Holidays: Five Fun & Sustainable IF’s

by Christine Sine
Woman swims underwater holding alarm clock

By Laurie Klein

  • If I make Thanksgiving succotash, or Yuletide lutefisk, will anyone eat?
  • If I don’t budget enough for presents, will the grandkids still want to come next year?
  • If so-and-so brings up the election, what should I do?

IF Schmiff. Too many possibilities ride shotgun with worry. Steamrolled, I go numb to the wonder meant to enhance celebration.

And here come the holidays . . .

As we approach our inevitable lists, may I share an idea that’s helping me become more of a celebrant (and less of a gibbering, flummoxed escapist)?

When the notion first dropped into my awareness, early, early one morning almost a year ago, it felt exciting. Then, a tad gimmicky. Later, fittingly catchy, therefore memorable—at my age, a godsend.

Here’s what I do:

As often as I can, before rising, I daydream for 15 minutes. Rather than setting my alarm I ask God (the night before) to gently stir me next morning toward consciousness. That won’t work for everyone.

Demanding schedules, dawn-rising kids (or creatures) who need you may preclude the morning slot. A before-bed ritual or midday break also works.

Please, gift yourself with a mini-oasis to daydream. No need to join Slackers Anonymous. Consider it a prescription for your well-being.

Most days, a little on-ramp to living more creatively appears. Ideas emerge. New connections surface. Some call this a state of “flow.” I go with it. If I’m apt to lose track of time on a morning with looming appointments, I’ll set a back-up alarm to ensure I fulfill my duties.

I call step one DRIFT. It’s an invitational state of mind we can enter, a Spirit-led openness to the gentle brainstorm. No need for that bedside journal. Just mentally coast among the small frets and marvels that rise, savoring the occasional glint, allowing grace to direct your thoughts.

Some will be utter drivel. One or two . . . might dazzle.

As you come more fully awake, prayerfully SIFT through your impressions. As we yield to the Spirit’s curation, one possibility often seems highlighted.

LIFT that instance of shimmer, in prayer. Is it meant for today, I ask? Later this week or month? I then surrender out-workings and outcomes to God’s timing.

You might think of this simple practice as a spiritual D.S.L. (Digital Subscriber Line). By grace you are accessing heaven’s broadband provision. But rather than firing up the internet in a given moment, you’re connecting with the charged presence of our endlessly wise, dynamic, inventive God.

That little word “if” hides within the heart of drift, sift, and lift. Among English parts of speech, in a sentence “if” serves as a conjunction. In other arenas, it also correlates and clarifies the coming together of two or more things in meaningful ways, including events or ideas. Grammar itself becomes an ally.

I’ve been engaging my three-word process for months now. Usually, I find my guilt-inducing IF’s take on more realistic proportions. Curiosity and a sense of adventure begin to unfurl . . .

So that’s it.

  • Enter a state of DRIFT.
  • Enact the (prayerful) SIFT.
  • Receive the ensuing LIFT—even as you lift your unfolding inspiration to God’s care.

And, if you’ll accept one more riff:

  • Embrace the SHIFT all this will cause.
  • Rejoice in the GIFT being entrusted to you, so you can in turn offer it to others.

Over time, what we heed is what we remember. As this becomes habit, gradually, we come to resemble what, and Whom, we look to and love.

Dandelion seed head

Photo by Paul Levesley from Unsplash

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