It’s the holiday season, and you know what that means?
Stress. Lots and lots of stress.
Now..I know most of you are thinking… “But the holidays are supposed to be fun and enjoyable!”
Yes, they are. Holidays are meant to be happy times spent having fun with friends and family. But as I get older, the more I realize the stress that’s placed upon each of us. Maybe there are financial struggles and you don’t know if there will be a Christmas like you remember. Maybe there are family issues or there was a recent death in the family. Maybe you’re still grieving and you know that the spot they usually would fill will be empty and the thought of facing it just brings you down. Maybe you just can’t explain it, but things just seem to be getting more and more difficult as the end of the year draws near.
If you can relate to any of those, I feel you. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I just want to stay curled up in my fuzzy blanket and fight the cold air and negative emotions with sleep. But there is a better way. The Bible says in Isaiah “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”( 26:3) KJV
Did you catch that? God will give us perfect peace when we focus our mind on the one who can control all things. My favorite attribute of God is his sovereignty. Sovereignty is defined as “supreme power and authority”. God created all things, controls all things and will bring about his will through all things (even when we mess up). God is in control. He knows what you’re going through.
Another verse that’s encouraging to me is Hebrews 4:15. God is not so big that he cannot relate to us. That’s part of why God came to earth as the man Christ Jesus. He was born to a virgin, lived a perfect sinless life, all so that he could die on the cross for our sins giving a hope of an eternity for all those that trust in him. But he was tempted by all points “like we are”. Jesus hungered and thirst.(Luke 4). He was overwhelmed with emotions. (Luke 22). Jesus experienced grief over the death of a friend (John 11:35). Of all the people who could understand us, Jesus is the one we should run to FIRST!
One of my favorite verses when I was in college was Psalm 61:2 “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” I would repeat that verse over and over and over. I wrote it out on colorful paper, tucked it into my text books, and hung it in my room and bathroom. I put it everywhere that I would potentially be able to see it. Why? Because in college it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re taking 18-21 credits a semester! And that verse was just a great reminder to stop focusing on all the difficulties and to turn my eyes onto Jesus.
It’s just as easy to get overwhelmed during the holidays. So much to get done, so little time. But take a deep breath. You will be okay. Focus your mind on Christ. Maybe you even need to talk to yourself the way David did in Psalms and say “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Psalm 43:5)
Remember, God’s in control. There’s no need to worry or stress or panic. But if you catch yourself doing those things, don’t get upset at yourself. Go to the One who truly cares about your soul. He LOVES you. He wants what’s best for you. Stay encouraged, friends! I believe in you!
-image credits to MANA (Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas)