DAY 4: “Let’s Get Practical”

“Impart wisdom and revelation for

the practical things to make sense”

I am a person who has always asked “Why”?  From the time I can remember I have always been this way.  During my teen years this was not always perceived as positive, as it sometimes came across as a little, how we say “attitudeish”.

For me, I was learning that is part of how God had wired me (not with the attitude part) but the asking questions part.  I had to learn how to put it with the right tone of voice (still learning) and temper it with the WORD of God to not to be taken the wrong way.   I wanted to know why are we doing that? Are we doing it because we’ve always done it that way?  Is there a better solution?  Is there a way to improve it? Are there practical things that we can do to maximize the time and get more done.   I wanted the best solution to the problem that would help me in my daily walk with the Lord and in life.  Then someone introduced me to the Gallup Strengths Finder Test.   It helps you discover what you naturally do best.  It shows you how to develop your talents into strengths and maximize your potential. I was all in!  I found out that I am a Strategic, Maximizer, Futuristic, Ideation, Activator. I have 3 Strengths in the Strategic Thinking Category and 2 in the Influencing Category.  Wow, I made more sense!  No wonder I thought in the future (frustrating to some people), always had new ideas, wanted to strategically maximize every situation so that we were always moving forward, and my favorite strength : activating and encouraging others find their potential as well.

So, with all the hubbub of the Holidays upon us, I thought it was the perfect time to combine my strengths and “Get Practical” to help make this the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Webster defines practical as:

  1. Of or concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theory and ideas.
  2. (Of an idea, plan, or method) likely to succeed or be effective in real circumstances; feasible; suitable for a particular purpose; (of a person) sensible and realistic in their approach to a situation or problem.

Here are 11 practical things that I’ve found to help lessen stress, keep your joy, not lose your cool, and make it through the holidays.  Hopefully, you will adopt some of these and add them into your daily routine all year round.

1. Pray

Ok, this is the obvious one on the list.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” The Apostle Paul tells us to “be joyful always” (there’s that joy thing again!)  We know that the Joy of the Lord is our strength and boy do we need that!  That’s why he says be joyful always, so we are continually strengthened. We are leaky vessels, and we need to be filled up over and over again.  Then he says, “pray continually”.  James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.  I love results, so, let’s pray, and watch God go to work!  The 3rd part of that verse says we are to give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you.  If we know what the will of God is, we can pray knowing that He hears us, and that our prayers will be answered.

2. Praise

But Julie, music is your wheelhouse.  I have no rhythm and I can’t even carry tune! This doesn’t mean you have to have a good voice or know how to play an instrument. We were created to worship God. Our praise is an expression of our love, respect, and gratitude for what He has done for us. There are so many benefits for Praising God!  Psalms 92, 95, 96, 98, 100 and 103 are just a few.  Praise can also be used as a weapon in the battle.  In 2 Chronicles 20: 21-22   Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord for his love endures forever.” As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. Worship is your warship.  If you are in a battle this is a good verse to remember. When you praise Him sing loudly as if no one is watching.  God is the only one who matters, and He likes it loud!

3. Laugh

Medical science says that laughter produces chemicals in the body that relieve stress and help our physical and mental health. Ok, got my attention!  I remember hearing of a man that had cancer and laughed his way well.  The doctors called it a true miracle!  Put on a great comedy or listen to a good Christian comedian and laugh the night away.  Remember, the joy of the Lord is our strength.  Proverbs 17:22 (NIV) says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine; but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

4. This one is simple: When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!

Don’t sweat the small stuff or the big stuff!  Don’t let it rob your joy!  Shift, pivot and stay strong!

5. Exercise

As a general goal, aim for 30 minutes a day of something!  Anything!  Wow, you say, how is that possible?  Start with 10 minutes a day and work up from that.  Maybe that starts with walking around your house. Some people use one of the 10,000 step apps to keep track as they go about their day.  The main thing is do something, anything. God needs us in His end time army to help fulfill His purposes here on earth.  He wants us healthy, happy and ready to go!

6. Little Victories

I always told my kids; little victories turn into big victories.  Clean one drawer, organize one room, finish one task.  Each little victory turns into a bigger one and that turns into a bigger one yet.  You can now see your progress in areas that you once thought were overwhelming.

7. Make lists but only focus on 3 or 4 big things per day

Again, this goes with the little victories theme.  Think about it.  If you accomplish 3 or 4 big things in a day that is saying something granted you have a million other things to do as well. You can add something else after you finish those things but still feel like you accomplished something.  Experts will tell you that this really works.  You will feel better, be more productive and your stress level will go down because you actually got things done rather than beating yourself up because you didn’t finish the whole list.

8. Get plenty of sleep

We all know how we feel when we don’t get enough sleep.  Lack of sleep =Grumpy Gus= not fun to be around=grumpy results. One thing you can do is turn off the tv earlier.  Do something calming before you go to bed, so you fall asleep more quickly.  Darken the room so you aren’t disturbed by any random lights. Don’t eat past 8 pm so your body doesn’t digest things all night and give you funny dreams.

9. Drink more water than you think you need and then drink some more.

My daughter Allie carries this ginormous jug around with her every day.  It colorful and has encouragement like “Doing good, keep going, almost there” and others to keep her on her water intake track.  It is about ¼ my body size and I laugh every time I see it, but it reminds her that she needs to drink more water. (I love entrepreneurs and I hope someone is laughing all the way to the bank with this).  Daily fluid intake for healthy individuals is around 15.5 cups (125 ounces) of fluids for men and around 11.5 cups (91) ounces of fluids for women.  This is one area that I need to improve in greatly!  I know that when I drink more water, I feel better.

10. Watch your words

It is so easy to speak without thinking when the world around us seems to be spinning out of control.  Remember, words have power.  They create, they shape, and they form things.  Words can hurt, words can heal.  Words can encourage and words can discourage. Let’s speak life with our words to those we love and to those who might need encouragement.  Proverbs 12:25 “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind work cheers him up.”

11. Take time for yourself

This is last on the list but certainly not the least.  I put it last because this is the one that is actually the hardest to do.  We are so used to taking care of everyone and everything else that we neglect ourselves in the process. We need to rest, reset, and renew before we start to feel crispy.  Go get a manicure or pedicure. (I suggested this to my friend last night and she said she had never had a manicure.) Go to lunch with a good friend.  Get a massage.  Talk a walk by a lake or in a beautiful place and listen to God talk to you.  You are worth it! And more importantly, God thinks you are worth it!

Say this with me:  Father, in the Name of Jesus, I thank you for the practical things in life.  I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  So right now, I ask that you would impart wisdom and revelation for the practical things to make sense to me.  Help me to take the little victories and celebrate as they turn into bigger victories.  Help me to make the adjustments I need so that I can be a blessing to those around me.  By making these simple adjustments I declare that this is going to be the best holiday season ever!

Shalom,

Mama Swan