Is anyone else having a hard time holding on to peace this Christmas season? Do Merry & Joyful seem lost? All is certainly not calm and bright.
Or is it just me?
I’ve been up since 2am, and trust me, it’s not because I’m spiritual and praying.
Confession: It’s because I’m letting the stress of the season consume my mind. How many cups of tea should one drink before the rooster crows? I’m working on #3. Not good.
It’s busy for all of us. We get it. Decorating. Concerts. Banquets and parties. Winter swim for one. Winter track for another. Parent meetings, speech, the foreign exchange student application process. Christmas shopping and planning and baking and wrapping.
Can someone please stop the merry-go-round?
The day-to-day chores are still there. The cleaning and groceries and homework. Dinner. I mean, really, do we need to eat EVERY night?
The well I’m supposed to have springing up in me for strength and peace is clogged with the worry and stress of the season. Ever so subtly, praise turned into complaining, and I didn’t even realize it.
Instead of drinking from the crystal clear water of the river of life, I’ve been sipping on muddy puddle water. I know better, but……
Please, make me feel better and tell me I’m not the only one going through this.
So how do we keep our peace? It’s pretty simple, actually – easier than clicking our ruby slippers together and saying, “There’s no place like home.” We’ve had the power all along…
We’ll look at steps 2 and 3 another day, but first things first…
Step #1: Praise unstops the well
Praise. Don’t complain.
For instance, while my head was still on the pillow this morning, the complaining began. “I’m so tired. I wouldn’t mind getting up early if I wasn’t SO TIRED! Why can’t I get back to sleep? This. Is. So. Frustrating!”
Toss. Turn. Sigh. “I have so much to do before Christmas. Shopping. Wrapping. Baking batches and batches of cinnamon rolls at 3 hours each. How many hours is that? And cookies. People expect them. I’ll never get it all done.”
Toss. Turn. Ugh. “I can’t keep up. Didn’t I just do laundry yesterday? How do I have 3 more loads already?”
Toss. Turn. Exasperated sigh. “Might as well get up so I don’t get farther behind.”
But before I made it across the room, I heard these words in my heart, “My worthiness has not changed, but I wouldn’t know it from your words. Now say something you’re thankful for.”
Ouch! The words my kids hear when they’re complaining came back to bite me!
So I said (without much feeling I might add), “Lord, I’m thankful for indoor plumbing and hot running water. So glad I don’t have to go to an outhouse in these subzero temps.”
Okay…it may be petty, but it was the first thing that popped into my sleepy mind.
Followed by, “Thank you Lord for our house. So many are living on the streets and I have a warm home. We’re protected from the elements.”
“Our health. We almost lost Mikel this year, but You protected him and healed him. Life could look so different right now. We’re healthy. We’re so blessed.”
“We have jobs. Jobs we love. You’re so good.”
“We are so fortunate. We have cupboards full of food. Lord, help us never take it for granted and show us who we can bless today.”
“You’re always here. Some days I feel You and others I just know by faith because Your Word says it. I don’t know what I would do without You.”
“I’m thankful for Mark 11:23-24. We may have a mountain we’re facing, but You’ve already provided the promise. We know it will crumble. It’s just a matter of time.And Your Word never fails. It shall come to pass.”
His worthiness hasn’t changed. His faithfulness hasn’t changed. His power has never changed. I was just focused on the wrong thing. And it’s so easy to do.
As soon as I made that slight adjustment, the well unstopped and praise flowed and peace followed. All is calm and bright again. It was there all along; I just had to dig it out.
The flesh will naturally focus on the negative. On complaining instead of praising. It takes intentionality to keep our gaze fixed on something we can’t see.
But that’s exactly where peace lives. Peace lives in praise.
Praising didn’t take one thing off my to-do list, but neither did complaining. My list is just as long, but once I shifted my focus, His presence saturated my soul.
Complaining saps our strength but praise multiplies it and brings peace and joy along for the ride.
And in the stillness, He showed me ways to be more efficient. Things to delegate. Things to let drop off the list.
It’s possible to keep our peace at Christmastime. And it starts with praise.
What are you thankful for today?