Give the gift of PEARLS this Christmas
|What is more important than our relationships? They are continually shifting and being redefined. As we approach the holiday season, when we’ll be spending time with both friends and family, I’d like to suggest we give the gift of “pearls.” This suggestion comes from the “Relationship” chapter of my book, Friendship Interrupted. These particular “pearls” are something we can strive to wear each day.
These “pearls” can freely be given out to friends and family.
We know that at the core of every important and meaningful friendship is a close, committed relationship that adjusts and compensates as needed. The following “pearls” are the qualities that can strengthen and help us sustain more satisfying relationships. We eagerly shop for the perfect gift, but if we wear these actions and attitudes every day, we help our friendships (and family relationships) remain dynamic and growing. These pearls are the perfect gift!
As 1 Corinthians reminds us, “Love is patient and kind. It bears all things.” Patience, when put into action, can be a tremendous present to give a friend or family member. It illustrates that you care for them through thick and thin. Patience shows you can bear up, and let something irritating slide off, as you choose to forget or forgive. It also gives you the perseverance to come alongside a friend or family member who may have long term problems, complaints, or pain.
Patience, when materialized in human form, is seen as even-tempered, caring and diligent. Women, who are able to personify patience, bring expressions of kindness and wisdom that touch gently and humbly. This gift won’t go unnoticed—it enhances serenity and peace.
For believers, sharing the bond of Christ can be especially powerful. The strength of encouraging words should not be underestimated. In mere seconds, they can uplift and inspire.
Kathi, age 55 wrote this note to her friend, “Your friendship has been a catalyst in my life. When we are together, I come away with renewed vision and energy to reach beyond where I am and follow my dreams. Thank you for that! There is something about our being together that thrusts me forward—it is true! Isn’t that what a part of friendship is all about?”
In describing the most important blessing friendship has provided, Mary, age 54 said, “To be fully known and still loved and accepted! That is the closest to being like God that one person can be towards another. To be given that from a friend is huge…and freeing.”
Felicia, age 35 added, “Having someone who knows you well enough, and loves you well enough to gently point out your blind spots but at the same time puts up with your faults; that’s mercy in action.” Loving unconditionally means you believe in, and respond to the best in a friend or family member, regardless of her mistakes and weaknesses. It does not mean you accept sin, or turn a blind eye towards it. Loving unconditionally means you care enough about someone to love them even when it’s hard and at times, undeserved.
When an attitude of respect exists, it builds confidence between friends (and family). It also bestows high esteem and regard for others opinions and feedback. Jill, age 28, said, “To me, respect means there is truthfulness, reliability and honor in my friendships. It brings with it certain rights and privileges. My friends can say nearly anything to me, if I know they respect me.”
Jennifer, age 47 said, “My marriage came undone after my husband repeatedly broke my trust and left me for another woman…They were constant companions when I couldn’t be alone, and they remained true and faithful friends when I had no one else to turn to. They reminded me there was still plenty to love about myself. If that’s not loyalty, I don’t know what is.”
The character, Truvy, played by Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias said, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” If laughter could be prescribed in daily doses like medicine, everyone would be healthier. Proverbs 15:15 states, “He who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” Relationships that share a strong sense of humor, no matter how far-out or whacky it seems, tend to grow into fast friends and enjoy a “continual feast.”
I encourage you to serve plenty of laughter up at every gathering this holiday season. Also, you can enjoy the side-benefit of more calories being burned while you enjoy it!
A thriving relationship can’t help but produce good works, and in doing so strengthens bonds. Friendships and family relationships that mutually serve one another reap huge rewards.
Join me in doing your best to give out “pearls” this holiday season—acts of patience, encouragement, acceptance, respect, loyalty, laughter and service. Priceless blessings will likely reflect right back onto you from the “pearls” you choose to give. I hope your friends and family give you the same!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!