“Ok, so here’s the game plan,” I said in all seriousness as I talked to my mom and sister. “It’s ‘divide and conquer’ time. Let’s get in and get out as fast as we can!”
I knew my sister could handle herself and she knew what items she needed to secure, but I had less confidence in my mom.
“Mom, you know where you are going, right?” I said looking her in the eyes.
“uh, yeah, I think so… can I get a shopping cart?” she replied less confidently than I was hoping for, but I didn’t have more time to explain it again. I looked her in the eye and said, “No shopping cart, it will slow you down. You’ve got this! Meet you both back at the front of the store when I’ve secured my items.” Then we were off, into the chaos of Black Friday shopping at Target.
My assignment was to hit the toy aisle and secure an Ernie Doll for my daughter and some Tonka Trucks for my son. Easy-Peasy, or so I thought. Instead, I found the aisle where all the Sesame Street toys were and in front of the area where I knew Ernie was, there was a stack of these ridiculous red “Tickle Me Elmo” toys. I was blocked from obtaining my objective target. I knelt down to try and reach behind the stack of Tickle Me Elmo’s and as I stood back up, I heard from behind, “Hey, can you hand me one of those boxes with Elmo please?”
I kid you not, I stood there for several minutes trapped. There were so many people trying to come down this aisle with carts, baskets and kids, that I couldn’t move if I wanted to. In an attempt to clear a path for myself to escape, I started handing out “Tickle Me Elmo’s” to whoever asked. If I could get these people what they wanted, they would vacate the aisle sooner and I could get to the Tonka trucks and meet my family back at the front. In fact, they were probably already waiting for me by now. I was taking way too much time. Sure enough, about the time I made it to the truck aisle both my mom and sister came in search of me.
“Hey, what’s keeping you?” they said. “we’ve been waiting up at the front for at least 10 minutes, if not more.”
“I know, I know, let’s head towards the front to check out and I will fill you in while we wait in the line.” I replied.
It wasn’t until later that Thanksgiving Holiday weekend as my husband was watching the news that I fully understood the importance of those “Tickle me Elmo” toys. Apparently, the Tickle Me Elmo doll was all the rage that Christmas. SO much so, that there was a shortage on them that year. People were selling them for hundreds on up to thousands of dollars on E-bay.
I looked at my husband in disbelief and said, “Do you know how many of those toys passed through my hands on Friday?”
“What? Are you crazy! Tell me you bought at least one?” he replied.
“uh no, I didn’t, but now I am wishing I had. I just didn’t know. I didn’t understand what I had in front of me.” I replied.
“Do you know how much we could have sold them for? Do you know how much money we could have made?” he said, as he started to laugh.
“Well, I do now!” I said laughing too.
If I could only turn back time, and known then what I discovered a few days later, we could have made bank on those toys. Instead, I was busy handing out Tickle Me Elmo’s like candy to whoever asked for them and I was left empty handed. I was helping others get what they wanted and giving instead of keeping or taking for myself.
Why am I sharing this true and funny story with you?
To let you all, know how clueless I am when it comes to trends? Clearly, I am clueless about those kinds of things. LOL Uh, but NO that is not why I am sharing them. ?
It’s simple, it’s a kingdom principle.
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4 ESV).
In the kingdom of God, we are called to help others. We aren’t to be looking out for #1, but rather trust God is looking out for us. Did I really miss out on not bringing a ‘Tickle Me Elmo’ home? Nope. Honestly, it wouldn’t have stayed in our home anyway and let’s not even talk about the hassle of having to sell and ship it to whomever bought it. It all sounds like a huge headache to me, and one I thank God I was spared. But I was also focusing on the wrong thing. I wasn’t focusing on what really matter. It was more about getting the things I wanted for my kids and getting out of the store. It was more about missing a seemingly good opportunity to make some quick cash. My eyes and attitude needed an adjustment. It took this crazy silly experience to help me refocus on what was important.
Would the money have been nice? Yes! Did we need it? Yes and no. I mean, we were a one income family with two small children under two, so yes, extra money at the holidays would have been nice, but it wasn’t a necessity.
As kingdom minded people, we are to give, share, and dispense the love of God and the fruit of the Spirit.
We are not to be self-centered or self-focused.
We are not called to focus on what we have or don’t have.
Rather we are to be like Jesus and be others-centered and others-focused.
We need to look to the needs, cares and concerns of others.
Sometimes, especially this time of year, our focus can become blurred by things that aren’t eternally important.
This Christmas Season, may we focus on what really matters. Not the gifts we have or don’t have under the tree, but the gifts in the form of the people we gather with. The gifts of health, jobs, faith, family and friendships. And if any one of these are missing as you gather and you experience hardship from it, then choose to focus on what you do have.
Focus on praise and thanksgiving to the ONE we are celebrating in the first place. It won’t make the absence or pain any less, but as we focus on Jesus and His being the reason for the season, our attitudes and spirits will be lifted, even for a moment. As we focus on Jesus nothing else tends to matter and He has a way of bringing clarity into the most unclear situations.
If you can’t gather with the ones you love, then find a way to include them anyway. Focus on how much they mean to you and choose to celebrate and remember the times you had together. If the distance of miles is keeping you apart, can you find a way to still be together even though you are in separate locations?
Where’s your focus? Remember, we get to choose where we put our focus.
From my home to yours,
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Debbie Kitterman is a natural born encourager who is on fire for God. She is passionate about equipping individuals, so they can go deeper in the relationship with God, reach their God-potential and claim their Kingdom inheritance. Debbie is a wife, mother, author, pastor, speaker and the founder of “Dare 2 Hear,” a ministry that trains individuals to hear the voice of God. She travels to churches internationally and is the founder and teacher of d2htraining.com, an online course designed to equip the believer in releasing God’s heart. Her writing and teachings inspire faith and build bridges for people to believe and expect the impossible. She is also an ordained Foursquare pastor, currently serving with her husband, John, as senior pastor of Restoration Church in Lacey, Washington. Learn more at: www.debbiekitterman.com
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YouVersion 7-Day Devotional
I am blessed and honored to have a 7-day devotional on the YouVersion Bible App. YAY!!! It is a great way to kick start the 7- days before my on-line Bible Study starts next week. I would be so blessed if you would check it out and share it with your friends. You can find it here: Be The Gift Someone Needs Today!
Have you had the opportunity to read my new book “The Gift of Prophetic Encouragement: Hearing the Words of God for others.” ? This book is about learning to hear the voice of God in our own life so we can respond to those God bumps and little nudges He gives us on a daily basis. God is calling us to be agents of encouragement and to be the gift the worlds needs today.
We live in a time, where those around us are in desperate need of a real encounter with Jesus and in need of encouragement. We are called to encourage one another daily (Hebrews 3:13), and to build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). My book will teach you how to step out and do just that.
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God is speaking, Can you Hear Him?
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One phrase really stood out to me in this post: “kingdom minded people.”
That’s a really tall order, but one that I want to live my way into.
Blessings to you, Debbie, and Merry Christmas!
Yes, Michele, I agree, it is a really tall order. You know how it is when you are typing away and out pops something and you stop and think. Yes! that is it, but oh wait a minute, I am not doing a great job of it myself…yeah, that was me. Merry Christmas to you as well. Blessings
Deb, isn’t it neat the way these life stories weave their way into Kingdom principles years later. I hope for you and yours a very blessed and sacred celebration of our Savior’s birth even in the grief of missing. xoxo
Susan, yes, it is great how God brings these stories back at a time when we need them. Thank you for your blessing, prayers and encouragement. This Christmas season is a bittersweet one as we are missing my dad, but celebrate where he is. XOXO
Love this illustration from every-day life!
I think we need more teaching on what kingdom-minded living means. Keep sharing!
Thank you Jerralea! I would agree, there isn’t a lot of teaching out there on kingdom minded living and what it means… hmmm… maybe a series will come from it.
What a gorgeous porch and a great point.
thank you on both accounts, Lauren. Merry Christmas
I love your black Friday shopping story. Great post about our focus not only at Christmas time but every day. We are called to love and serve others at all times. Beautiful porch!
Thank you, Angela, regarding the post and the porch! Yes, we are called to love and serve others at all times, sometimes it’s hard but it’s what we are called to do. Blessings & Merry Christmas
Breaking that hold of focusing on ourselves is a hard stronghold. But thank God that he calls us to more humility by the example of his Son!