Ban the Guilt Gene Forever By Jo Russell

Any day now, I’m expecting scientists to announce the discovery of a gene specific to women—the guilt gene!

Sue rushed through the after-dinner clean-up, filling the dishwasher and slapping the control panel with an elbow–only to hear a strange thumping noise. She stopped the machine! Staggering out of the maze of plates and silverware was a wet and soapy pet–the family ferret, Ferdinand. She might have thought, “Oh, good, he needed a bath!” But instead, as the children wailed, “Mom, how could you do such a thing!” she felt the ill-effects of the guilt gene. She would never live this down.

Jill whipped up a batch of pesto to take to a potluck when she looked down and noticed that one new acrylic nail was missing. She hastily ran the pesto for the group through a sieve. “Don’t eat the pesto in the fridge!” she called out as she dashed through the door. “I lost a fingernail! I’ll find it when I get back.” Her husband and son, intent on the sports channel, may not have heard her while eating chips and dip. Her guilt gene kicked in for the next three hours. She worried about them choking on the plastic piece the size of an almond.

A tour guide, Lacy, rattled off a regional housekeeping fact, launching a dozen women in the crowd into a guilt gene-driven tizzy. “Even though the average rainfall here is thirty-one inches and it rains nearly every day, the women here wash and polish their windows three times a week.” There were gasps. One woman mouthed, “Three times a week?” How long since she had washed her windows? Like me, maybe she couldn’t remember.

When I took a clean bathrobe with me as a prop for a humorous speech at a crowded restaurant, I donned the robe to make a point. Floating to the floor was a pair of my lacy underwear. It was a one-of-a-kind experience for the standing-room only lunch crowd. I could have thought “Wow! I’ve been wondering where those were. I’ve been looking for them forever.” Or, let the guilt gene kick in, “You should have used a dryer sheet and it wouldn’t have stuck.”

“Does the guilt gene ever fade away?” I wondered as I called a friend to ask, “Do you ever feel guilty for the things you don’t get done now that you’re retired?” She cupped her hand around the phone so her husband would not hear her answer, “Oh, yes! Absolutely.”

However, God immobilizes the guilt gene with a needed remedy: praise and encouragement. In Proverbs 31–a record of major multi-tasking, the Bible refers to the assets of women, “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” [NIV] Sweet words for the guilt-plagued.

Though scientists may discover sound evidence of a guilt gene, God recognizes women as an important component of the family and the world. “Give her the reward she
has earned, and let her bring her praise at the city gates.” Amen to that. How have you praised a hard-working woman today?

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]

No Room for the Negative D’s: God Don’t Allow No Whinin’ By Jo Russell

As a small group shared an hour in a craft class, Negative Nellie swelled up with what she considered her important role: Bearer of Bad News. She watched the crowd’s reaction to her steady newsfeed. When class members’ shoulders slumped and high anxiety rose, Nellie escalated her talk with a focus on the D’s: death, disease, distemper, disorganization, the disadvantaged, deflated water wings, decreased values, defaulted loans, as well as dingy dishes.

Once the class slipped lower into the chairs, Nellie rose to leave like a drama queen. She called out with a smirk, “When the factory closes at the end of this month, our houses will depreciate and become worthless! We’ll lose them!”

Other class members left mumbling, contemplating slitting their wrists, taking Prozac, or going on a chocolate binge—whichever took the least amount of effort. I opted to put on my “Life is Good” smiley-face socks and head to the gym. “If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things,” I recalled from Philippians 4:8.

Faith in God opposes Negative Nellie’s thinking. “God don’t allow no whining,” I reminded myself. Just a few days later, I remembered that when I read a bankruptcy notice from my book publisher—less than a year after my first book was released.

I talked to God as He lit the sky with his sizzling lightning. Then I saw God’s smile studded with raindrops. He was giving the earth what it needed. He would give me what I needed, too. Not just basic needs, but more words, too. For I know He can and with his help, I can, and whatever your needs, He will provide, too.   

After Jesus talks about our concerns with our basic essentials and needs, He advises “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well….Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. [Matt. 6: 33 NIV]. Or as Paul writes, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” [Phil. 4:6 NIV] .

There is no room for Negative Nellie in a faith-filled heart. Count on God. He’ll give you what you need each day.

 

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]   

 

 

 

 

 

 

In His Time By Jo Russell

      In His Time

By Jo Russell 9/19/12

As a plan-ahead person, Jana was ready for her three-hour trek down the mountain to the airport.  When the alarm rang in the dark, she planned to drive under clear starry spring skies. She remembered she had an hour. No matter that ahead was a pass high enough for a Black Diamond ski run. It hadn’t snowed for weeks. The road would be clear.  

 

“Plenty of time,” she thought, until she looked out the window at her own street. “Rats! Snow and ice!” For hours until mid-morning, the mountain road would dangerous with black ice. Now she would have to rush, leave sooner, and take the safer detour.

 

As Jan drove the longer way, she wondered if her watch stopped. So far left to go. Could she risk adding to her paper trail as a speeder?  What law-enforcement officer would believe that Flight 264 was an emergency–any more than her last speeding ticket for rushing to the store for a sale on skinless chicken breasts!

 

Once parked, she sprinted for the shuttle bus, no small feat in snow boots. She slid to a stop like a skater in front of the airline counter. Jana dropped her bag on the scale with a triumphant shout, “Made it!”

 

The clerk, decked out in a snappy short-sleeved uniform perfect for the balmy desert weather, didn’t share Jana’s enthusiasm. Before she checked the traveler’s ticket, the clerk felt her armpits getting moist just looking at Jana’s puffy padded boots. Seeing her long-sleeved shirt and the down jacket made the clerk feel as if it were July, when Arizona temperatures waver between chili-roasting and a brush fire.    

 

With a quick glance at the large clock on the wall, the clerk stated, “If you’d been here three minutes earlier, you could have boarded this flight!”

 

“But what’s three little minutes?  I had to travel through ice and snow to get here!” Jana grasped the counter with white knuckles begging, “Please! Please! The plane won’t leave for twenty-seven minutes! My family is meeting me.”

 

The clerk couldn’t be swayed. “Ice and snow? Aren’t you headed for a lot of it in north country where you’re headed?”

 

“Couldn’t you make room for me?”

 

“You weren’t on time.”

Never encouraging are the world’s reminders that we all fall short of time agendas. Like these words:

  • You’re late.
  • You’re not on time.
  • You’re tardy.
  •  It’s about time. 

 

That’s the world’s way of reminding us that we fall short of a time agenda: it’s never encouraging.

 

But God’s time is just right.  It’s perfect for all the things that happen in your life and Jana’s.

 

Evangelist/motivational speaker, Nick Vujicic, shared that his first speech before a large audience left him stuttering and nervous. He wasn’t ready. It wasn’t time. Now confident before audiences around the world numbering tens of thousands, Nick said when his experience, confidence, and the time was right, everything worked. A man born without limbs, he has a positive testimony and hope no matter what challenges a person faces. Search YouTube to see him speak.

 

For God told Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” (Is. 55:8 NIV).  Many times Nick had asked God why he was born without limbs and asked for a healing. He had thought about suicide. But with a great burning desire to be a motivational speaker and much family support, Nick now inspires many and frees them from the slavery of the mind and the bonds of “I can’t.” That is God’s way of using Nick.  

 

God has his ways of using and guiding you. It will happen in just the right time. 

 

So you didn’t get the promotion you expected? You couldn’t start a family yet? So the house deal fell through? The check wasn’t in the mail?”

 

Frustrated, you might shake your fist at God and ask, “Can you think of something better?”

 

God will just smile and respond, “You bet. You can count on it!”

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available at this website and Jo’s speaking engagements. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.]   

 

 

 

All In the Name of Love By Jo Russell

Like many young couples in love, Rick and Marian were confident of their relationship. They were beginning their life together without so much as two Smart Phones to rub together.  

 

But Rick did have a brand new pick-up truck. He was a macho man and his truck said it all. More than just for hauling hay and loads of building materials in the rural ranching area, his shiny four-by-four pick-up had testosterone written all over it. 

 

Like many before him, Rick had used his pick-up as a bargaining point in his and Marian’s relationship. Now and then, he would let Marian–first as girlfriend then as fiancé–drive the pick-up. For all who saw her behind the wheel in the four-wheel drive macho mount, they could appreciate Rick’s claim on her. Many more would notice the three-quarter ton truck over a little bitty ring on Marian’s finger.  

 

Pastor Bob noted that when he and God bound couples together, a groom was all for sharing their worldly goods. You know–the bed, the bathroom, a lint brush, toothbrush, horse, tack, or hound dog with ear mites—anything, but not the pick-up.

 

 

As the pastor led Rick and Marian through their vows during the ceremony, the groom repeated the words, “I, Rick, take you, Marion, to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day on through sickness and health, and with this ring, I share my life and all my worldly goods…”

Pastor Bob added, “Except my pick-up…”

Everyone laughed.

He asked Marian to repeat the vow, “I, Marian, take you, Rick, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day on through sickness and health, and with this ring, I share my life and all my worldly goods…”

The bride responded confidently to the amended contract with, “I do.”

Pastor Bob chuckled and asked if that was her final answer.

“Yes!” she affirmed with a twinkle in her eye.  

 

The next day, Rick did what no newly married man in his right mind and with a new pick-up had ever done before in the entire county. Maybe after his wedding night, he wasn’t in his right mind! It was unthinkable! But it also was thoughtful and loving! He gave the pick-up to Marian. Too far to walk to commute from their place with her not-too-dependable car, he knew she needed it.  

 

Rick realized that the truck and their marriage really wasn’t about him, but them. He had learned to look at the needs of his wife, just as Christ guides us to do.  For in Philippians, Paul advises, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” [Phil. 2:3-5.] 

 

It’s about the other person, not us. That’s the essence of real love in relationships.

 

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from this website. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.]   

 

 

 

 

 

Availability of the book Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out?

Because the publisher in the original printing of Which Button recently went bankrupt, Jo’s book is available from this website and at her speaking engagements. She is working on more avenues of availability. Which Button makes a great gift, and is guaranteed to tickle the reader’s funny bone!   

Remember Jo is available to speak at your events with a positive and encouraging message. She is also available to write what you need for webscripting, inspiration, devotionals, publicity, and community events. Contact her at jorussell@button-to-god.com.  

 

Too Old? Too Young? Just Words in God’s Eyes By Jo Russell

The rented hall was buzzing with laughter and activity. In just a few hours, friends and family would honor Anna’s 80-year-old mother with a surprise party. Her son, Josh, was helping Anna with the crew in the kitchen. As he helped wash and tear mountains of lettuce for a salad while  others put together party trays, Josh’s forehead wrinkled with worry. The more time that passed and the more frenzied the preparations became, the more worried Josh was about his grandma.

Would this be too much for her? “What’s wrong, Honey?” his mom asked.

Josh voiced his concern, “Should we be surprising someone that old?”

Too old? Too young?  Boundaries by age and time are concocted by the world, but not by God.

Even the prophet Samuel was stunned that the king to be anointed to replace Saul was a half-grown David. His father, Jesse, had sent the youth–perhaps 15 years old–to watch the sheep while Samuel checked over the kingly-looking, tall, handsome, grown sons. But the Lord insisted David was the one. God justified His criteria in this way: “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV)  Though David was chosen by God as king then, he didn’t mount the throne as king of all Israel for decades. He was past the minimum age of a U.S. President when that happened.

Age doesn’t mean anything to God. Do you remember that Noah, with no shipbuilding experience, took to building an ark at God’s command? He was no spring chicken then. Plus it took Noah 120 years. He was six hundred years old when the floods came.

Or that Moses, who led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, was an octogenarian when he did that?

Or Abram, at ninety-nine, and his wife Sarai, ninety, who had already gone through menopause, were expecting a baby. She was pregnant with Isaac. No wonder Abram–later Abraham–laughed.

Think about Apostle Paul in the New Testament. Historians guess his birth and death date, but figure he was over fifty when he made his first missionary trip. It seems pretty challenging for a senior to set off on foot across far-away countries. Though he faced opposition in wealthy cities by residents along the way who worshipped many gods and made money creating and selling statues of the fictional gods, Paul was steadfast. He stuck to telling about one God, our creator and Savior, Jesus Christ. With a record number of shipwrecks, Paul’s life was never dull. But he kept walking and sailing, letting God make up for what he couldn’t do himself.

So young or old, it doesn’t matter to God. He just smiles and keeps you growing past your age and abilities.

Live your life! Forget your age! 

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from this website, www.button-to-god.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.]