It’s getting close to Christmas, you guys! Maybe you’re excited like me, and maybe not so much, but this holiday season is a season of joy in many ways.
I start decorating for Christmas as soon as my dear husband gives me the okay, and I listen to Christmas music in October. I fully participate in the festivities that abound in the month of December and I love it!
But it can be a time of sadness for our family too. We remember the horrible passing of my mother-in-law, and when December 26th rolls around, my father-in-law is no longer here for his birthday to be celebrated. On top of that, I have a bit of anxiety and flashbacks to last year when my health wasn’t as good and my MS was giving me troubles.
Do you ever feel like life is just one long string of difficult events (with an occasional respite thrown in here and there so your sanity isn’t entirely lost)?
If so, I know the feeling. Between the death and sickness of family and friends, the horrific events on the news, and the stresses of life in general, sometimes life can feel very…dark.
I’m guessing I’m not alone here. And hopefully I’m not alone when I say I refuse to allow that outlook to rule my mind.
So how do we fight the darkness? How do we muster the strength to focus on the good, when sometimes the good moments feel so few and far between?
We fight darkness with light. The light of Jesus, specifically. And we remember our view of life is the result of thousands of daily choices that we may not even realize we’re making. Such as:
Will I complain? Will I dwell on the negative? Will I focus on the sadness of the world? Will I choose fear?
Will I choose to be grateful? Will I find the positive? Will I find joy in good news? Will I choose hope?
I’m no scientist, but I do know the more you think positively or negatively, the more your brain gets wired to continue down that path. To me, that’s pretty empowering.
Thankfully, the pressure isn’t all on us and our abilities. Not even close.
God desires to help us and give us the mental (and physical) rest we need to keep going strong.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” –Matthew 11:28-30
If we take him at his word and give Jesus our burdens to carry, we find ourselves free to accept and be filled with joy from the Holy Spirit.
Even if sickness or uncertainty is staring you in the face today, your peace doesn’t have to suffer for it.
Consider this—we get to rest in the truth that we belong to Jesus, Heaven awaits us in the end, and nothing on earth can take those things away from us. And in the big, big picture… what else really compares?
And let’s not forget we don’t have to resign ourselves to the ups and downs of this life without a fight. We serve a God who answers prayer and performs miracles. Yes, even today God is still working miracles all around us. So let’s spend more time hunkered down in our prayer closet (or car, or bedroom, or whatever) and let’s be open to praying for and receiving the good things God wants to do in us and for us, instead of sitting back and letting life happen however the chips may fall.
What about when life is good?
Sometimes life is great. All the pieces of this crazy puzzle called life seem to fall together and we can inhale deeply and count our blessings. But if you’re like me, your peace is sometimes threatened even during times of otherwise smooth sailing. Why?
Because something always happens next. Am I right?
But instead of anxiously awaiting the next difficult thing, let’s be deliberate about choosing joy in the moment.
There are always blessings to count—let’s do just that. Let’s choose joy. Let’s open our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to rid us of anxiety and fear, and replace those things with peace, hope, and joy. In times of trial and times of plenty alike.
So even though this season in particular is a myriad of joy and sadness, I can choose. I can focus my energies on what “could have been” and give myself over to sadness and anxiety, or I can turn my eyes upon Jesus, count my blessings, (which truly do abound, as they do for most of us with running water and electricity) and receive the peace and joy that he so desperately wants to give.
Moment by moment, I’m doing my best to choose peace and joy to carry me through this upcoming Christmas season. How about you?
Let me know your thoughts by leaving me a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!
And for any of you who may be wondering, here’s a brief update on me: My middle grade Christian Fiction novel (currently titled “Power Up”) is in the editing phase. There is a lot of waiting and a lot of back-and-forth right now as my agent, publisher, editor, and I work together to get everything just right. It’s a time of excitement and soon it will be a time of teaching myself how to effectively market a book—yikes! Life is an adventure, that’s for sure. While I have a little down time in the middle of the waiting, I’ve been working on an adult Christian fiction novel. It’s a story that’s been on my heart for a while, and even if it comes to nothing, it’s SO much fun to write.
I truly do appreciate your support through this new writing adventure! Thanks for reading!