Don’t do it

Hey there!   How is everybody?  Hope it’s all going well for everyone!  The holidays are upon us!  Halloween’s coming.  Thanksgiving is breathing down Halloween’s neck.  Christmas is right around the corner…   don’t forget Advent!   If you’re not familiar, I did a post last year.  You can find the first one here. But in the midst of all this activity, we tend to let some things slide.  Some really important things!  Wanna talk?  Okay.  Find a cuppa something and a comfortable spot to reflect. 

The first thing we let slide is our attitude.  Yeah, I know.  It’s hard to maintain with all the frenetic activity, tired and fussy kids and parents, inattentive store clerks, annoying family members, extra church and school activities!   Not to mention all the ‘compulsory’ holiday parties!  It’s so easy to get tired, and then to let our attitude go south just a little bit, then another teeny bit, until…   BOOM!  We blow up like an overfilled balloon.

The next thing we let slide is our health.  Yes, our health.  We make the same excuse, sometimes several times a day “It’s the holidays.  Just this once won’t hurt.”  I can skip the gym, or eat this or that, or stay up really late, or spend all day Sunday cooking or cleaning or shopping or…   until we’re tired, our immune system is down and we’re sick.  I’m an expert.  I’ve missed more Thanksgiving dinners or been sick over Christmas.  This year, I’m going to try really hard to do better!

The most important thing we let slide is our spiritual life.  Unfortunately, it’s often the first to go, as well.  It takes time to read, to pray, to be still, to attend services and prayer meetings and choir practice and committee meetings and the kids practices and everything that goes with it.  The church has become as bad as the world in terms of busy-ness during the holiday season.  We seem to think we can add at least two more weekly commitments to our already overloaded schedules and still survive.

What does the Scripture say about all of this?  God gave us some pretty good directions for living a balanced life.  Things like “Remember to keep the Sabbath holy.”  Things like “The Love Chapter”, I Corinthians 13.   Things like meditating on the Scriptures and teaching them to our children (Deuteronomy 6).   As a matter of fact, why not go read Deuteronomy 6 right now?  I’ll wait.  🙂

You may be thinking that’s Old Testament, it doesn’t apply, and it’s so outdated.  But it’s still truth.  It’s not outdated, unless human nature is outdated!  I really believe that the One who created us and everything around us knows the best way to live and how to live ‘happily ever after’.   His end goal for us is for us to be able to live in peace and joy.  To do that, we need to follow His directions for living well.

The bottom line is this:  Never contradict the Word of God, no matter how old-fashioned or outdated it seems.  Sometimes we think God is ‘leading’ us to do something; when you ‘hear God’s voice’ it will never contradict the written Scripture!   If you want to survive the holidays, I have a couple of simple practical suggestions.

Plan ahead.  You know what’s coming, don’t act like it sneaks up and surprises you!  I mean, Christmas comes every single year on December 25th.  They didn’t change it this year.  Make a list of people you need to gift, then set a budget and stick to it.  Shop online!  It saves time and usually money.  Watch for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales!

Take control of your calendar NOW.  Block out days that are non-negotiable and clear.  If you know Johnny has a concert on Tuesday and Sally has one on Thursday, be sure Monday and Friday are free!  Sundays are strictly for family and church.  Period.  No ball games, no extra trips to the mall or Wally World.  It’s not the day to clean house because you were crazy busy on Saturday.  It’s not major laundry day, either.   Use Sundays as they are intended – to rest.  Rest physically, emotionally and spiritually!

Be intentional.  Start and end your day with prayer.  It can be as simple as a ‘Good morning, Lord.’ when you wake up, or a ‘Thank You, Lord’ when you go to bed.  (I would not advise limiting your prayer life to this, however!)  Include Him in your plans and activities.  Whatever you do, do NOT skip church!

Following these simple things may save your sanity, your health and your attitude.  Do you have creative ways to do some of these things?  Leave me a comment!

Do you need more help?  Find a pastor or priest.  They can help you navigate the holidays without losing your mind or your relationship with God.  Enjoy!

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