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Avoiding an Over-Committed Christmas - Encouragement for Today - December 15, 2015

Susie larson

DECEMBER 15, 2015

Avoiding An Over-Committed Christmas

"Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety." Proverbs 29:25 (NLT)

I’ll just say it: I’m not much to sing about in the kitchen.

But one year I felt compelled to say, "Yes!" to participating in a Christmas cookie exchange.

The problem was, I had no idea how to bake cookies. Correction: I had no idea how to bake cookies that shared the same shape and size, not to mention the added pressure that they taste great and be packaged festively.

Looking back, it seems unfair the other participating women had to take home my cookies while I got to take home theirs. Their cookies looked like beautifully wrapped pottery. Mine? Like hunks of hardened Play-Doh wrapped in wrinkly Saran Wrap.

When I think about the stress I put on myself (and my family), just trying to pull off something that’s not one my talents, it seems downright ridiculous.

Thankfully, I no longer feel obligated to participate in cookie exchanges — for others’ sake and mine. What freedom! I’ve learned when our souls are healed and whole, our choices are more life-giving than soul-draining.

On the other hand, when we focus on others’ opinions, or work too hard to save face, we give away our gifts, our time and our divine opportunities. Most importantly, we give away power to others which belongs to God alone.

So how do we respond to external pressures that don’t match up with our internal convictions? We remind ourselves — every moment if we have to — that Jesus paid a dear price to free us from the bondage of others’ opinions so we can live free to be everything He intended us to be.

When we catch ourselves misusing our time, energy and gifts to impress others or to rescue our sense of self-worth, it’s time to simply pause, remember who we are in Christ and then reset our course. Rise up and walk toward freedom aligned with God’s direction for our lives, and away from the snare of worrying what other people think about us.

Meanwhile, want to ensure your captivity? Set your thoughts on the perceived, actual or potential disapproval of others. It’ll put fear in your heart and angst in your soul, as your choices will reflect a captivity mindset.

Want to ruin your life? Let the crowds and the committees pressure you into helping every time there’s a need. Run yourself so ragged that you lose your joy and faith. And lose an eternal perspective, causing the outside world to question whether Jesus really has made a difference in your life.

There will be times when others wrongly assess us. But God always deeply loves and understands us. And that needs to be enough for us. Can we be content to be misunderstood if we know we’re in the center of God’s will? Those are the times and places where heroes are born.

Want to walk free? Set your mind on things above.

Set your heart on the unchanging, indisputable truth of God’s love for you. Do the next thing He tells you to. If He says rest, then rest. If He says run, then run with all your might. If He says wait, then surrender control, open your hands and entrust Him with the timing of your breakthrough. Worship Him in the meantime. Fear God alone and you will walk free.

Precious Lord, thank You for loving me like You do! Forgive me for caring too much about what others think of me. Your thoughts toward me are what matter most. Help me to live and breathe and serve and give as one who is deeply loved and profoundly provided for. I have nothing to prove and all of eternity to live for. I’m so very grateful. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

1 Corinthians 2:12, "What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us." (NIV)

Ephesians 3:19, "May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God." (NLT)

If you find yourself committing to something simply because it’s a good cause or you think no one else will help, you will want to get a copy of Susie Larson’s Your Sacred Yes: Trading Life-Draining Obligation for Freedom, Passion & Joy.

Learn more about Susie Larson by visiting her website.

Enter to WIN a copy of Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larson. In celebration of this book, Susie’s publisher is giving away five copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here, letting us know why you’d like a copy for yourself OR whom you would give the book to, if you won. {We’ll randomly select five winners and email notifications to each one, by Monday, December 21.}

Where are you most apt to commit first and regret it later? (Church, school, work, etc.)

How might this holiday season look differently for you if you take your cues from God Himself instead of from peer pressure and from the rushing current of the culture?

© 2015 by Susie Larson. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Bethany House Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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