3 Legs? 3 Hands? How to Leverage an “Oops” for Your Favor: A Secret from Oprah, Reese & Reagan

The internet has been all over the Photoshop debacle with Reese Witherspoon’s “3 legs” and Oprah’s “3 hands” on the cover shot of the 2018 Vanity Fair Hollywood Issue.

Horrors!  Reese Witherspoon appears to have 3 legs.

And Oprah clearly has 3 hands.

And I love it!

Why? Because of the great response of these two ladies. Their response highlights what I teach in my “Laugh More, Live Better” talk….Lesson number 1:  Keeping your sense of humor helps you not take yourself so seriously.  These ladies have demonstrated just that in their tweets following the onslaught of comments about the photo.

Reese: “Well…I guess everybody knows now…I have 3 legs.  I hope you can still accept me for who I am.”

Oprah: “I accept your 3d leg.  As I know you accept my 3d hand.”

Over and over, it’s been shown that one secret to likability is the ability to laugh at oneself.

At the time Ronald Reagan was elected President, one of the greatest concerns was his advanced age.  The press nipped at his heels repeatedly about this subject, raising the question over and over to the public whether he was able to lead because of his age.

It would’ve been natural to lash out.

Or be defensive.

Or angry.

Instead, he had more fun about it than anyone.  Consider the following quotes:

“My press secretary said the other day that preparing me for a press conference was like reinventing the wheel.  It’s not true.  I was around when the wheel was invented…and it was easier.”

“And I also remember something Thomas Jefferson once said.  “He stated: ‘We should never judge a president by his age, only by his words’…and ever since he told me that, I’ve stopped worrying.”

When Reagan dozed off at a Cabinet meeting, the Press was all over him. Commentators, with brows furrowed, asked the nation, “Is our president fit to do the job?”  Shortly afterward, Reagan led a group through on a special tour of the White House.  Passing the Cabinet Room, he paused and said with great pride, “Someday there will be a sign: ‘REAGAN SLEPT HERE'”.

The whole group laughed and had a great time.  But Reagan guffawed, slapping his legs and having the best time of all.

(One more….I can’t stop myself.)

“I heard one presidential candidate say (Gary Hart in 1984) what this country needed was a president for the nineties. I was set to run again….I thought he said a president IN his nineties.”

When the joke was on Reagan, guess who laughed the loudest?  Reagan.  And people loved him for it. That likeability helped break down walls (literally, just ask Mr. Gorbachev!) so that his message could be heard.

My words today are not about Oprah’s beliefs or Reagan’s policies.  It’s simply an observation that great people have learned the art of laughing at themselves.  You and I would do well to do the same!

Have you goofed lately?  Leverage your “oops” for your favor.  Step back and enjoy the laugh at yourself!  The result? Lowered blood pressure, increased immunity from disease, overall enjoyment in life…and likeability!

Top Blog Post of 2017: Reader’s Choice

Happy New Year!  2017 is now in our rear view mirrors!  And friend, I’ve loved spending this year with you!

Maybe you’ve been joining me here on the blog for a long time, or perhaps we’ve only recently begun spending time together.  Either way, your presence here is a gift and an encouragement to me.  So together, let’s take a moment to look back on the blog post you shared most (hands down) in 2017, which happens to be a B-12 shot for helping us start the year off right.

And if something you read today inspires or encourages you, pass it on to someone else who may need it.  Simply click on the title to read the post.

How to Rock Your Day:  3 Reasons Why Your Attitude Matters

What about you?  What is one thing you learned this past year?  Share it in the comments below.

Lessons from a Loser: 3 Surprising Encouragements from Handel’s Messiah

Have you ever felt like your best days were behind you? Have you been plagued with financial or health troubles?  How about anxiety and depression?  If so, you’re in great company.  All of these hounded the great composer, George Frederick Handel.

By age 56 Handel was a washed-up “has been”. As a once-great opera composer commissioned by royalty, he enjoyed phenomenal success.  But by 1741 he was bankrupt, facing debtors’ prison, had suffered a stroke and was losing his eyesight and his reputation as a musician.  The London elite had begun calling him a “German nincompoop”.

But that was about to change.

A friend asked him to put to music lyrics about the life of Christ and the work of redemption, with all the text completely from the Bible.  With a new infusion of purpose, Handel took the challenge and secluded himself to meet it.   The meals that were brought to him were mostly untouched due to his laser focus on the task at hand. Finally, one day a servant brought his meal and found tears streaming down Handel’s cheeks.  The servant asked what was wrong and Handel replied,  “I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God himself.”  He had just written the Hallelujah Chorus.

The 260 page work (predicted to take a year to write) was completed in only 24 days, a phenomenal feat.  275 years later, Handel’s Messiah is considered one of the most inspired works of music ever written.

At a time when it seemed it was over for Handel, God called, inspired and divinely equipped Handel to write the Messiah.

What does this mean for you and me?

  1. It’s not over until God says it’s over.  If we are breathing, there is work for us to do. The Bible tells us we are His workmanship, created to do good works (Ephesians 2:10).  Our part is to ask God, “What do You want me to do? Please use me.”  I believe God will answer that prayer. He inspires and equips us for the work to which He calls us.
  2. God is always working for His glory and our good. Even in the seasons of suffering, God is at work.  When Handel was at his lowest, God knew the monumental work and blessing He was preparing for Handel.  The same is true for you and me!  Jeremiah 29:11 assures us that He knows what He’s doing in our lives and His plans are good. All. The. Time.
  3. Remember to humble yourself and trust Him in your circumstances.  1 Peter 5:7 reminds us that He will lift us up in due time, because He cares for us. God can turn your story around in a heartbeat if He chooses.  Consider the same royalty that commissioned Handel, then fired him.  During the first performance of the Messiah in London, King George stood for the Hallelujah Chorus.  No one knows why for sure. Maybe he was caught up in the majesty of the moment, maybe he mistook it for the national anthem or maybe he just needed to stretch his legs, but when the king stood, the entire audience rose to their feet!  This didn’t hurt Handel’s reputation one little bit.  In fact, it restored him overnight.  Ever since, it’s been a tradition to stand during the Hallelujah Chorus!  I’ll say it again: God can use people and circumstances to turn your situation around in a heartbeat.

As you soak your mind in these truths, may they bring you “good tidings of great joy” this season.  He shall reign forever and ever.  Hallelujah!

 

Crazy, Untrue Ad Will Make You Think!

I ran across this ad from the 1950s for Winston cigarettes.

Check out the advice this sage mom-to-be gives other expectant women of her day:

  “People are always telling me that smoking causes low birth weight.  Talk about a win-win-win!  An easy labor, a slim baby and the Full Flavor of Winstons!”

“Winston.  When you’re smoking for two.”

What were they thinking????

But then I got to wondering about my ways of thinking that may be just as dangerous. And it occurs to me that if I struggle with thinking things that aren’t true, maybe you do, too.

Since we know our thoughts lead to our actions, we want to build our thoughts on truth. Not hunches, myths or feelings.  On truth.

Here’s what I mean.

Consider these five depressing, self-defeating lies…and replace them with their corresponding, life-giving, true thoughts instead.

Lie: “I can’t go on.”                                                                                                    Truth: Christ, dwelling in me, can victoriously meet whatever lies ahead and I will give Him praise when He does.  (1 Peter 1: 6-7)

Lie: “This problem is going to destroy me and I may lose my faith.”                  Truth: My faith may seem to be fading out of sight…but not out of God’s sight. My faith is not dependent on my holding onto God, but rather God holding onto me, and He is not about to let go! (John 10:28)

Lie: “I am so alone.”                                                                                                 Truth: Christ dwells in me. I am loved, accepted, a new creation. He will never leave me or forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5, Matthew 28:20)

Lie:  “I’ll never be able to do this.”                                                                          Truth: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Lie: “There is no hope.”                                                                                            Truth: My hope is in Him.  I will allow Him to handle each struggle as only He can. (1 Peter 1: 3,4)

Sometimes people tell me, “Connie, I can’t help my feelings.”  True.  We can’t help our feelings.  But we CAN help what we think about.  And what we choose to think about directly impacts our feelings.

Our thoughts directly affect our actions.  And our actions determine, to a large part, our quality of life. That’s why it’s critical to run our thoughts, not through hunches and feelings and old, untrustworthy ways of thinking, but rather through the truth of God’s Word.

Trendy thinking comes and goes.  But God’s truths are timeless.  Remember and use them to keep your mind healthy!

(And if you’re pregnant, you might want to check out some slightly more reliable information on how to have a healthy baby!)

Warmly,

Connie

By the way, check out my Christmas Specials, now through December 19th! Both of my CDs and my book are each on sale for $12.95 each.  Buy any 3…get one of your choice FREE.  Free shipping for purchase of 6 or more items.

 

 

 

How to Be Ready for the Storms of Life

Here in central Georgia, I-75 North bound is bumper to bumper with Floridians heeding advice from their Governor and the National Weather Service.  I know this, not only from the news report, but because John and I needed to be in Atlanta yesterday for business. What usually takes 90 minutes to travel from our town to Atlanta took 4 and a half hours. In spite of the inconvenience, we were glad people were taking seriously the call to evacuate.

Evacuees from Florida preparing for storm.

Even though we will not experience the worst of the hurricane, we’re preparing as well.  We’ve stocked up on gas, groceries and flashlight batteries.  We have coolers with dry ice  in case the power goes out and we need to empty the freezer.  Outdoor furniture has been stacked safely underneath the carport.  We have cash on hand in case stores are unable to take credit cards for a couple of days.

We’ve done what we can do to be prepared.

All this prep work reminds me that there are other storms that come our way.  And unlike the warning of the Weather Channel, these storms come with little to no warning. One thing is certain: by God’s design, at some point in time, we all find ourselves in a storm. By that I mean we will be in a season when life’s troubles are simply more than we can handle.

The death of a loved one.

A job loss.

The doctor’s report saying it’s cancer.

The betrayal from a spouse.

In those devastating moments, we want to know:

Where is God?  Does He see me in my storm?

Why would a loving God allow this to happen to me?

How can I remain steady and balanced in a storm that threatens to derail the very core of my faith?

Okay, forget “steady and balanced”.  How do I just get through this?

I believe we can do more than just get through.  We can be prepared for our storms.

Photo credit: China Daily

So how do we do that? Here are a few dos and donts to help you be ready.

  1.  Don’t be shocked.  Do realize this is a fallen world.  “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12)
  2.  As tempting as it may be, Don’t ask, “Why did this happen to me?” Don’t get me wrong.   It’s healthy to ask yourself if you’ve contributed to your problem. For example, if you’re in financial crisis because you’ve been irresponsible with your money.  But generally, the question “Why? Why? Why?” only leads to depression and a victim mentality that gets you nowhere. Do realize that life isn’t easy for any of us.  We all go through storms. You are not alone.
  3. Don’t swallow the lies of the enemy.  For example,  “I’m not going to make it”, “God is getting me back for some past sin”, “I will never be happy again”, etc. Do feed continually on the truth of God’s word concerning His ways. I love what John Piper says: “We must preach to ourselves because the enemy is always preaching to us.”  If we simply go on “default” setting, the lies of the enemy are always there to pull us down into depression, doubts, hatred and self-pity.  The afternoon I found my father dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, I immediately was reminded of words I had heard from a speaker just the day before:  “We don’t have to fall apart when troubles come.  Instead, we know this very moment we get to discover all that stuff we’ve been talking about in Sunday School for the past 40 years is true.”   There was no quick, easy fix.  It wasn’t overnight.  But I found it to be true as I proactively trusted God’s word rather than the lies of the enemy concerning my storm.
  4. Don’t pretend you can handle this on your own.  Do tell God the truth about your feelings. If you think you can’t handle your problems, congratulations!  You’re right!  If you could handle them, who would get the glory?  You.  God leads us into desert-like situations so He alone can be our sufficiency.  Then the glory is all His.
  5. Do look for reasons to be thankful.  Do look for God in every detail.  Ask Him what He wants to show you in this storm.  Then LOOK. Storms are like Easter Egg Hunts.  When you were a kid and you went to an Easter Egg Hunt, did you hand them your basket and did they fill it up for you and say, “Here ya go!  Thanks for coming to our Easter Egg Hunt!”????  NO.  You had to go HUNT for those babies.  (That’s why they call it a HUNT.) In the same way, you have to HUNT for the beautiful golden nuggets that God wants to show you in your storm.

It’s been said that we are always in one of three places: in a storm, just coming out of one or about to go in one.  Friend, the subject of remaining steady in the storm is dear to me because I have been there.  A storm is coming, and I want you to be ready.  My book “Falling Up” deals more in detail with this subject.  If you or someone you know is struggling in a storm, I hope you’ll take advantage of the things God shared with me.  He truly brought me out, stronger on the other side, and I know He longs to do the same for you.

Until next time, sending you love!

Connie