Holiday Season and Busyness

 

Thanksgiving has left me feeling so refreshed and thankful! We decided to drive down to Virginia and surprise my in-laws and I’m so, so glad we did. We had our stomachs and hearts filled by all of my husbands family. I am so grateful that I have in laws that love us so much that we are able (and feel totally comfortable and welcome) to surprise on their doorstep and stay, on a whim, for 5 days with a baby and a 75lb rambunctious dog. I know not everyone has family like that and I feel so loved that God gave me such a gift. I mean they welcomed us with open arms, lavished us with love and food and gifts and free babysitting and free dog sitting and served us and so much more.

It was amazing. Layla is taking a nap now and I could be unpacking and putting the house back together (#latepost ;))  but I just felt like really want to reflect on this and let it sink in now that its quiet. This is such a treasure God has given me and a great way to start the holiday season!

I’m reminded of this scripture

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,

Ephesians 1:18

If God showers me with these kinds of treasures on earth, even though we live in a fallen, broken, sinful world, how amazing must “the riches of his glorious inheritance be!” In heaven there will be no brokenness, no sin and instead, full joy and completeness. I’m just having such a hard time wrapping my brain around this concept that what we have in God and in heaven is off the charts on any earthly scale or measurement. I just feel so wrapped in the love of his grace and I just want to sit here for a little while.

This hasn’t always been my mindset, though. For me, often times, the holiday season brings a lot of stress and overwhelm instead of joy. Instead of being reminded of God’s love, I can be completely distracted from God all together. I’m determined for that not to happen this year. And I wanted to check in with you and see how your holiday season is going. How are you feeling after thanksgiving? Do you feel joy? Do you feel God’s love?

Don’t you love to feel loved?

God loves us so much and we can easily miss out on that love even though its staring us right in the face. Why? Here are a few reasons I’ve missed it:

  1. Comparison. I have a million examples but I feel like every time I get on social media I’m comparing, what are they buying, decorating, how much effort and money are they putting into gifts/ decorations, when did they start shopping/decorating. People didn’t even have the ability to compare to this degree 20 years ago and I don’t think its healthy for me.
  2. Competition. I find myself competing against those people I’m comparing myself to and competing against myself and trying to outdo what I did last year (and no one probably remembers except me).
  3. Guilt. I don’t live up to this standard I’ve put on myself through comparing and competition I feel guilty and it just steals my joy.
  4. Busyness. Filling my schedule with events that really don’t bring me closer to God or my family.

The Holiday Season Trap

I’ve realized I miss out on God’s love because I am searching for acceptance from others. We miss out on Gods love in our search for acceptance from others. I love that we got to surprise my in-laws, we just showed up as is. I didn’t have time to think about any of these things, how I can impress them or prove I’m a good wife for their son or prepare anything special, and I realized none of that even mattered. I saw that God truly loved me because he gave me this extra family and put love in their hearts for me. Acceptance from others can disguise itself as love but its not the kind of love that fills our hearts to overflowing and brings us true joy. It’s the kind of love that leaves us feeling like we need something more– it’s not enough and it will never sustain us. This may be a strange analogy but think about sugar. Its sooooo good right? I have a huge sweet tooth and love my chocolate, but it doesn’t truly nourish us. It doesn’t give us what our bodies need and it won’t sustain us. We will feel the affects of an undernourished body from going to sugar for nourishment. We will feel the affects of an undernourished soul from going to people and things for a nourishing love that only God provides.

Scripture, prayer,
My prayer for us women this season

This doesn’t just apply to the holiday season but for me, I’ve seen a pattern in my adult life and I almost always feel burnout and starving for God during the holiday season. I put way to much pressure on myself and load up my schedule unnecessarily. This year I’m keeping it simple. I’m focusing on the things that will help me see and model God’s love. My 3 focuses are Jesus, loved ones, and serving. I don’t need to participate in every cookie exchange this year… I mean if it helps me see or model God’s love, then, maybe 😉

Scriptures to Combat Busyness During the Holiday Season

Here are a few passages that I find helpful:

Luke 10:38-42 (Don’t miss out on what is best by being distracted by all the preparations.)

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (We don’t have to fit everything in every season.)

Ephesians 5:15-16 (We are called to make wise choices with our time.)

I hope they are helpful for you too 😉

 

  1. Heather

    December 5, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Your list is spot on. Thanks for the challenge and reminder!

    1. lpenaranda

      December 6, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      Thank you Heather 🙂

  2. Shanel

    December 11, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Hi Laura! Great blog! Thanks for the reminder to not focus so greatly on the preparations. Luke 10: 38-42 is a scripture that’s hit home as a regular reminder for me as well:)

    1. lpenaranda

      December 11, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      Thanks Shanel! Yes! That’s a great passage! I’m actually working on a post about Martha and Mary right now! I think God has definitely revealed in me some of the same things Martha struggled with. Thanks for sharing!

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