Good morning, y’all!
Our family is gearing up for Christmas and this one is shaping up to be so delightful. My six-year old son has been using his money to buy presents for all his favorite people. He even wrote a “Penguin Book” to mail to his Mima. My daughter wrote in nearly all the return addresses on our Christmas cards. My oldest child is taking pictures of all our fun little activities. And all three of them bought presents for each other with money they’ve been saving all year.
But what has helped me the most is refocusing on things of greater value.
I wrote these posts about complaining because I needed to center my own mind on things that have intrinsic value. As I mentioned in the post on the elevating eight, I am sharing some of my personal reflections each day on the Elihu’s Corner Facebook Page, but since I do know of several people who don’t use Facebook, I thought a recap here at the blog would be beneficial. I haven’t finished all eight yet, but I hope to continue to this practice through January. I will try to recap once a week here at the blog. I hope you use the printables (or at least the principles) to help elevate your mind. It’s been helping me to see more of God in my day to day and has increased my gratitude for what He continues to do for His people. If you are on Facebook, and would like to follow the page, click here.
Here is the recap:
Whatever is True
I awoke this morning, frustrated with myself and irritable. I had overslept by a half an hour, which didn’t make us late, but shortened the time in which I had to get everything done. My mind was rapidly sliding down the spiraling chutes of the “if only’s.”
“If only I had gotten to bed earlier.”
“If only my kids would help out more.”
“If only I didn’t have so much to do all the time I wouldn’t fall so far behind.”
The state of “if only” exists only in our minds. Sometimes the “if only’s” motivate us to work harder and strive for better, but far more often, they trigger irritability, depression and discontent. One of my favorite quotes from Harry Potter is Dumbledore’s advice to Harry: “It does not do to dwell on dreams, Harry, and forget to live.”
Don’t forget to live.
Don’t forget to find the blessings in the glaring truth of the present.
As promised in yesterday’s blog post, I’m kicking off the Elevating 8 with some reflections of my own.
Whatever is True:
Getting Three Children to School can be challenging—especially when tired & short on time.
What is ALSO true: I am blessed to be entrusted with three children and the ability to educate them in the way that I choose.
My time with my children is limited, so even on the hard days, I should find joy in the opportunity to be with them in this moment, for this moment is all I am guaranteed.
Whatever is Honorable
When asked, “Would you die for someone you love?” most would answer affirmatively.
If you ask a Christian, “Would you die for Christ?” you will again get a hearty “yes!”
And yet, how often do we fail to sacrifice our little wants, needs, and desires for our loved ones, our neighbors, and our God? How often do we put ourselves ahead of others?
We make much ado about dying for someone while in the same moment refusing to live for them. Our sacrifices should not be limited to “the ultimate sacrifice,” but should also consist of putting our needs in second place.
In keeping with this month’s efforts to stop complaining and elevate the mind, this article from the summer popped into my head in regards to “whatever things are honorable.” I will share some personal reflections later today. If you need the printable or missed the article, click this link: https://elihuscorner.com/…/renew-your-mind-with-the-elevat…/
Today is December 7th, also known as Pearl Harbor Day. On this day in 1941, the Japanese attacked an American Naval Base in Pearl Harbor. 20 Naval Vessels were destroyed, 300 airplanes were wiped out, and more than 2400 Americans were killed.
Out of the ashes of this tragedy, thousands of men signed up to serve in the military to defend the freedom of our country. Thousands of women served in factories to supply munitions and war materials to soldiers in the field. Thousands of families made daily sacrifices to support the war effort.
So many people changed the course of the history through acts of service both large and small. Some of those people may be related to you in some way.
Even in the darkest moments, we can look to examples such as these to keep our mind on an upward track.
What honorable things are you taking into account today?
Whatever is Just
I’ve been reading “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.” I wish I could have covered the civil war using this book and Ronald White’s biography on Grant. I’ve learned more from these two books on the Civil War than I ever learned in a classroom.
What fascinates me in reading about both men is their strong yet quiet confidence in what is right or just. Neither Lincoln nor Grant were perfect, but they strived to achieve fairness for all people.
On New Years’ Day, 1863, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring slaves in rebellious states to be set free. He said, he never “felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper.”
Some critics (past and present) said it wasn’t enough, while critics of the Day said it went too far. Whatever you believe, Lincoln’s proclamation was a crucial step to freedom for the oppressed. #Elevating8
Whatever is Pure
*Elihu’s note: I didn’t specify this post in the “pure” category, but both water and fire are purifying by nature, and as I was thinking on these things, this verse of the day popped up in my feed. God purifies our hearts through our trials, but He never leaves us hanging because He loves us.
In “The Prince of Egypt,” one of my favorite scenes is when the Israelites cross the Red Sea. It was an artful depiction, showing large fish swimming near the walls of deep water as the terrified Israelites fled to the opposite shore.
Fire behind, terror within and water all around. It’s difficult to fathom the combination of fear and wonder they must have felt. Yet as they passed through this terrifying phenomenon, they caught glimpses of God’s phenomenal creation swimming just on the other side of those walls of water. He was upholding the walls, holding back the Egyptians, and leading His people to safety.
When we pass through our own deep waters, there will be moments of abject terror, but God will also show us how magnificent He is. He will go with us each step of the way, and we will marvel at how amazing He is.
Whatever is Lovely
One of the many things I love about Christmas is the flood of cards and letters that come in from friends and family. Having moved around so much, I’ve been separated from many friends who remain near and dear to my heart. Two such friends—an elderly couple that I knew during my college days—sent me their Christmas letter. This couple practically adopted me when I was a 17-year old college kid, taking me not just to church, but also potlucks, plays, lunch, and other events.
These two people epitomize the idea of being in love with your best friend for a lifetime. Their love and commitment to each other has withstood the twin tests of time and adversity. This past year, the wife has been placed on hospice care and, because her mind gets so confused, has to remain in a skilled nursing facility. Because of her confused condition, she doesn’t understand why her husband can’t live at the facility with her.
My friend lovingly goes to see his wife each day, spending as much time as he can with her. They sing and play games and enjoy each other’s company.
That kind of love—pure, selfless, sacrificial love—doesn’t happen by accident. It is lovely, worth the effort to have and embrace. To be loved so completely, is something all of us long for.
In the daily vicissitudes of life, we may complain about our spouse or their quirks more than we ought. Instead of grumbling, remember that your relationship is worth the effort (and it does take effort!) to have and embrace, just as my dear friends have discovered. Stay the course and treasure your marriage.
Set your mind on what is lovely!
What are your some of your Elevating Eight Reflections?
Share yours in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter. If you share them on social media, be sure to tag @elihuscorner and use #Elevating8 so I can see them. Let’s encourage one another to take into account these wonderful things and bring greater glory to God the Father and Jesus His Son.