Wanting Not

(No, your mind is not playing tricks on you. I originally posted this last Saturday but decided to move it to today.)

It’s the same every year: Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Christmas. Boxing Day. We gorge ourselves during the last several weeks of the year—on food, on consumer goods, on anything that brings us pleasure—and then wake up on the first day of January determined to be more altruistic.

We know that “stuff” will never make us truly happy and yet we remain on this cycle, believing the lie that one day we will find the perfect thing that finally makes our world okay. If it’s not gadgets and clothes, it’s money, food, entertainment, and a rush of adrenaline, fame or someone who loves us.

As a Christian teen, I pitied unbelievers who sought fulfillment in behaviours I wouldn’t dream of. Naïvely, I did not recognize the same patterns in my own life. My pursuits were different but the driving force was the same: a longing for significance. I began performing, trying to please people. What I lacked in beauty, athleticism, and charisma, I tried to make up for with academic excellence, church involvement, and perfect behaviour.

None of those efforts are inherently bad, but when the underlying goal is to earn people’s love, you set yourself up for a life of regret. The slightest indication that I’d fallen short sent me into a tailspin of anxiety, followed by self-flagellation. I’d pull away from people, trying to hide my brokenness and weakness, sabotaging any potential for true intimacy.

Harry Schaumburg, a Christian counsellor and author, says, “In demanding the bliss of someone’s real or imagined warmth, we become consumed with ourselves, which destroys the very ecstasy we seek. There is no way out. We are locked in reality, always wanting and therefore always destroying what we want.”

Several years ago, I realized that even my relationship with God had become a way to feel better about myself; confession and repentance were more about not feeling yucky than about pleasing God. I prayed: “Please teach my heart to want nothing but You. I want to want You, Lord. I want to truthfully say, ‘Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.’”

I listed the things I wanted—to lose weight, to have a vibrant devotional life, to have victory over sin, to manage my time better, etc. Not a single thing on my list seemed contrary to God’s will but I knew I wanted those things more than I wanted God. Things began to change when I made hungering for God my daily, overarching goal.

God is patient and faithful and—I love this—God is for us. He doesn’t shame or condemn us for our cravings because He sees them for what they really are, even when we don’t. He is ready to meet every need.

My wish for you for 2021 is similar to Apostle Paul’s: “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. . . who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:17-20).



Don’t Throw Those Cards Out!

Christmas card balls

20180105_194721I’ve been collecting used Christmas cards for years! The uses for all that pretty paper are limited only by one’s own imagination. As you can see in the photo above, I’ve turned dozens of them into ornaments. That particular craft is a bit complicated and time-consuming so, if you prefer simple crafts, especially those you can do with your kids, here are some suggestions.

The most obvious, and simplest, thing to do is recycle them into new Christmas cards. I always have a stack of blank cards on hand (you can pick up bulk packages at just about any craft store) and these make a great background for cards that I crop to size and then paste on, sometimes adding embellishments. I whipped up a few last night as examples.


This snowflake card already had a fun 3D effect so I just did a bit of cropping before I used glue tape to attach the original card to a blank white one. Then I added some rhinestones for extra bling. Easy peasy!


In this case, the original card looked dull on the blank brown card so I added a beige border using scrap card stock. Presto! A Gelly Roll glitter pen added some sparkle to the image. Next!


With this one, I thought the original card’s artwork was pretty but my blank card was much smaller. No problem. I cropped strategically and, in the end, I think the card looks better without the ribbon border.


This is also a great way to salvage your own out-going cards that you make mistakes on but don’t want to throw out, such as this cutie.

It didn’t take long–and cost very little–to create five simple cards that I can use next Christmas. If I’d taken more time, I could have used rubber stamps and washi tape or ribbon to really dress these up. (Sadly, I don’t have any photos on hand of the cards I made last year. Some of them were quite fancy!)


If  you make any recycled cards, I hope you’ll come back and share photos with me! 🙂






Here are some other great ideas for repurposing old Christmas cards. . .

  • Turn them into funky Christmas trees! Basic instructions here. (This one could be fun to play around with, using different shapes for the “discs” of paper.)
  • Crop them into small squares or rectangles, punch a hole in them, attach ribbon or string, and use them as unique gift tags.
  • Fussy-cut them into triangles and string them together to make colourful bunting. (This photo is from Pinterest but it didn’t lead to instructions. It seems simple, though.)

cute way to recycle christmas cards.

If you’re on Pinterest, I invite you to follow me (or whichever of my boards interest you). You’ll find me here. Crafters / creative types will especially like these sets:

Gifts to Make & Give

I Will Make This One Day! (I really will.) 😉

Retreat / Mission Trip Crafts (these are great for groups)

Next Saturday, I will present a couple of fun prompts to get you to do some creative writing and / or doodling. Feel free to leave a comment below with requests for what kinds of creative projects or resources you’d like to see on my blog. I will consider all suggestions, even if I can’t make them all happen.

Okay, go do something creative today! 🙂