It’s crunch time. The week before Christmas, and for us Event-Planners (see The Perfect Holidays) there are thousand details to attend to before The Holidays. There are Christmas presents to wrap, groceries to buy, a house to clean, food to cook, relatives to see (or feel guilty about not seeing), Christmas tree to decorate, school programs to attend, teacher presents to send, cookies to bake, cards to address, and –in our house anyway–football to watch (how ‘bout them Packers?).
All those thoughts of peace and joy at the holiday have vanished as we round the curve for The Final Stretch. We are a jockey riding a horse named Holiday Expectations, high in the stirrups on the straightaway, whipping up momentum to carry us through to the finish. (And frankly at this point we don’t really care about winning, we just want to cross the line in one piece.)
And the last thing on our mind is quiet reflection.
Quiet reflection. [sigh]
An oasis. [ Big Sigh ]
A calm in the middle of the storm. [Big Sigh x 2]
A pipedream? [blink]
Our heart says:
Quiet reflection. Yes, this is what you need. This is what will set things right.
Our mind shouts:
This is not happening. Are you crazy? There is no time for this. There is way too much to do.
OK mind, HEAR THIS TRUTH:
You are too busy not to pray.
Now–In our busiest time– it is doubly important to stay committed to 30+ minutes a day connecting with God in solitude and silence.
God knows. (hellooooo. He IS GOD. He knows Everything.) He knows all the things on your to do list, and even some you forgot to write down. [Now don’t stop reading to start thinking about what these might be.] He knows what you expect of yourself and why, and what others (you think) expect of you. And He definitely knows your energy level and your limits usually MUCH better than you do.
He wants more for you, and less from you–less activity anyway. He wants different things. What he expects of you—what He is guiding you to do– is doable; it is less stressful, and way more fun. Jesus said
“Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
[Rest—doesn’t that sound wonderful?]
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NASB)
Take a minute and just breathe in those words:
“Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Remind yourself: There is plenty of time to do in this day what He would have me do, without rushing.
1. Find your to do list. Put everything you can think of on it.
2. Set it down (turn it over so you won’t keep glancing back at it), and pray:
Father I leave this list at Your feet. Please direct this day, and help me to know what you would have me do, what are the most important things. Direct this day. Thank you that you are within me, and will guide me in each step, including all the unexpected things that this day holds.
3. Get out a fresh page, and number it one to five. (No cheating – you can’t put for #2 “do everything on my other to do list.”)
1. 30+ minutes a day in God’s presence, soaking in His love, remembering His wisdom, seeking His guidance.
Father, thank You that there is plenty of time to do in this day what You would have me do.
- Thank you that you know my limitations of time and energy and endurance, even if/when I forget them.
- Thank You that You will lead me to do the most important things, and lay aside those that are less crucial (although they may seem most urgent right now.)
- Thank You that You accomplish what concerns me. That as I restore my soul in You, and fill up with Your presence, I fill up with Your peace and purpose and joy as well. I reclaim life, and reject worry and stress.
- Thank You that I only have one person to please in life—You–and what you want is simple: my love and trust.
- Thank You that You really do know what is best, and I can trust Your presence within me as You guide me this day.
- Thank You that I am protected by You, even from my own compulsions. Help me to remember to live in Your care, to dwell in the shelter of the Most High.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1 NASB)