Last week I had the joy of joining 4 beautiful women as we each shared wisdom about what it looks like to experience a life-giving and worshipful holiday season. Too many of us allow the stress and chaos of the holiday season to seep into every part of our lives and days, turning what was meant to be a gift into a curse. We wish away the season, longing for the new year with its promises of fresh starts. We grow tired and weary, not experiencing the real joy that is available to us right now.
You can watch our entire conversation here but I thought I would take a few moments here on the blog to share my biggest takeaways from my time with these wise women (Jess Connolly, Helen Brooks, Lindsay Sherbondy & Erin Carroll).
How To Have a Worshipful Holiday
- Ask: What worked last holiday season? What didn’t work? Spending a few minutes of intentional time thinking back to last year will allow you to see what helped you have a worshipful season and what kept your heart from worshiping. Identifying those things that worked and the things that didn’t and then moving towards a plan that would help you avoid the things that kept you from worship is a great first step to finding more joy this holiday season.
- Consistent Reset of Mind, Heart & Soul. When the world is shouting more stuff and more things to do and a standard of perfection for your decorating, cooking, and tablescapes and gift-giving – we need a reset to what truly matters. That reset happens best through the Bible. Spending daily time in the Word is the best method for shifting our focus to that which actually matters and that which is of highest value. My favorite Advent Devotional Resources: Amen Paper Company & Jane Johnson I have both of these and because my gaze just too quickly shifts from Him, I am a firm believer you can never have too many resources to point your heart to Jesus during the holidays.
- Ask: How do the people I love actually desire to be loved? Lindsay spoke about this and I thought it was genius. Much of stress is a result of a standard that was created by Pinterest and this idea that everyone else’s calendar, home, decor, meals, gifts, etc. look a certain away. We create to-do lists based on what everyone else is doing instead of asking: what would be meaningful for my kids, my spouse, my friends? The reality is that the most beautifully decorated home or perfectly baked, picturesque pumpkin pie probably doesn’t matter to your kids. If it is life-giving to you, then go for it, but if it is just an attempt to find worth and value because someone you admire is doing it then maybe it’s time to ask the question, what is life-giving to me? What brings joy to my soul? What brings joy to my children? To my spouse? To my family & friends?
- Set healthy expectations & boundaries. Simply be realistic about what you can and can’t do. Make decisions prior to the barrage of invitations and commitment requests about how much you want to do helps you make wise decisions in the moment. Prioritize those life-giving, joy-giving things and then eliminate all the rest. As a sidenote, life-giving and joy-giving is never about being self-focused; in fact, serving and loving others well is often the most life-giving act you can do. Try it, I doubt you will be disappointed.
- Eat Healthy & Exercise. Simple enough but I’ve learned that making a commitment to healthy living during the holidays makes me feel physically and emotionally and mentally better. The result is that I’m better able to fight anxiety or the depression-like tendencies I often face; making joy just a bit easier to find.
- Music. We fill our home with music. The tv is off (unless its a Christmas movie) and music is on. There is just something beautifully peaceful and worshipful about having music constantly and consistently playing. I find that no matter the chaos music settles my heart quicker than anything.
- Permission to be broken. Helen chatted about this and it was such a beautiful reminder. We expect perfect during the holidays. From ourselves and from others. Those are expectations that will never be met and leave our hearts empty, disappointed and overwhelmed. Expecting brokenness and giving yourself and others the freedom to be broken breathes life into a weary soul — a reminder of the real reason for Christmas, we are all broken and in need of a Savior who can bring perfect healing and complete restoration.
I pray these few thoughts help to bring you much joy this holiday season.