In my previous post I challenged others to let go of the familiarity they held with cherished possessions. To put them on hold for a season. Though this wisdom certainly applies to places and things it runs contrary to maintaining relationships with the people we cherish.
Take my wife for example. If I disassociate myself from her, this would not have a desirable outcome. The same would hold true of my relationship with my children, devoted friends, and God.
When I let go of my familiarity with possessions, it frees me to focus on relationships. It serves to elevate relationships over possessions. That brings me back to the season of Lent, and why so many people choose to do without favorite objects, and focus on their relationship with God and the suffering Jesus endured for all our sakes.
Don’t let familiarity with a relationship you hold dear breed contempt. Instead disassociate yourself from anything that stands in the way.
There is a proverb which says, “familiarity breeds contempt.” Siri defines this “extensive knowledge of or close association with someone or something leads to a loss of respect for them or it.”
The month of March is a lot like that in my opinion. By March, I’ve had enough of the cold and snow, and have no affection for winter. Snowflakes are no longer pretty or romantic. My familiarity with March is like a family member who has overstayed their welcome. It’s past time for winter to make its exit.
March doesn’t look anything like the hope-filled lesson I was taught as a child, you know, “in like a lion and out like a lamb.” Whoever made up the calendar did a cruel thing when they assigned March 31 days. It certainly feels like the longest month of the year.
March is a month of waiting. What are we supposed to do while we wait? For one thing, there’s Lent, a forty-day season of renewal and remembrance on the Christian calendar, commemorating Jesus’ wilderness experience.
I’ve also found it helpful to use March as a time to look back at what I accomplished last year, and ahead to what I hope to accomplish this year. Take gardening for example. Year’s ago, when I had more land, I used to pour over the seed catalog before spring arrived, trying to figure out what vegetables to plant based on last year’s gardening experience.
More recently, my wife and I have been renovating a rundown cottage about an hour drive from where we live. We close it up each year in early November and reopen it mid April. These pictures reflect our effort in 2022. It’s an amazing experience to walk back into the cottage after a winter hiatus. I think this has something to do with shedding our familiarity with it.
If you never got around to making a New Year’s resolution, there’s plenty of time to come up with something in March. You can ask yourself, is there anything in my life I could shed my familiarity with? You might be surprised how doing so will make you appreciate it more.
In the beginning I spotted you. Was it because we were in the same place at precisely the same time? There had to be more to it than that. Something about you was different. Something about you caught my attention. Was it your kind eyes, or the happiness you seemed to carry with you like a bouquet of flowers–perhaps it was.
It could have ended there; two people who shared a glance. But it didn’t. I reached out with a polite word, or two, and you responded. We engaged in conversation, nothing profound. Did time seem to lose its meaning for an instant? Did we make a connection–it seemed unlikely.
In the days that followed we encountered each another several times. Was it a coincidence, or did we run in the same social circles? It’s funny I never noticed you before–I found that interesting.
I was curious to know more about you. Something about you mattered to me. My heart was warmed when I discovered that I mattered to you. I decided to trust you. I let you see the real me, not the polite pasted on version of me I use to impress others. You had a way of drawing out the essence of me. Our two separate life stories began to overlap. We were–friends.
As time went on, I felt at home being with you. Home was now–us.
Awe is a feeling that comes from looking at a breathtaking view found in nature or the discovery of some profound truth that suddenly brings order into one’s world. When “awe” overtakes us it leaves us with a feeling of amazement or inspiration according to L. Teja Pattabhiraman, writer for the Epoch Times. The writer goes on to say awe is good for relationships, it helps melt away stress. We are happier people as a result. We encounter awe when we experience vastness and transcendence, when we are overcome by wonder.
For the Believer, awe can be found in the majesty of God, whether it’s a discovery found in His written Word or witnessing the power of nature or the beauty of His creation. But awe isn’t just associated with God’s power. Even though He is high and lifted up, He cares about what happens in the everyday life of an ordinary person like me.
What should our response be when we experience wonder? According to the article in the Epoch Times, when we encounter awe we can respond by being more generous or content. Linger in your moment of awe and capture it in visual or written form. Use awe to overcome your circumstances.
When Believers encounter the awe of God the appropriate response is to linger in worship, giving Him who inspires and amazes us His due.
Lord I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds. Lord renew them in our day, in our time make them known; Habakkuk 3:2
One thing I’ve learned about weight loss over the past several decades, it’s not as easy as it used to be. When I was younger, I was much more active and my metabolism was higher, therefore I burned more calories per day. I could “cheat” on a diet and get away with it. Oh my, how times have changed.
For me to lose weight now I need to employ a more holistic approach. Weight loss will have to include mind, body and spirit. Otherwise, I am likely to fail. Now the trick is to figure out how to do that.
The mental aspect: I intend to write down on paper a start date and what I plan to accomplish. For me, seeing something spelled out reinforces it. This includes breaking down my main goal into smaller milestones. The physical aspect: this includes the obvious, diet and exercise. I intend to spell out the regimens I will use. The spiritual aspect: this adds a mystical element to it. It attempts to keep my mind and body from wanting what I am denying it. When I reward a milestone (sub goal), I bolster my spiritual and mental well-being.
So, if I want to lose 20 pounds I should break it down into a few smaller milestones and capture those in writing. I should decide what type of diet I’m going to use, whether it’s low carb, low fat, portion control, if I’m eliminating snacking, etc. My plan needs to include what form of exercise I’m doing, whether its counting steps with a Fitbit or exercising for 15-20 minutes, etc. Spiritual discipline, I’ve discovered over the years, can bolster mental and physical capabilities. Personal devotion can play a part. Also, focusing on having a positive attitude and being thankful for what I already have and not what I lack (or can’t eat) has a bearing on how long I can endure a diet.