Category Archives: life’s purpose

De-stressing The Holidays

image

Today I want to talk to you not about the reason for the season, but about your relationships with your friends and family during this time of the year.
I am writing this blogpost after spending a beautiful afternoon in Malibu with a girlfriend.
A splendid California day with its bright sunshine in December was such a wonderful winter treat. Beautiful sunny day, blue skies and shimmering ocean—ahhh.
After going to church we chose to spend this day with each other, doing nothing “important”, catching up after months of being busy and not making time for a deep meaningful conversation. It was time to cancel shopping and running errands and talk “soul to soul” instead. Thankfully, with children all grown-up we can easily go for a stroll on a beach and drink hot tea on a porch overlooking the ocean— uninterrupted. For us this day it was time to slow down and spend time connecting, not consuming.
This time of the year we often get extremely stressed and overwhelmed, busy trying to do everything on our lists, run multiple errands and buy “perfect” gifts. We overlook importance of slowing down and “recharging”- with a book or a good movie, or by spending time with a friend without going shopping together and multitasking. Many of my girlfriends slow down in December only if they get sick… At times we have to be reminded to slow down, spend some quiet time in prayer and meditation, nurture our bodies and our most important relationships: with our Creator and loved ones.
Some women spend days and weeks planning and trying to throw “perfect” parties, especially during this season of festivities. I think it is a true gift—to be able to pull together a great gathering and enjoy all aspects of the proses. I am not writing about those, who breeze through holiday preparations with ease and grace. Not that many women do. Majority are trying to prepare for the holidays while juggling careers, kids and running regular household tasks.
Often the idea is great—it will be so nice to get together with friends and family. But somehow, regardless of initial good intentions of having a great time with friends, many ladies exhaust themselves in preparation, while making sure guests have a wonderful time. Occasionally they even force their family members out of their comfort zones in order to impress others, sacrificing peace and joy at home to please guests. Hospitality is important, spreading good cheer and happiness are important, but we need to ask ourselves: what are the true reasons for all our actions, especially in holiday preparations? Do we try to buy gifts, attend events and host people at our homes to enjoy each other’s company and please God, or do we try to fill up our need to be loved by pleasing people we barely know? Do we ever switch from doing things to bring joy to those around us, to doing to much and becoming overwhelmed?
What are our true priorities and motives? Is it God, our families and “other people”- in that order? We can enjoy the holidays to the fullest when we focus on joy, not our todo lists. Planing and writing down what needs to be done helps to give us a sense of control. Writing down on our lists why we are doing all those things and how we want to feel in a process is a good reminder of why we are scheduling all these activities. In my line of work as a life coach I help women to handle stress and challenging situations. I encourage clients to write down motives for their action, which helps to reflect on true reasons we do things.
When we are willing to carefully examine our motives for various actions we take, we can learn to break old patterns of wrong priorities and toxic overthinking in our lives. With enough practice it will become easy to focus on what means the most for us. For majority it is happy loving family and healthy caring relationships. We can start each day by praying and quietly asking: Dear God, how may I please you today in my actions and my words, how can I fulfill my purpose?

I wish you to have truly amazing holidays filled with love, while surrounded by true friends God put in your life.

Merry Christmas!

Lena Giffoni

My book “Return To Joyful Living: Reclaiming Life From Fear, Anxiety and Toxic Overthinking” will be available in January

Greatness

image“Though your beginning was small, your latter days will be very great.”

Job 8:7 (ESV)

Have you ever thought that you were created for greatness? Not the pompous kind, but the one that reflects God’s one-of-a-kind design for you, your Destiny. Greatness and perfectionism are quite different when you look at achieving from the angle of pleasing your Creator, not yourself or others.

If  what stops you from achieving something for the glory of God? Are you afraid that you’re not enough? Are you concerned what others  might think? Do you question what that greatness might me comparing to seemingly small everyday tasks you need to complete?

Striving for greatness can be tricky. What does it mean to you- to be great? Focusing on achieving to bring glory to God is the way to go- even in things that seems small and mandane at first glance. Pray, ask God to give you a vision, decide to move in that direction and go forward. He got you, baby!

Male And Female- Go Figure…

red rose

“So God created humans in his own image, in the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

I get it- we are different. But could our Lord Almighty not go to such extremes?! Us, girls, like to talk, they- usually- not that much. Well, no one knows how to listen these days- males or females- with the exception of your shrink- so there is another problem right there. We need love, romance, flowers, being swept off our feet- constantly- and they demand respect. Oh, my. And we supposed to be in pairs! Why?!

So a woman goes into a relationship thinking that there is a prince charming in this world who can complete her. Yeah, right! That famous phrase from “Jerry Maguire”: “you complete me” is misleading, to say the least. You are God’s complete creation, and don’t you ever forget it! In His ultimate wisdom- only He knows why- he intended for many of us to find a pair. At the same time Lord created you very special and unique, and He did so according to His plan. Another person can enhance you, but not “complete” you.

To make matter even worse nowadays people are waiting to start families. When two people meet after they became accomplished adults and are used to make their own decisions for quite sometime, there will be additional challenges in a relationship– trust me on this.

Lord created us in His image, so there is similarity, but He did not cancel gender, cultural and socio-economic differences.

After all, “male and female he created them” according to His divine design.

We are “wired” differently and that is a fact. It takes grace, forgiveness, lots and

lots of prayer and a salad bowl full of Fruit of the Spirit with extra helpings for two to become one. Yes, we do need His Amazing Grace all the time.

We all know men have no weaknesses, but if they hypothetically did they will allow only a few people to witness such “flaw of manly character”, a wife usually being #1 on a list of confidants. In such case a husband needs wife’s confidentiality. It is not advisable to share his secrets and weaknesses with others- it will turn against you if he finds out. Trust is a must. He also needs your tenderness, understanding, devotion, love, care, strength, advice, help as well as a listening ear- after all, he is a biggest child of them all- just never tell him that! It may take quite some time to learn just to listen, giving your undivided attention and not just to daydream when he is talking about sports or carburetors. Switching a conversation to stories about you is another no-no. That what you have girlfriends for- to vent about life, to complain, to support each other. Men cannot just sit there, listen to what is going on in your life and nod- guys are natural problem solvers. When we are just venting about something, what men hear is that we are having a problem and they need to fix it.

Bottom line is- men and women are different by design. To grow in a relationship be yourself, getting to know who you are and who Lord created you to be. Learn to like and respect yourself and you will be able to do the same to others on a highest level. Getting a tiara and wearing it around the house from time to time may assist you to be more tuned-in to your inner queen. “Love your neighbor as yourself” implies you love yourself first. Not the self-centered and totally egotistical kind of love, but respect and confidence that you are wonderfully made in the image of your Creator.

Some women believe that a man in their life is supposed to meet all their needs. Whom are we kidding? Are we expecting a mere man to provide for us? Aren’t we attempting to take God out of the picture? With such expectations we are telling our Heavenly Father that He and what He is giving us is not enough, forgetting that Lord is the only one who knows all our needs can meet them.

is not right to have anything to stand between you and God, even the most beautiful relationship in the world. Sometimes we get too attached to a person, and when Lord chooses to take that person away- either just out of our lives or to heaven- we are overwhelmed with grief, forgetting that there is a reason for us to be here and to press on. Lord never wastes a sorrow or a tear. He chose the parents for you- for better or worse, places you lived at and people who came into your life-all for a season. He allowed everything to happen for a reason, to put you in circumstances where you can fulfill His purpose for your life. No one is designed to give to others what you have to give. You are God’s masterpiece, “wonderfully made” by Him. There is a unique purpose for your life, even if you can’t see it yet, blinded by today’s sorrow of loss. Life is a box of chocolates, even when the box is stained, torn and overall unappealing, there are yummies inside- just wait and see!

And here is a final thought: many people think that contribution in a relationship should be a 50/50 deal. There is a slight problem, though: everybody’s idea of

50% is different. In math it makes sense and 50%+50%=100%, but in real life it

does not always adds up this way. Just give of yourself in love, without always

expecting to be met in a middle. As we are reminded in the most beautiful Bible passage about love:

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

…13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13

Your life is not a random occurrence

“Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘He has no hands’?” Isaiah 45:9

“No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” Romans 9:20

“I was raised to believe that God has a plan for everyone and that seemingly random twists of fate are all a part of His plan.” Ronald Reagan

When you or the loved one does not get healed on a spot as an answer to prayers you feel grief and even anger with God. It seems unfair and unjust.

About a month ago my husband’s business associate was diagnosed with last stage of pancreatic cancer. For over a year her condition was not diagnosed. When she finally was diagnosed she received a very grim prognosis- only weeks to live. Why? Could Lord cure her on a spot? There is no doubt in my mind of his omnipotence. And it is hard to accept that He has his reasons for everything.

When recently the result of an MRI showed that I had a tumor in my ankle, I could not believe it. I became frightened and devastated. The word “oncology” is a scary one… Having my husband’s business partner diagnosed with late stage of terminal cancer left me anxious, my heart was going out to her and there I was, uncertain in my own future. Once again I was asking ”Why, God?” questions, that usually are not answered right away. Lord does not cure terminally ill patients all the time. It is especially difficult to witness someone die young, before their time. It is always scary to receive a frightening diagnosis. When we get a cure, and I consider all cures miraculous, how do we evaluate what we learned and how can we apply those lessons to the rest of our lives? Lord created the Universe and has a plan for everything and everybody. We all are destined to depart to be with our Heavenly Father forever and we never know when our time will run up.

As I am writing this, it has been almost four weeks since my surgery. I can have to stay in bed and can move only on crutches or in a wheel chair. I was recently reminded about the time I was crushed by devastating panic attacks. Pain was so real, so excruciating- I was completely distressed and wiped out. I remember thinking then: it was probably the only way Lord will grab my attention without giving me something really awful to deal with. I also thought He has something for me to do and I am learning through pain. I was learning to be silent for one, because I was crashed and could not move. I was on disability and stayed in bed for days at the time. I remember thinking that if something was to happen to my foot, I would still come to work, even if in a wheelchair. I also realized when I worked full-time I was not giving my full attention to God. I had to learn to be still and completely rely on my Creator, trust and listen. I will never know how many people prayed for my healing but I know they did. Why was I not healed on the spot, why did it take three long years to overcome severe panic attacks? It is only for my Creator to know. I learned to trust God and I am glad I did not doubt Him through my ordeal.

Here I am now, working again, even if from a wheel chair. What kind of teacher should I be, what have I learned in past years? Would I focus more of delivering the subject I teach in the most professional way? What is it that I need to share with my students? Shall I send them messages to remind that our Lord really cares about them and loves them? Shall I pray with my students before every class or would it be too legalistic for some? I began praying for them and will continue to do so. I also was reminded of being undisciplined writing this blog. Lately I have been thinking about words discipline and disciple. Is it a coincidence or there is a deeper truth to a fact of a word “disciple” being a part of a word “discipline”? How should I discipline myself to be a true disciple of my God? What lessons did I learn through pain, what was impressed on my heart? There were many. If you are suffering now- ask Lord to reveal what lessons he want you to learn.

%d bloggers like this: