Eliminating Stress, Worry, and Frustration During The Holidays

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Eliminating Stress, Worry, and Frustration During The Holidays

I don't know what it is but despite the joy we want to feel and are supposed to feel at Christmas, that is often not our experience is it?  Somehow the stress rises with every passing day, even hour. But this year I have a secret source of  help to  get through the hustle and bustle with not only a good measure of peace, but true joy!

Sunday, we had our first advent celebration and the focus was on John the Baptist's impending birth. Because the Lord sent him to 'prepare the way' for the Lord, we decided, as a family, that our first advent candle this year represented preparation.  

It occurred to me that if we do what we usually do.. jump headlong into the Christmas to do's without heart preparation, this Christmas will be just as stressful and 'un-joyful' as all the others have been at times.

So as a family we agreed to do all we can to  stay focused on the REAL reason for Christmas.. the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus.  We are reading daily from an online advent devotional plan by John Piper called Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent.

As long as we focus on the best gift of all.. the birth of our Lord and his coming down to earth to bring salvation to a hurt and dying world, we have done the most important thing on our Christmas list. :)  Everything else is extra.

However, in spite of our good intentions, for some reason, a whole list of projects, concerns, and tasks were on everyone's minds this morning at my house. The sheer weight of all those things that needed to be done, must be done, and weren't yet done, caused a bit of tension to hover just on the edge of the various conversations we were having.

I felt such an intense pressure! Before I started seeking Jesus with my whole heart, I would have had a few sharp retorts to throw into the mix, or just curled up on the bed for a little pity party. 

But no.. the daily time in the Lord's presence that I keep so faithfully in times of ease, trusting the Lord was changing and filling my soul.... paid off beautifully under the pressure of everyone's anxious thoughts as to all the needs looming on the horizon, and their fears that all might not get taken care of.

The Holy Spirit immediately brought this verse to my mind, when I was tempted to get weighed down by it all.  I chose to grab on to and rely on it's precious truth! 

You will keep him in perfect peace  
whose mind is stayed on you
because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 

All the future and it's details are in God's capable hands. We have no reason to fear, when we choose to walk by Faith.

 I had to laugh when I finally read the assigned bible reading for the morning and there was the very verse the Lord had reminded me of! It's amazing how He really does bring all things to our remembrance just when we  need it.

A few thoughts on what this verse really means...

keep- maintain and hold fast

perfect peace - no fear, no doubt, steady and dependable, unshakeable

mind - a mental focus, all our thoughts, hopes, imaginations, understanding

stayed- focused, glued, concentrated (no wandering or doubting)

on thee - God himself

trusts - Has faith, knows that God is trustworthy 
and will keep his word and knows what is best for us

A simple summary is that as long as we have FAITH in God and keep our eyes on Him and his wishes for us, refusing to doubt or entertain sinful  or fearful thoughts, God will guard our peace and keep our hearts tranquil and at ease. Nothing will be able to shake us.

God will do the keeping.. but we must believe (inspite of any evidence to the contrary)  and take captive our thoughts and imaginations and force them to stay focused on the truth of God's strength, love, capability to provide, and his sovereign plan for our day and our future.

Worry is the result of doubt and self reliance. 

Peace is the result of relying on God day in and day out and having faith in Him and his provision and guidance.

 We must stay close to the Lord and seek Him daily, if we want to walk in faith and enjoy peace in the midst of difficulties.

Don't let your mind wander from God's 'reality' to the long list to be done. Instead, accept each day's work as God's assignment to you, trusting that he will make you able to do it.

Do the next thing and leave the list in God's hands. Worry won't get it done--but it will freeze you in your tracks. 

Nothing wastes more time than anger, worry, self-pity, and fear.

If you must waste time.. do it with God. You will be so full of peace, joy, and self-control, that you will whip that list out in no time!

If it doesn't get done, then the Lord didn't want you to do it. :)

 Do the Next Thing" 
From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the doors the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration: “do the next thing.

Many a questioning, many a fear,

Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all results, do the next thing.

Looking for Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as He beckons thee, do the next thing.

~Author Unknown

Dear Lord, We thank you for your promise to give us your perfect peace to preserve and protect our joy, when our minds want to derail us with doubt, fear, and discouragement. And if we are not stressed right now, may we take the time to seek your face and 'store up' good treasure against the days of storm which will certainly come in time.

 Lord, help us to press in, by faith, to Your grace to enable us to withstand the temptation to worry or get frustrated over others lack of  cooperation. You will not give us too much to bear. Grow our faith so we can honor You today in everything we do. Amen


A Primitive Homestead said...

Trying to get into the Christmas spirit but today walking through Wal-Mart my thoughts went to I hate Christmas. If it could only b e just about Christ's birth and forget all this gift giving. Sorry I must sound like such a scrounge. One of my children was killed July 2012 and nothing in life except my other children seems to have any meaning anymore. After my largest melt down and shrink visits after the first 11 months I started working on the house to make my mind go somewhere other than grief. It is a daily struggle between wanting to be with all my children here on earth but never to be again. Being pulled between eternity with my son and here with my living children. All I really want is my son back with us. Watching some make such a big deal about Christmas getting all they want. The material things seem more important to some. A child is not replaceable. So again I question why can't Christmas just be about the birth of Christ and his purpose for being sent to earth make away for our salvation.

Donna said...

How I do understand your pain, to some degree. I cannot even imagine what you are going through Yet I would encourage you to help your children see the true joy and meaning of Christmas and giving.. that Jesus loves for us to give to others .. like every other way to say 'I love you' gift giving is sanctified in the heart of the giver.

May the Lord comfort you and bring you healing from your grief soon. I pray you will be enabled to comfort your children too and not let the death of your son steal the joy of the love of your little ones still in your home. Sincerely, Donna

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster

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