Are you dreading the holidays because of all there is to do? Or all you have to buy? Or all there is to eat?
You don’t have to be focused on your full schedule, your finances, or the food that inevitably causes weight gain this time of year. You can, instead, anticipate Christmas as a time of making memories with your Maker and cherishing special times with your family. Here are three steps to help you head into the holidays feeling refocused and refreshed.
Here are my 3 Steps to a Stress-Free Holiday:
1. Rely on God for your Emotional Support
With so much to do prepare for the holidays, it’s natural for us to rely on people around us to notice when we’re overwhelmed, offer a helping hand, or just lend some encouragement and support. The problem is, at this time of year, everyone else around us tends to be as busy as we are. These are the times to go to God in prayer and pour out your heart before Him. Scripture says God understands our thoughts from afar (Psalm 139:2); He is a refuge for us when we need to pour out our hearts to Him (Psalm 62:8); and there is nowhere we can go (physically or emotionally) where He is not right there with us (Psalm 139:7-12). When we look to others to understand what we’re going through, we are often disappointed. When we depend on others for emotional support or a kind word to keep us going, we tend to feel let down. But God, your Maker and Sustainer, knows and understands what you’re feeling. Go to Him in prayer. Talk to Him about how you feel. And be refreshed knowing He hears, He cares, and He understands.
2. Refresh Yourself in God’s Word
Scripture can be a spiritual source of energy to help you and me get through the day. Psalm 19:7-8 say that the commands of the Lord are perfect, trustworthy, and right and that they are capable of “refreshing the soul, making wise the simple, giving joy to the heart, and giving light to the eyes. Furthermore, Second Timothy 3:16 reminds us that “All Scripture is God-breathed….” Reading it is like getting a “breath of fresh air” from the Living God – a “second wind” to get you through your day! Go to the Psalms in the morning to get your daily dose of vitamins for your heart, mind, and soul.
3. Remember Your Priority Relationships
When we remember what’s most important in life it can keep us from stressing out. We were created to love God and enjoy Him forever. And Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and love others as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). That means that all you think you have to do, and all the money you feel you have to spend, pale in comparison to the people right in front of you. As you start to stress, ask yourself: What is more important? The project or the person I’m neglecting in order to get it done? The perfectly-decorated house or my children who want me to play with them? The amount of money I spend on someone, or the time I’m willing to spend with them?
In your busyness this Christmas, don’t neglect the One this season is all about. And don’t neglect the loved ones He has given you to share your life with.
As you prioritize people over productivity this holiday season, what do you find is easiest to drop from your schedule?