5 Ways to Ensure you Have a Happy 4th of July and Make America Great Again!

This slogan, “Make America Great Again” was etched into our minds this last presidential election and I believe there’s a large number of Americans who truly do long for America to be great again.  America was built on hope and hope still runs strong in our veins. So what can we do to make America great again? I believe it starts with the small things.

There’s a fairly new song that’s been playing on my favorite radio station, KSBJ, called “Dream Small.” I’ll be honest, the first time I heard it, I almost turned the volume down.  The American in me balked and I thought, I want to teach my kids to “Dream Big.” But I kept listening, because I thought surely no one in their right mind would write a song telling us all to basically live mediocre lives.  Right?! And of course, he hadn’t.  Here are the words to the song (emphasis mine):

“It’s a mama singing songs about the Lord
It’s a daddy spending family time the world says he cannot afford
These simple moments change the world
It’s a pastor at a tiny little church
40 years of loving on the broken and the hurt
These simple moments change the world

Dream small
Don’t buy the lie you’ve got to do it all
Just let Jesus use you where you are
One day at a time
Live well
Loving God and others as yourself
Find little ways where only you can help
With His great love
A tiny rock can make a giant fall
Dream small

It’s visiting the widow down the street
Or dancing on a Friday with your friend with special needs
These simple moments change the world
Of course there’s nothing wrong with bigger dreams
Just don’t miss the minutes on your way to bigger things
Cause these simple moments change the world

Keep loving, keep serving, keep listening, keep learning
Keep praying, keep hoping, keep seeking, keep searching
Add up the small things and watch them grow bigger
The God who does all things makes oceans from rivers

Dream small
Don’t buy the lie you’ve got to do it all
Just let Jesus use you where you are
One day at a time
Live well
Loving God and others as yourself
Find little ways where only you can help
With His great love
A tiny rock can make a giant fall
Yeah five loaves and two fish can feed them all
So dream small”

You can listen to a sample and download the song here:


So, naturally, the more I heard the song, the more I fell in love with it.  It is saying exactly my purpose behind Make Things Personal.  God hasn’t called all of us to be Presidents, or Mother Teresa’s, or Instagram Influencers, or Football Stars, or Celebrities with huge platforms. He has a purpose for each and every one of us and we’re not as effective at living out that purpose when we’re trying to be something we’re not meant to be. #BeYou  Now don’t hear me saying we shouldn’t try to better ourselves or go for our dreams. If there’s a dream in your heart, it’s there for a reason.  Pray about it and ask God to show you if it’s your idea or His.  My point is that you can make a HUGE difference right where you are, in your sphere of influence.  Don’t focus SO much on the Big Dreams that you don’t see the small opportunities around you to pour into the people right under your nose.  Mother Teresa said so many things about this!  {Get my free 5-page printable “Mother Teresa Quotes” to print on cardstock and put by your kitchen sink or on your fridge when you subscribe HERE.} So what are these five things we can do to ensure we have a happy 4th of July and make America great again?? Here they are.

 

5 Ways to Ensure you Have a Happy 4th of July and Make America Great Again:

1. Seek God first

If your relationship with God does not come first, I want to encourage you to make a change today.  I understand how it is. We are a culture of busy. My relationship with God has seen some pitiful seasons and some more fruitful days. I know from experience the feeling of desperation that entices me to seek God.  And it was in those moments that I learned to love my time with God, longing for more.  I’m by no means perfect, but I’m sharing this because I know how our world seems to crash down in a puddle of confusion and hopelessness when we are apart from God.

Twentieth century pastor Curtis Hutson said, “If America gets right with God, it will be when we as individuals get right with God.”

 


The Light & the Glory and From Sea to Shining Sea by Peter Marshall and David Manuel

We read these two books during our study of American History, and they talked about the cycle that has been present among humans since the beginning.  We see it plainly when we read of the Israelites.  They would fall away from God and worship idols. Judgment and punishment would come upon them. Then finally they would seek the LORD out of desperation.  We haven’t changed a bit.  The people who came to America were on fire for God. Then a generation or two later the people went their own way. Then the First Great Awakening. Then another cycle. The 2nd Great Awakening. Where do you see our people today? Are we as a whole falling away from God, under judgement, or crying out in desperation, seeking his security? To paraphrase what Curtis Hutson said, If we as a society want to make America great again, each of us as individuals must seek God first.

2. Keep your Focus Narrow

Like the song says, Dream small. Let Jesus use you where you are.  Sure, dream big with your goals and make vision boards for your path and purpose. But keep yourself narrowly focused on you and your family and friends today.  Put blinders on and don’t get caught up in trying to live out everyone else’s dreams and purposes.  Go after your purpose with passion. We’re not all made to fit the same shoes. When you keep your focus narrow, you’re able to make the time you have higher quality.  Instead of being so spread-thin on a million different projects and goals, you’re able to spend quality time with your family, with your friends, and on the purpose God has for you. Scott Hamilton in Finish First says, “Those who win in the big things are faithful in the small things.”

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Luke 16:10 NIV

 

3. Focus on today, Be Present

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34 NIV

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:25-34 not get caught up worrying about what we will eat and drink and wear.  It tells us to not worry about tomorrow.  I can vouch that when I start focusing on tomorrow or 5 or 10 years down the road, the things on my long-term to-do list, the never-ending list of things we need to save for and repair, I start getting overwhelmed, stressed, and worried.  Anyone else?  How does the saying go?  “Stress makes you believe everything has to happen right now. Faith reassures you that everything will happen in God’s timing.” When we focus too much on the future and all the things that need to be done or the money we need for this or that, our brains and hearts are not present in today, in the moment.  We’re missing out on precious moments we will never get back, offering those moments on the alter of worry. Not only is that idolatry, but it robs our children, husband, and those around us of the parent, wife, or friend that they need. When we make the choice to be fully present and focused on today, we are more mentally available to those around us.  Not only does this help us feel more connected, but them too.  I love reading articles by John Rosemond (parenting guru) in our local Postcards Magazine.  In one recently, he talked about how the rise of suicide is possibly in part due to children not being allowed to fail which hinders them from learning resilience. He also talked about how the rise of disrespect for elders has contributed to our society’s “unhappiness.”  Think of the difference it would make in our younger generations to have parents and mentors that poured into them, helping them feel secure, learning to be resilient. One of our ministers just spoke about this (Listen here July 1, 2018) and what a difference it makes in a persons life to have older people pouring into them, building relationships with them.  In fact he shared the statistic from the Fuller Youth Institute that 75-80% of youth abandon the church and/or faith after they graduate. Of the 20-25% that remained active in a church post-graduation, they said 9 out of 10 of them said they had at least five adults who had a big spiritual impact on their lives. In other words, parents, grandparents, and other mentors were pouring into their lives.

4. Teach your Children History

Really, Lori? Isn’t that the school’s job?  There may be a few exceptions to this, but if you went to school can you honestly say you remember much about the history of our nation? I didn’t. It is so important to know what has happened in the past.  “History repeats itself” is a saying for a reason!  And we can learn from their mistakes.  If you’ve ever heard the story of how the Israelites made a golden calf to worship while Moses was on the mount receiving God’s commandments, I would imagine you’ve never made a golden calf to worship.  You learned from their mistake. Make history interesting for your children.  Take them to reenactments and festivals honoring historical events and heroes.  Talk about why we celebrate Independence Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, etc. Invest in some quality videos like these that make History fun!

Chasing American Legends

Constitution Alive! 

Drive Thru History

The American Heritage Collection

Why is this so important? When I started studying American History with my children, I gained a much deeper appreciation for our American History.  Every 4th of July, I’m honestly brought to tears at our Fireworks show, because I think about the men who gave their lives for the freedom that we enjoy in this country.  I think about the passion that led the men of the Continental Congress to risk their livelihoods and lives for the cause.  I think about the freedoms that we seem to be ever so slowly giving up. Too many of us have not enjoyed history. Teach your children to enjoy and appreciate it.  It makes the holidays that much sweeter. And it raises up adults who know how important freedom is. If we want to make America great again, teach your children history.

5. Make Things Personal with those Around you

John Maxwell says in Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, to make things memorable. Make ordinary good experiences great. He says, “It takes a little effort on the front end to make a big difference on the back end.”  Go to friends’ get-togethers, support and shop through your friends in direct sales, take time to see what’s going on in your friend’s and family’s lives, make a care basket for someone you know fighting cancer or another disease, offer to babysit for a single mom friend, offer to walk with a friend who wants to lose some weight, the list is endless. Look up Random Acts of Kindness, but do them for not-so-random people. Start a kindness revolution in your sphere of influence, in your network. If you’re a mom, do a little Pinterest search a week or so before a holiday and find some easy crafts you can do with your children.  Find some recipes that you only make on that holiday, so it’s special. In other words, put a special touch on each holiday, and even each regular day. Children (and most adults) love this!

Here are a few of my Favorite 4th of July crafts and recipes:

Star-shaped Watermelon Blueberry snacks from Fun Money Mom

Popsicle Stick Star Streamer decorations from Happiness is Homemade

Patriotic Wind Catcher from Crafty Morning

Star-Spangled Slime from I Can Teach my Child

4th of July Layered Drinks from In Katrina’s Kitchen

 

Need more ideas on how to Make Things Personal with those around you? Check out 10 Ways to be Intentional in your Friendships. These ideas can be applied to any relationship.

 

So there you go. If we want to make America great again and always have a Happy 4th of July, seek God first, keep your focus narrow, focus on today and be present, teach your children or yourself to enjoy history, and make things personal with those around you. Don’t forget to subscribe and get the free printable Mother Teresa Quotes to help you remember to focus on today and the small things!



I hope you have had a blessed and memorable Independence Day! Come back and share how you made it Great!

 

Blessings,

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. This article and blog may contain affiliate links, which just means that when you click on and purchase through one of my links, you’re helping support our family and my ability to stay at home with my children and write. Thank you so much for stopping by! 

 

 

 

 

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