“There is an occasion for everything and a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 CSB
We’re going to spend time looking at 10 of the most common holiday stressors identified in this article from Psychology today. Holidays create anxiety in all of us, and the number one way is by trying to get it all done. As you all know, I don’t have children, but I have plenty of friends who have children. When I talk to my friend Heather about her days, I’m exhausted with all of the things she does in a day. Working full time, carpooling kids around to events, serving her church, she is always on the go. How can we find rest in the madness? How do we let go of the expectation to get it all done?
The key is in prioritizing. Take time to think about the things that are really important this holiday season. The house doesn’t have to be cleaned to perfection to be full of love. The article suggests making a list of everything that needs to be done, then give yourself a few days to add or detract from it if necessary. Plan one day for shopping, one day for decorating, one day for baking. Whatever gets done on those days are what gets done, if it all doesn’t get done the world won’t fall apart. Give yourself grace this holiday season, allow yourself not to get it all done. Maya Angelou, famed civil rights activist, poet and award winning author summed it up best in these words. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Making people feel loved doesn’t require expensive presents, immaculate houses or perfectly decorated pastries. People feel loved when we are present.
Peter, in his letter to the churches in Asia Minor says we are to love people by being “like minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble” (1 Peter 3:8 NIV). If we are so caught up trying to get everything done, we’re not going to notice what is going on in the people’s lives we’re trying to do everything for. We won’t notice our husband’s dejected face after a long day at work. We won’t see the hurt in the eyes of our child when they feel ignored by us. We won’t have compassion for a hurting heart because we don’t even notice it. Our pride in accomplishing every task will replace our humility. We won’t be present with those who need us most because we’re too busy trying to get everything else done. The holidays aren’t just stressful for us, they’re stressful for those we love. But when we can find rest from trying to get it all done, we’ll be able to make those around us feel loved. The love we give them is what they remember the most, not the shiny wrapped package under the tree.
Today I’m going to find rest by giving myself grace from getting it all done. How can you find rest today? Comment below.