Releasing Perfect and Accepting Peace
The Desire for Peace Instead of Perfect
It’s here! The holiday season and the world has begun the frantic pace of black Friday sales. There is pressure to prepare and perfect our holiday gatherings. The world seeks to draw our minds away from peace and contentment in Jesus.
With the temperatures above average in Northern Illinois, my outdoor Christmas lights are up, and I’m in planning mode for the Thanksgiving meal and preparing our home for the holidays. Amid this season, I desire to cling tightly to my peace in Jesus and not get drawn into creating the worldly “perfect” day.
My heart is eager for a house filled with the love and chatter of five grands under five. (And our kids, too.) I desire to be present and engaged. To just be me, keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, and receive the peace He offers throughout the holidays.
We can get sucked into the worldly thinking that we need to create the “perfect day” for everyone. Me included.
Perfection is an illusion.
Something unplanned always occurs. Burnt food, cranky toddlers, strained family relations.
What unexpected occurrence took place at your last gathering?
The expectations rob us of the peace we hope for as we come together and celebrate.
We must remind ourselves what’s important. Time together. When we allow the day to unfold and put aside our preconceived notions, we can be available, present, and filled with peace for the day.
When we turn our eyes away from the worldly view of the holidays, peace and contentment follow. As we look to Jesus and the peace He offers, our hearts and minds are calmer, and we can be present with those we love.
What do you hope your holiday season and gatherings will look like?
Before you get too far into your preparations, choose where you will place your focus.
Planted by His Living Water
We must stay focused on Christ to enjoy a budding holiday season where we flourish and love. When we’re connected to His continual source of life-giving water, we receive the spiritual nourishment and rest we need daily.
Moving through the holidays at a frantic pace is impossible. We can’t do it all and be all to everyone. We will lose ourselves and the peace our soul desperately needs.
We can be someone who loves well when we’re planted in Christ.
How do we stay rooted in Jesus with the holiday busyness?
We spend time with God.
I’m not saying you should add another item to your list, but you may have to remove something—perhaps let go of your expectations or make one less batch of cookies.
Time in God’s Word helps us abide in Him.
His Word reminds us of who we are and takes our focus off our preparations. This is how we stay planted and exhibit the fruits of love, joy, and peace.
A successful holiday isn’t about doing, prepping, and attending. Success is measured by how we’re flourishing in the manner God intended.
We flourish as we connect with Him, one ear listening for His voice and eyes fixed on Him. This is where we find peace.
Receive and extend
Look for balance.
God doesn’t want an overwhelmed you, stressed by your preparations. He desires you to operate from a place of peace. To love others well and care for yourself. By the way, I’m also preaching to myself, so I hope I’m listening.
Receive God’s love by spending time with Him.
Here are some ideas:
- Read a Christmas Devotional: Use my devotional, “Reclaiming Christmas Joy,” to guide you through the holidays so you can receive joy and refreshment in Jesus or my friend Jennifer Elwood’s book “Counting Up to Christmas.“
- Use a Bible reading plan on the YouVersion Bible App.
- Read through one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and focus on how you see the presence of Jesus on display throughout the Scripture.
- Start a gratitude journal. Write a daily thanksgiving prayer for what brought you joy and peace each day.
Extend God’s Love
Each of us has a gift from God.
Some of you love blessing others by creating a beautiful visual atmosphere. For those of you who love decorating and have an eye for the visual, and it brings you joy, Amen!
But for others, like me, it’s more about being present and offering an invitation to spend time together. No frills, no fuss.
Other ways to extend love:
- Serve at one of your church’s Christmas services
- Donate to a local food pantry.
- Help pack meals for a local mission.
- Purchase a gift for a giving tree.
- Go caroling at a local nursing home.
The options to extend the love of Christ are expansive. But it’s about balance. He isn’t calling you to overextend but to serve out of the overflow of your heart as you evaluate your time and let something go.
God desires peace for you. For holidays with less stress and anxiety.
There is peace and refreshment for your soul when you spend time with Him. As you care for yourself in His presence, you will have an overflow of peace and joy to share with others.
This season, delight yourself in His Word and plant yourself next to His streams of living water. As you do, you will receive His love, peace, and joy as you prepare your heart and home for the holidays.
May you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving Day.