Today's Thoughts: Staying Spiritual During the Holidays (an article written for a local newspaper…)
If the holidays are about our faith, family and food feasts, then why do we struggle the most with staying spiritual during these times? Shouldn't these times bring us peace on earth and joy to the world? But the reality for many of us is that we become emotionally stressed out, financially maxed out and physically burned out trying to keep up and keep it all together.
I was shopping in Costco during the summer months and ran into an old acquaintance from a Bible study class we attended together. I asked her how she was doing and her response was, "Well, I have the most difficult time keeping the faith in the summer and during the holidays." Her words were absolutely honest and sadly enough very true. We grow weary in doing good at different seasons of life. The holidays tend to be one of those seasons.
After talking with so many women at retreats, Bible studies, live radio programs, women's events and even through emails, my ministry partner, Bobbye Brooks, and I have found that many Christians are basically weary. Circumstances, people, finances, negative words and thoughts have all contributed to not having a desire to persevere. We know that the right thing is to persevere, run the race with endurance, and not lose heart, but sometimes it seems too difficult to just keep going, day in and day out.
If we were really honest, most of us would admit to having thoughts like, "How can I do it all? How is this going to work out? Why does life have to be this hard?" The added pressure of the holiday season demands more of our time and attention. Suddenly we find ourselves having no time to pray or seek the Lord. Instead, we try to spiritualize and justify our position by saying we are doing all these things for others as if we are living a sacrificial life. However, we can't give others something we do not have. We can become unspiritual in the process. Why? Because God does not ask us to sacrifice but to obey. Jesus defined obedience in John 15 as abiding in Him.
Day after day, we become burned out and stressed out and now, our faith becomes affected as we start questioning God, "Are You hearing me?" and "Why won't You help me?" Like Eve in the garden, we question God's goodness and His basic command. Eve exchanged the peace of God for a piece of fruit but we exchange His presence for presents. The serpent tempted Eve to compromise and we know that Jesus called him a murderer from the beginning. He is still up to the same old tricks. We are allowing the enemy to have too much influence at times. He kills our dreams, steals our peace and destroys our hope for the future. Jesus came to earth to reverse the process of death and yet our undisciplined lifestyle of choosing not to obey can lead to negative consequences in our lives.
To stay spiritually minded during the holidays, we need to keep our eyes focused on the Lord and include Him in our thoughts. Instead of talking to ourselves, we need to start talking to Him and then give Him the time to talk back. The enemy will use every scheme he can against us to distract us from maintaining a walk with the Lord. It has been said, "If the devil cannot make you bad, he will make you busy." To combat the temptations to over commit in your time and finances, we must stay in the Word of God to renew our minds and to surrender to His will over our natural-born desires. Through the Holy Spirit, we can overcome and live a life pleasing to God that brings peace in the midst of chaos.
My father frequently said, "When your output exceeds your intake, your upkeep is your downfall." It is too easy to fall down in the holiday seasons. Joy to the world begins with each of us individually. Joy cannot come without the conscious awareness of the Lord's promised presence wherever we go and whatever we do. By allowing our thoughts to think about God in the daily routines of life, we allow the Lord to have the ability to move through our actions. Only then can we truly maintain the Spirit of Christmas and sing the song, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
Daily Disciples Ministries, Inc.