The real-deal holidays are here. It's time to get serious about this God-centered thing. Choosing to replace 'me' with 'He' sounds nice when I sitting in my leather chair, in the comfort of my home. Add in the stress of traveling with children, sharing small spaces with extended family, being off my routine, AND trying to be God-centered. Oi vay!
I've spent time thinking about how to stay humble this holiday season. There are a few things I'm going to put in my tool box for handling the crazy with grace & love. Here we go:
1. Pep talk phrases
Sometimes I just need a little perspective. I get caught up in the chaos of the moment and my blood begins to boil and then I blow it. So I'm going to keep a list of pep-talk phrases handy in my mind (or maybe even written down) to keep me on track. Some of these came from the book, "Unglued" by Lysa Terkeurst (highly recommend it):
- "It's only ____ days. I can do anything for ______ days" (insert length of time..."It's only 4 days")
- "The relationship is more important than being right." (this comes from Lysa's statement: "Am I trying to prove that I'm right, or improve the relationship?")
- "Does this matter to God?" (looking down at my life from 24 miles up helps give perspective on whether I'm making a mountain out of a molehill.)
- Say it to her/his face. (don't talk about another family member unless he/she is present).
- Pray more, say less. (Lysa says, "The one who holds the tongue holds the power.")
2. Memorize & Dwell on Truth
A few years ago I decided to memorize the passage Philippians 4:4-7 during Christmas break:
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Anytime I started to get sassy or frustrated I went back to those words, "let your gentleness be evident to ALL" or "do not be anxious about ANYTHING" or "by prayer and petition, with THANKSGIVING". The holidays were much more joy-filled when I went back to His word and meditated on His truth.
This year I want to memorize & think about these words:
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:2-3
3. Have an escape plan
Even with pep-talk phrases & Scripture, it's unrealistic to think I will never be overwhelmed or frustrated during the holidays. When I start to feel the tingling in my toes and my mouth filter thinning, I need to:
I've decided in those moments where I may say or do something I regret, I need to just slip out of situation and go to the bathroom...with my iPhone. Sit on the toilet (lid open or lowered...your call. ;). Turn on Pandora and listen to one worship song (examples: Hillsong, Christa Wells, All Sons & Daughters, Christ Tomlin). When the song ends, say this simple prayer, "Lord, help me to stay focused on You. To love others as You love me. Help me be a minister of Your grace. Amen."
4. Start the day in His Word
I may not have my leather chair & quiet time of #hellomornings while traveling. I'm hoping before my feet hit the floor in the morning, I can open the YouVersion app on my phone. There is a reading plan women around the world are reading together. The plan is called, "She Reads Truth". Here is the link for the Thanksgiving plan: http://bible.us/r/6N
5. List a gift
For me Thanksgiving isn't the only day for expressing gratitude. Since reading "One Thousand Gifts" (Ann Voskamp), gratitude has become a spiritual discipline. A daily turning my eyes towards what God has given me in times I want to complain about what I don't have.
During the holidays when my grumbly voice begins, I want to stop & think of one gift. Right then. Stop & be grateful for at least one thing. Thank God for the gift. Give Thanks. Receive the gift and receive joy.
Okay Chicas, what ideas can you share for staying God-centered (humble) this holiday season?