The calendar flips to November and holiday pressures rise as leaves and temperatures fall. Lists, shopping, and party planning shift into full gear. These tasks added to already full schedules often elevate stress and worries to unhealthy levels. This year, instead of releasing our pressure valves by barking at our families (which I NEVER do), let’s try a new approach.
So far in our #HolidayWellnessHabits series, we’ve learned how conscious over convenient Habits are wiser and Overcoming procrastination occurs with obedience. We’ve discussed balancing our Loves and Lapses and living by Inserting Intelligence from God. Now it’s time to prevent the pressure before it builds. Let’s Decide to be Diligent.
November winds can whip up our holiday planning. But when I attempt to go with the flow instead of planning ahead, it seems to only increase holiday stress. I’m naturally a planner so organization soothes me. Still, November blows in with a nagging sense of not enough hours in the day to get it all done. But that’s a lie.
Everyone has the same amount of time in a day. What’s critical is how we choose to spend it.
When we elect to insert additional responsibilities into bulging schedules, we shouldn’t lament our plight when we cannot do it all. Squeezing in just one more thing for fear of missing out (FOMO-just learned this has a name and acronym on social media) or any other reason ends up causing unnecessary stress.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Did Joseph and Mary complain about the cross country trek to Bethlehem? There’s no reference in the Bible about Mary nagging Joseph about the uncomfortable donkey or lack of reservation at the inn. There was no scrolling Pinterest to plan an elaborate birth announcement/Christmas card while simultaneously menu planning for the shepherd party. No, they were diligent in their sole task of traveling to Bethlehem. They left the details to God and decided to be diligent in what He told them to do. Period.
What does God want from us this holiday season? I bet He wants us to give thanks for His gracious gifts and honor our Savior’s birth in a meaningful way. Period. Yet, we make the holidays so much more.
I doubt our American forefathers or Heavenly Father envisioned Thanksgiving’s overindulgence on food, football and phenomenal sales. And the turkey isn’t even cold before the Christmas season surfaces. We imagine a merry time of celebration balanced with heartfelt observance of Jesus’ birth. Instead, we often overextend or indulge which impacts our time, money and health.
The apostle Paul in his letter reminds us and the Colossians:
Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. ~Colossians 3:2 (NLT)
The NIV translation uses the term, ‘set your mind’, which helps me visualize the decision of diligence. It’s a resolution; a setting of our minds on a specific decision and subsequent action. To think first on the things of heaven changes how we think about our lives here on earth. Yes, our lives are earthly but that doesn’t mean we can’t live with a heavenly disposition.
Heavenly and diligent decisions include our
- Maintaining exercise routines for invaluable mind and body benefits.
- ensuring quality sleep to function most effectively.
- eating nutritiously and judiciously.
- honoring what’s important —
- quality time with cherished family and friends
- meaningful worship and celebrations of the season
- ours and other’s presence, not presents
- letting go of the unimportant
- doing things out of artificial obligations or others unrealistic expectations
- including events that don’t align with God’s reason for the season
- continuing things simply because of tradition, not meaning
- spending what’s reasonable and
- giving what’s allowable as good stewards of all we’ve been given.
Thinking first of heavenly things allow our holiday seasons to be full of joy, love, peace, celebration, and rest. The holidays shouldn’t create havoc in our minds, bodies and wallets. The path to a peaceful and meaningful is found with heavenly forethought and diligent decisions.
Let’s decide to let go of what isn’t important, healthy or helpful. Let’s be diligent by consciously choosing to eat, sleep and exercise well to be fully present in mind and body. Let’s be wise in how we spend our time and resources. The common denominator of time and money is their finite nature. Let’s spend both wisely.
Deciding to be diligent with our health, wealth and time will build less pressure and more enjoyment this holiday season. Heavenly forethought coupled with diligence allows us to truly embrace the holiday season knowing it will bolster our spirits instead of depleting them.
The time is now. Decide to be diligent!
Linking with Crystal’s #HeartEncouragement