surprised even though I know what they are giving? What do I do if I don’t like the gift, or the color?

What if it is the wrong size, how do I let them know? What if I give the wrong facial expression, they might think I don’t appreciate their gift?

What if I didn’t get them the same cost value gift as they are giving me? They may think I don’t think of them the same way!

Christmas can be the most deceptive time of the year when it comes to our relationships.

Should we put on an act? Or should we just be thankful someone thought of us at all?

Is it necessary to get a gift for someone I consider part of my life?

Lots of questions haunt this time of year because of our tradition of giving and receiving gifts. The sad part is, we have a tendency to place more emphasis on the gift and what it means about our relationships that we forget showing love and appreciation for someone should happen all through the year, not just on Christmas day.

We do not need to give physical gifts to show someone how much we are grateful they are in our lives.

Sometimes, just a warm hug and letting them know verbally how much and why we are thankful for their relationship with us can mean more than any physical item that is bought, given and received on ANY day of the year.

I am not a proponent of NOT giving gifts. Not one iota. I love seeing the expression on someone’s face when they truly to receive something they need or desire. Just look at this video of people receiving puppies for Christmas…

We truly put more pressure on ourselves than is necessary. We should never compare our friendships, family and any other meaningful relationship to the size or cost of a gift given and received.

What makes the relationship meaningful is the fact that even if NO gifts were ever given, you know you can rely on that person for support, love, caring, a listening ear, acceptance, respect, forgiveness, encouragement, appreciation, affirmation, and time well-spent.

Maybe this imbalance in gift giving and receiving is the reason why SO MANY people cannot accept that Jesus was a free gift to the world…

He was the gift that God know we needed. He wasn’t a gift that came wrapped in the best, shiniest wrapping paper with a perfect bow. He was the gift that came wrapped in strips of cloth lying over hay.

He wasn’t a gift that was accepted by many because he wasn’t what they were expecting or hoping for.

Still today, Jesus is a gift – His birth, life, sacrifice and coming back to life IS the most free gift anyone could ever receive. However, many of us don’t give the gift to others of how He has changed our lives and transformed our thinking.

This Christmas – go ahead and give your gifts, receive your gifts, and provide as many warm hugs as you can. Just remember, it is not the value of the physical gift you give someone that makes the relationship. It is the value you find in the relationship that makes the difference.

Show someone that you value them – even those you do not know – and recognize they are there, that they are valuable – not because of the gift you are giving them, but because they are one of God’s creative masterpieces.

Merry Christmas to you and may God fill the rest of this year with joy!

I am very curious to hear your thoughts on this topic. Thank you so much for continuing to read. You can email me or respond to this post by Commenting below.


HONESTY

For the last several weeks, I have had little to no motivation to write about relationships. Watching the fall out of the racial tension from Ferguson, the evil activities of terrorists in the Middle East, and my own battle with my identity had almost erased my desire to encourage people toward better and meaningful relationships.

Then I was reminded about the importance one voice might have in a dark world of preconceived notions, ignorance, and prevalent deception CAN have an impact.

We can influence others with the truth about relationships. It is difficult. It is down right messy at times.

However, it can be rewarding.

Now, on to the post…

Deception, lies, and redirected verbal inventions…

Recently, I was reading about how early we as humans learn the skill of deception. It was pointed out that as young as six months old a child will come to understand that if he/she cries, then someone will come and give them attention. At first the cries are signals for food, a wet diaper, or affection.

Then, like Pavlov’s dog and the bell that became the stimulus for action, the parent responds out of routine and the child now has his/her parents wrapped around his/her finger.

At that point the battle begins for who can outsmart the other. Will the parents recognize the deceptive attempts and respond, or teach the child the importance of crying only in the right circumstances.

At a certain point children will even start to act like they were not doing something wrong when in fact they are WELL AWARE of their behavior and are setting their skill in motion. It is the child who goes toward the cookie and picks it up to eat it when the parent pops their head around the corner and catches them in the act.

The response from the parent is, “NO. Not before dinner.” The response from the child is to act like they are just looking at the cookie and gently places it back on the plate of savory sweetness.

How about the married relationship? What drives either person in this bond to lie? Perhaps it is to avoid an uncomfortable conversation; or it is to keep from having conflict. Truth be told (pun intended), if the deceptive behavior continues it is only a matter of time before the foundation of the relationship crumbles and trust is all but lost.

Have you ever heard someone say?

“Honestly…”

“To tell you the truth…”

“I cannot tell a lie…”

Why is it necessary to preface the truth with a verification of its validity? I am more inclined to think the ones who use these expressions are lying most of the time, but this one fact that spills off their tongue might be the truth.

Honesty is not a scary venture if you never do anything to place yourself in the position of hurting someone because of an action, or conversation you had with another that broke a confidence, and the list can go on and on.

Lying has become so ordinary it can be quite difficult to determine which is the true statement.

There are even games where you have to lie and hope that someone does not catch you in your lie.

What would the world be like if it were impossible to lie? There would be no need for judges. Policemen would have a much less difficult time interrogating the perpetrator of a crime. Married relationships could be more open. People might even be less inclined to do something wrong because they knew they would HAVE to tell the truth.

The Truth is (pun intended), it is not only possible to lie, but for most people it is the preferred method of communication.

One of the Ten Commandments refers to lying where it says; “You shall not bear false testimony against your neighbor.” This literally means you shall not lie about what your neighbor did, did not do, said, or did not say.

Why was it important to be honest, forthright, truthful and candid?

Lies can slowly chip away at a relationship until there is nothing left that remotely resembles a relationship. When someone is caught in a lie, whatever trust was there is eradicated by one phrase from the tongue.

I have always taught my daughters growing up there are two things their mom and I would NEVER tolerate in the home…

  1. Lying
  2. Disrespecting another individual

The reason these will not be tolerated is because they are both self-serving and because either one can destroy the relationship between two people.

Ask yourself if it is worth destroying the trust between you and a close friend or family member over one act of defiance, lack of trust, or desire to avoid a messy confrontation.

Chances are if your relationship cannot withstand an error on either party, then the relationship was not built on the solid ground of truth and authenticity.

Take a day and perform an experiment. Go through your day and become aware of whom you are talking to, and what you are saying. Take inventory of your words and conversations and take note when you tell a lie or try to deceive someone into thinking a certain way.

Chances are you will be SURPRISED at how many times you catch yourself being dishonest.

By the way, you cannot simply tag on the phrase “Just kidding” after you do so. Sooner or later others will see through the ruse and your true colors will come to the surface.

Everyday we should work toward honesty. You will be surprised at how your relationships will become less of a struggle when you simply tell the truth. Or course, the truth you tell must be mixed with love. If it is not mixed with love, you endanger the relationship as well and people will be less inclined to be your friend.

I am very curious to hear your thoughts on this topic. Thank you so much for continuing to read. You can email me or respond to this post by Commenting below.