Finding Balance in the Holiday Hustle

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The Holiday Hustle is real! 

As the temperature drops and my to do list grows longer, it’s super easy to get overwhelmed by the business of the season. I mean let’s be real, as soon as that sun goes down my mind shuts off for the day. Anyone else?

And this is all rather inconvenient since my 8-5 duties are done and my wifey duties are still on. Dinner doesn’t cook itself! 

But seriously, in the midst of the hustle and duties and demands, it’s easy to put God in a box. You know, one of those check boxes we make of things to do… If we're not careful, we can box up our relationship with the Almighty God into a teeny tiny box labeled "quiet time." Is it really ever quiet, though? I mean if my life doesn't distract me from reading my bible, my quadrillion thoughts will! Why exactly do we think that time with God needs to be spent in absolute silence? Could it be that a religious mentality has snuck into our perception on how spiritual you must look while spending time with God? 

But that is exactly why the stress and worry seem so overwhelming. We’ve put the Prince of Peace in one of our boxes, instead of inviting him into EVERY box! He wants your mess, He wants your frustrations, and He definitely wants your lists. When we start categorizing our lives while keeping God in only one, then we are literally pushing out the only answer we have to living in all of those categories with peace and joy. 

This season is hectic, I know. I mean, just this week Jeff and I haven't stopped going at all. I haven't even cooked dinner once! Which is huge for me... I honestly don't know how we're getting it all done. It's only through Christ. And in the mornings, when we're driving to work, sleepy-eyed with our coffee in hand, gazing up at Pikes Peak Mountain as we pray over our day, we are literally placing our time in His hands. And you can do that, too. He wants you to do that. He cares and He wants to be invited into your life. Every part of it... even the messy parts :) 

Because God loves diving into our mess, but he doesn't ever keep us there.

He is the master planner, protector, designer of destiny and cleaner-upper of our hearts. And there's good news! The bible gives us a very clear plan to walking in peace no matter what your life looks like right now. 

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
— Isaiah 26:3

Life may be happening, the mall may be crowded, traffic may be ultra terrible and the weather might be abnormally cold, but when we choose to keep our minds focused on Christ - on His goodness, His kindness, His grace and ultimately the gift of His life for ours - then we can actually walk in perfect peace regardless of what’s going on around us.

And what a beautiful time of year to start!

Now is the perfect season to start reflecting on what Christ has done. Don't let this season pass you by without standing in awe of it's true meaning, beauty, power and glory. The miracle that happened in a manger over 2,000 years ago is the reason for our faith, the basis of our lives and the hope we have for our future. It's the story of how a loving God gave everything of Himself to His children that He loved so dearly. It's the redemptive plan in action. It's the beginning of the rest of our lives! 

I want to remember the reason for this season and I hope you will to. We can have peace, joy and love even while the rest of the world is frantic. After all, that's what this world needs to see. They need to experience the peace in you, which will point back to the Prince of Peace that came for them too. 

So let’s write out our lists and check them twice. Then let’s open up our hands and lift our lists up to the One who holds all our time, energy and wisdom. 

Happy hustling!

 
 

Balance for the Holidays

Over Thanksgiving, Jeff and I packed up our kitten Mocha and snuck off to the mountains for some much needed time away. Sometimes, life can get so busy and hectic that it feels like you've forgotten how to simply be still, breathe, and remember why your working so hard anyways. 

On our last day, we drove up to Estes Park for a bit of a date night and what we saw quickly reminded us that the holiday season isn't approaching anymore... it's here! Nestled on the outskirts of Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes appears as a valley of christmas lights all flashing the same message... CHRISTMAS IS COMING! 

As exciting as this notion is, it can also become very daunting as dreams of gift buying dance in our heads. If we're not careful, the pure magic and charm of the season can be drowned out by it's expectations. My challenge is this... that we can not only be productive and proactive this Christmas season, but we can also remain at peace, taking in and experiencing all of the joy that was meant to come with it. 

Let's not forget what Christmas is all about. We received a gift that we didn't deserve by a God who loves us without question. Because of Him, we have freedom. Because of Him, we have peace. Because of Him, we have a purpose and a destiny. Because of Him, we are loved more than we will ever be able to know. 

When your feeling overwhelmed, try thinking about what you have to celebrate in your life. It's incredible the power our minds have over our world. When you choose to put your focus on Him, He brings your perspective higher and suddenly, your able to see above the problems and frustrations. You're able to see the bigger picture and your place in it. So don't let the season bring you down. Instead, use it to bring out the absolute best in you. That was the whole point anyways! 

How to Cultivate a Thankful Heart

The holidays are finally here! And with peppermint mochas, first snow, and pumpkin pie, it can also be a time of busyness, commitments, and frustration. It's easy to get wrapped up in your calendar and forget to slow down and remember why we're celebrating in the first place. 

As we walk into a holiday that reminds us to be thankful, it's important that we take the time to realize what this actually means in our everyday, non-holiday lives. Deciding to be thankful is a choice that is determined on where were put our focus.

Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always].
— Colossians 3:15 AMP

"Deciding and settling questions that arise..." How often do we allow the questions of what should or should not be arise and linger in our minds without deciding and settling truth in it's place? 

When we intentionally set our hearts on what we're thankful for, the things that seem frustrating or annoying become much smaller as our perspective becomes higher. We're able to love others and give of ourselves rather than simply take. We're also able to walk in complete peace of mind during a time when most people are in a constant state of panic and greed. 

So bring on the turkey, stuffing, and family bonding! And when negative thoughts and frustrations start to arise, be intentional about replacing it with something your thankful for, and watch your heart become lighter this holiday season.