Three Questions to Keep Me Joyful and Peaceful this Holiday Season

I hate to admit it, but I’ve shifted into the holiday season mode. Thanksgiving is two weeks from tomorrow!

I love having family and friends here. I love decorating and baking. I love giving gifts. But if I’m not intentional, my love of all these things can snowball into a frenzy to do more, more, more! In the more I lose my love and joy of the things that make the holiday special.

To be honest, I just don’t have the energy for crazy any longer. I have the energy I need to love well those who matter to me. I have the energy I need to do the few things God has called me to do. I don’t have the energy for the zillion other things that either myself or others add to my list that are not for me.

Oh, I will be tempted to do those things—more baking, more gifts, more of everything, but I can’t. If I do try to do those extra things, someone will get cheated. My family will be cheated of a mom, wife, and Nana who is joyful and present in the moment. I, too, will be cheated of the gifts of joy and being present in the moment. To experience joy and being in the moment I need to not overdo.

As with everything in my life, my foundation for how I live starts with my priorities. The topic of priorities could be another blog or two. For the purpose of this blog I will define my priorities as the people dearest to me, my relationship with God, and the things He calls me to. If something or someone is not on this list (notice the flexibility of listening to what God calls me to do), they may not get my time or energy. I have limited amounts of both.

Even within my priorities I cannot go nuts. I need to answer the questions:

  • What’s important? What is the point of what I am doing? Will “more” help me achieve the goal or will it detract from what’s really important? This year I’m hosting a first-ever Christmas party for the women in my small neighborhood. The idea seemed simple at first—invite the women for an evening of dessert and getting to know each other. The more I think about the party, the more preparations I want to do. I think of the more decorations I want to add to the house—inside and out. I am tempted to offer a variety of hot and cold beverages instead of sticking with coffee and tea. But I remember that I have only so much time and energy for this event and that reality keeps me from overdoing.
  • How can I best love this person? Often the answer does not come in the form of more spending or doing. Often the answer requires thought and intentionality. What will speak love to this person? It’s not more gifts, but maybe one gift that speaks to who they are or your relationship. Maybe it’s a gift that spurs them in the dream God has placed in their heart or the talents/gifts He has given them. Maybe it is the gift of time with you. More gifts do not say, “I love you more.”
  • Am I doing this for me? Is this thing I want to add to my list to help me not feel insecure or meet the expectations of others? Does each gift need to be wrapped like a work of art? If you enjoy that and have time for it, go for it. If you do it so others will think better of you–not a good enough reason. Let it go. What about the stress of writing the letter that goes in your Christmas card? Why do you do it? If you love it and have time for it, go for it. But if it is something that you feel you need to do because others expect it or you want to brag on your family, maybe you need to re-evaluate your why and if this is something worthy of your time.

This year I will keep my eye on the goal—a holiday season that where I trust God enough to let enough be enough. In this place I find joy and peace and can celebrate His goodness and His Son.

I’d love to hear one way you will let enough be enough this holiday season.

*Photo by NegativeSpace

Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

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