It is that time of year again.
The four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas is arguable the most hectic time of the year.
Not only do you have your regular responsibilities of life to fulfill, but you now have the added holiday tasks to complete.
Gift buying, decorating, baking, holiday parties, children concerts.... The list is endless, isn’t it?
One glance at the month of December can elicit panic, overwhelm, and stress in even the most organized.
While the holiday season will always be full (and probably overflowing), let’s use this month to give ourselves permission to slow down.
Permission is a concept women understand, but often struggle to accept for themselves.
We understand that our children need to have permission to play a video game online and we understand that permission needs to be granted to get a loan from the bank.
We accept these permissions as part of living in this world.
Where women struggle, I think, is when permission doesn’t need to come from an outside influencer such as a bank, but rather from ourselves.
Slowing down the pace of life is not something anyone else can decide for us. It is a decision that must come directly from our own hearts and thoughts.
Ultimately, it comes down to a choice.
You can choose to keep pushing. You can choose to keep running. Or you can choose to slow down and take a breathe.
The choice is our’s to decide.
Seems so easy, doesn’t it? I mean, the permission to slow down is 100% within our control!
But, if you are a striver, a perfectionist, a doer, or simply a women on a mission to get “stuff” accomplished, then you know how hard it can be to give yourself a break.
But, that dear friend, is exactly what you need to do during this busy time of the year.
Granting yourself this permission to slow down, however, should not come from sheer willpower alone, but rather from learning how Jesus taught us to slow down and then ask God for His strength to do the same in your life.
I can’t think of a more perfect example of slowing down the pace of life during this busy time of year than the story of Mary and Martha.
“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a women named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary, Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10: 38-41, emphasis mine)
Mary, it seems, granted herself permission to slow down. She allowed herself the opportunity to sit at Jesus’ feet and soak in His wisdom and truths even though there was much preparation to be completed. And for this, Jesus applauded Mary for her choice.
At the same time, Jesus rebuked Martha for her decision; “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things.”
Ouch. Can’t you just hear the hurt being expressed?
When I read this, I can’t help but insert my own name; “Angie, Angie, you are anxious and troubled about many things.”
The truth is, the holidays can make me a hot mess. Can you relate?
It seems, Jesus does not care about the preparation, the gift buying, the decorating, or the concerts. What He cares about is the permission we give ourselves to quiet our hearts and minds so that we can find Jesus in the midst of our busyness.
When you make this a priority, Christmas becomes less about the commercialism and more about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
It is my prayer for all of you that during this bustling time of year, that you choose to be more like Mary and give yourself permission to slow down and simply be still, finding God in the stillness.
Praying you through,
P.S. If you have a friend who could hear this message, I encourage you to forward this email on to her and then to hold each other accountable to choosing to live life through the pace Jesus’ chose.
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