Face Winter with a Smile
By Kathleen Hardaway
When was the last time you laughed at winter? One of the last things I did in preparation for winter was to plant pansies. I’ll never forget the day I purchased the flowers. I asked the gardener, “How well do they live in the winter?” She replied with a grin, “Oh, they laugh at winter!”
Now that’s a line I’ll never forget – “They laugh at winter!” As if the pansies could talk and say, “Are you kidding…we love the winter; below freezing doesn’t bother us. Bring it on!”
Our country has had one crazy winter. New York City had record highs and California recorded record lows. Now much of the country is in the dead of the winter and it’s brutal. Many are facing below zero temps and it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. Being from the South, it’s hard to imagine living with these kinds of temps, much less be one that “laughs at winter.”
Winter is by far my least favorite season. And if I’m not careful I can let myself get depressed. I love being outside in the warmer weather. I enjoy daylight savings time, not driving home in the dark after work. Plus, I go home to an empty house, not one with a husband or children. Well, there’s my cat, Tigger. She does a great job welcoming me home, but of course she’s only a cat. And the communication continues to be one sided.
The television seems to provide some sense of not being alone, but it can become a huge time waster. The winter months can often make you feel lonelier than ever. We’re living in a day when one of the greatest epidemics in our society is not cancer, obesity, alcohol, or drugs, but loneliness. Yes, all these issues plague our country, and these are often ways people channel their pain due to loneliness.
During these cold, dark, dreary days you need your spiritual armor more than ever. When was the last time you laughed at winter?
How do you face winter with a smile?
1. Remember, winter does not last forever. It’s only for a season.
Seasons come and seasons go. Thank God! But some last longer than others. Are you in a trial? Has life taken its toll and it’s almost more than you can bear? Keep rolling your hurts over on the Lord. He tells us to “Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you.” Also, never forget that He will never give you more than you can bear. Take each day knowing that spring is on the way.
2. Look for ways to help others.
Often when you dwell on your own problems you can cause continued frustration and heartbreak and before you know it, you’re more depressed than ever. Look for ways to help others. You may need to write someone a note of encouragement. Go help in a soup kitchen. You may find many have far more problems than you do.
3. Get involved in a small group Bible study.
If there is not a Bible study group in your own church, you may want to start your own. Be sure you’re in Bible study. This is foundational to your spiritual growth. Meditating and studying His Word gives you the power to press on during these challenging months.
4. Join a health club.
If you’re financially able to join a health club, you may want to consider this. Exercise is vital to your health and well being. I always feel better after I exercise. It’s certainly better than putting on ten to twenty pounds during the winter months. Gaining weight is a battle for so many especially during the winter. If finances are an issue, go walk the mall. I do this on occasion and thoroughly enjoy it.
5. Pray, pray, pray.
Being cooped up inside has few advantages, but one drawback of spring and summer is that it’s far easier to play, than to pray. You may play tennis, golf, swim, boat, fish, run or walk, all which can be good things, but they can rob you from your quiet time with the Lord. Cultivate your prayer life. Nothing can be better for you, and for those you’re praying for.
Embrace the winter! Laugh at it knowing that the God of the universe designed the seasons for a reason. Keep on praising Him for His goodness, His mercy, His love, His compassion, His forgiveness, and His comfort! Stay warm, my friend, and keep smiling.
Hardaway is an author and speaker with a passion to encourage and equip women to be all that God calls them to be. She exhorts women to never give up, dream big, and live the life God created them to live.
She has been featured on "At Home Live" and "Celebrations" television programs. She has also been the guest on Midday Connection and many other radio broadcasts. Kathleen is on staff at Precept Ministries International. She has been the producer and director of Kay Arthur’s nationally syndicated television program, “How Can I Live?”
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