It’s that time of year again where bloggers are writing about best gift ideas and influencers are advertising gifts that make you wanna spend all your money. I decided to join the club, but I’m not offering you clothing and appliance tips. I’m offering something much more valuable. This is the chance for you to Get 👏🏿 Your 👏🏿 Life 👏🏿 PERIODT!
2020 was a challenging year for all of us, but the one thing it did gift us was the opportunity to look within and heal! If you spent the year running, then may this blog catch you and hit you HARD because we will NOT enter 2021 with the same mess we had all our lives. So here’s an idea that you can gift yourself, gift a friend, and return gift to sender. Enjoy!
Gift Yourself: Boundaries
I used to have a vision of me doing a one-hand stand. Sometimes I was juggling balls with my feet and sometimes my free arm was twirling huge circus rings. I didn’t understand the vision, until one day I realized I only got the vision whenever I felt like I was people pleasing. Yes, I was a People Pleaser and I’m so glad God freed me from it, because before I was so bound by the opinions of others. I never wanted to let anyone down, but the reality is the root of people pleasing has nothing to do with others and everything to do with how you feel about yourself. I felt unworthy. For instance, I had a friend who constantly asked me to help her with video projects and I’d always say yes. She was a close friend of mine, so I wanted to help. But working on her projects always infringed on mine. Low key, I thought if she was successful then she’d help me too. But that was me not believing in myself and accepting the lie that my work wouldn’t lead me to my own success. My people pleasing didn’t stop there. I had other friends who didn’t mind if I spent money at their expensive birthdays, but when my birthday came around they were always “conveniently” busy. I’m a super loyal friend. I would go above and beyond for you, but loyalty doesn’t mean stupidity and I had to learn that. True friends encourage your boundaries. They recognize the importance of it because it makes you feel secure and helps you to remain authentic to you.
Tips for Setting Boundaries
- Set a Standard for Friendship – Defining my friendships really helped me. In 2017, I followed Bishop TD Jakes’s advice and listed all of my friends into three categories.
The first is Confidant. People in this category are your closest friends. The relationship thrives off of transparency, honesty, and deep conversations. They desire to see you thrive, and they pour into you as you equally pour into them.
The second is Constituent. People in this category share a common ground with you, but once you’re removed from that common ground then the friendship falls apart. So these people may be colleagues, classmates, church mates, or someone you met at a networking event.
The third is Comrade. People in this category hate the things you hate. You bond very strongly over those things, but once it’s gone the friendship falls apart. This may be someone you bonded with at an anti-Trump rally or someone who hates to eat peanuts just as much as you do.
Once I put my friends into categories I realized that all of my confidants had a few things in common. All were transparent, open, and authentic. I recognized this was my standard for friendship.
- Say No – People Pleasers say yes all the time even when they’re on the brink of a burn out. Each time you say yes to someone make sure you’re not saying no to yourself. Like me when I prioritized my friend’s video projects over mine. If your friends truly are your friends they will honor your time. So they would understand when you say no. And feel free not to explain yourself when you do say no. Saying, “Thanks for thinking of me, but I can’t participate” or “No thank you” are completely okay.
- Be Selfish – I know it’s strange to say this especially because the world frowns down on selfish people, but in this sense I mean put you first. Even Jesus put Himself first. He would minister to crowds of people and when they wanted more of Him, He’d run away to a secluded area to pray and re up on the Holy Spirit, Luke 5:15-16. Instead of “fixing” other people, focus on you and let the other people fix themselves.
Give the Gift: Forgiveness
7 years ago, I was in a relationship that I didn’t feel secure in. My ex was very manipulative and emotionally abusive. He struggled with unforgiveness and often held on to things that he should’ve let go. Whenever conflict arose he’d bring up past incidents indicating that he never forgave me. This went on for about 6.5 years until finally I had to leave. Here are a couple of things that I learned about unforgiveness, which can help you break free from its cycle. Once freed, you can then give the gift of forgiveness this year.
- Unforgiveness stems from the spirit of offense. That’s right! Offense is a spirit and the spirit world is real (Eph 6:12-13). So people who get offended easily are usually the ones harboring unforgiveness. These are people who have trust issues or were deeply hurt, so the spirit of offense comes in promising to protect them from getting hurt again. In reality
- Unforgiveness is feeling like someone owes you something. I had a friend who ended our friendship because she felt like I abandoned her on her Birthday. The truth is I was unavailable for the weekend celebration, but I was available on her actual Birthday. I tried to explain that to her when she called me to “hear my side.” As I began to speak she cut me off and yelled, “You’re still not taking accountability for anything you’ve done!” I recognized she didn’t call to hear me out she called for an apology because she felt that I owed her that. But the word says that we should, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends us. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others,” Colossians 3:13.
The truth is you will get hurt in relationships. I think we expect that people will never hurt us, but this is unrealistic. We, humans, are flawed. We will break your trust, offend you, and embarrass you. It’s inevitable. But it’s your choice to forgive us. I recognize it’s not easy to do, but it’s not impossible. When someone hurts me I ask God to heal me, show me how to set a boundary so that they never do it again, and then I forgive them. It takes faith to forgive and you’ll need help to do it. Forgiveness is a process, so don’t think you have to do it in one sitting. Pastor Mike Todd is one of my fave pastors. He has a series out now entitled, “Forgiveness University.” This is a great resource to help you forgive.
Return the Gift: Comparison
You know how you get that one gift that you don’t like and you’re so glad the giver put the gift receipt in the box? Well, that’s how we’re gonna treat Comparison. RETURN TO SENDER. Comparison leads to jealousy and envy and that’s not something that’s easy to tackle. First of all, just admitting that you’re jealous takes a lot of willpower and humility. Believe me, I should know because just last year, God healed me from jealousy and envy. He pretty much showed me that when I’m feeling jealous it’s because I feel a lack of love from Him. I wrote all about it in my blog, When Is It My Turn?: Overcoming Jealousy and Envy. I’m so glad that He healed me because it totally prepared me for this year. I struggled A LOT with comparison. Mainly because I felt like God gave me a prophetic word that this is the year of Double Portion and I clung to it, but when others were getting blessed I wasn’t. In my prayer time I reminded God of all the things I did and how obedient I was, but nothing changed. I felt forgotten and overlooked. God kept reminding me of the truth that I was chosen. I did two things in order to overcome comparison.
- Thanksgiving – I found things to be grateful for and thanked God for it. Like although I didn’t have a job, all of my bills were paid. I didn’t get my dream home, but I was grateful I had a place to live. It wasn’t always easy to find things to be grateful for especially when you’re in the middle of a COVID-19 shut down. But thanking God kept my mind off of what I didn’t have and shifted my focus to what I did have.
- Celebrate – I celebrated the blessings that my friends received from God. This was actually easier than finding things to be grateful for. Mainly because I was genuinely happy for my friends and their achievements reminded me of how good God is.
We’re always gonna compare ourselves to others it’s part of our culture, but you don’t have to let it overtake you. Instead of comparing your weaknesses to someone else’s strengths look at their strengths as an inspiration and door opener to new possibilities. If they can do it so can you. There are so many people doing amazing things and they set a bar so high that may seem intimidating at first. Turn that intimidation into motivation and rise to the occasion.
I hope you found these gifts delightful. Use it to feed your soul this Holiday. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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What gift are you giving this year? Comment below.