(This article is a reprint from my Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com).
Jodie Stevens is the hostess of The Family Morning Show on 103.9FM The Fish in Sacramento, and the producer of Genuine Life with Jodie Stevens, a devotional about overcoming emotional difficulties including self-pity, anger, anxiety, addiction and low self-esteem. In a recent post, “How would Jesus want us to celebrate his birthday this Christmas”, she calls special attention to the challenges of the modern family, easily overwhelmed with gifting expectations that can lead us far away from the peace made possible by the birth of Jesus as the most precious gift to humanity.
In a recent interview, Stevens encourages folks to take an honest look at what is really happening at Christmastime. “The question we need to ask ourselves is why we are choosing to give gifts,” she said. “Growing up I learned that giving gifts was a way to seek approval of other people. And now I understand that when we are giving in order to get something back, that is not really giving; it is tying self-worth to pleasing other people.”
Stevens leads a recovery group, and draws upon Scripture, prayer and research to inform and inspire others about the insights she has gained from her own personal journey out of chemical addiction into recovery and restoration. According to Stevens, the “giving to get approval” complex might be considered an emotional stronghold. “When we are focused on giving gifts in order to get our needs met,” she said, “this prevents us from simply being free to ask to have our needs met.”
Considerations about “gifting” derived from Stevens’ blog
- To celebrate the birthday of someone you cherish, would you want them to see you pulling your hair out to make everything in your home picture perfect for Instagram?
- Is your joy siphoned by a spirit of hostility resulting from your anxiety about trying to do too much, and stretch your family resources?
- What if you established criteria for gifting that minimized pressure to spend more than budgets provide? (For example draw names and turn the gifting into a way to really express what you appreciate about an individual.)
- Find something to do as a family project that will make the life of another individual or family better. It can be a community service project, or adopt a family for Christmas.
- Most of all, make your first gifting priority to honor with gratitude the memory of Jesus, who gave up His own life in order to equip the faithful with the power to overcome emotional strongholds that disturb the peace.
About: We are a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. Our mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your donations are greatly appreciated. (Donations are payable to Banana Moments Foundation).
Joanna Jullien is an educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber-powered world. Trained in behavioral science at U.C. Berkeley, she is a mother of two grown sons, an author of books on parenting, growing up and family life in the network culture, and produces the Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com.