The holidays are coming… are you ready?
The answer depends on who you’re talking to.
If it’s just an acquaintance, you may answer courteously.
But, if you talk to a soul friend — someone who you trust — you might begin to confide how you’re really doing. Inside.
Are you stressing out about what will or won’t be happening?
Or maybe you’re so excited with anticipation — filled with dreams — imagining the memories you want to create.
But you’re not sure how it will all turn out…
…I can’t wait. This year is special but overwhelming. How am I going to get everything done in time?
…I’m not sure what we’ll be doing. The plans are up in the air/falling apart.
…I love the holidays. But, I’m longing for something special with God and my family this year.
Maybe you’ve numbed yourself to the holidays because you’re soul-weary.
Perhaps you’re like me, wanting to do something different this year.
I want to start some new traditions for my family, but I’m not sure what it will look like. In the past, I’ve dealt with a lot of dysfunctional family drama.
But, two years ago, when my panic attacks began, I decided to create some space to prioritize my well-being, so I could heal. As I saw the impact that fear and guilt had done to me growing up, I wanted to keep my children safe from those effects.
I wanted to begin learning what it means to really enjoy the holidays in my heart — instead of just surviving them.
Feeling a Desire
My friend Merrianne adopted our family on Thanksgiving the last couple years — which was such a gift to me, Eric and our kids — to enjoy a new spiritual family experience.
But this year, I’ve been feeling a desire to create our own family traditions.
However it turns out, I want it to be a soulful Thanksgiving. Meaningful and personal.
But I know I’ll never create new holiday memories with my husband and two little boys, if we don’t give ourselves permission to create the space for us.
This takes a lot of soul work — following God to create new things.
It takes a lot of emotional strength. It can feel scary breaking from the past.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Jesus — how he created a new way of celebrating the Passover that night before Gethsamane. How Jesus was single, far away from home.
I imagine Jesus creating new memories, as he lifted the cup and the bread with his untraditional family, calling them his brothers.
I imagine Jesus loving them, washing their feet — breaking social norm — as the servant, not as the teacher.
Jesus was always doing things that were off script.
Jesus was untraditionally soul-led and Spirit-filled.
Before The Spaces Fill
Jesus took time to really be present — to enjoy every moment — even though He knew sorrow awaited him.
I’m not sure how the holidays will end up, but I know as long as Jesus is with me, I can create new memories with my family and Him.
So, wherever you are on the journey this holiday, I have a challenge for you.
Before all the spaces on your calendar gets filled and crammed with other’s expectations — including your own — along with what the media, the culture, the retail advertisements, and our past tells us we must have in order to have a good holidays — stop.
Instead of working off of a shopping list or a to do list first, mark off some time to feed your soul and those you love.
I’d like to challenge you to mark off time on your calendar for:
1. Yourself (allow God to touch you)
2. You and your husband.
3. You and your child.
4. You and your family.
5. You and a girlfriend (or a couple of girlfriends).
That is what I do at the beginning of every month or the close of a month.
It doesn’t have to be big. It could be very small.
The important thing is this: be intentional.
Then, whatever time you spend will be infused with your heart.
Prioritize feeding your soul. Then, you’ll be energized– from within — to do all the wonderful preparations that makes the holidays so memorable.
It will no longer be a chore. It will be a joy. A peace.
The holidays will be filled love.
A Holiday Challenge From the Redwoods
The Christian Broadcasting Network of The 700 Club — asked me to videotape a challenge for readers to slow down and hear God during the busy holiday season.
Today, I’d like to share this new video challenge with you! Click below to watch the video.
What are your hopes for the holidays?
Pull up a Chair. Click to share a comment.
An Online Spiritual Whitespace Face(Book) Club
in January 2015
To kick off the new year refreshed,
I will hosting a bookclub on Facebook to read Finding Spiritual Whitespace together.
Just like my Facebook Page to participate! Details at www.thebonniegray.com/bookclub.
Host a book club in real life.
If you feel prompted, invite 1-4 friends to read the book together.
Here is a picture of the girls I invited to create a “beta” Whitespace Book Club before the book released. So you see, it’s been “proofed” and reader approved! The girls didn’t know each other when we began. Now, we’re kindreds.
Sign up at http://bit.ly/bookclubhost.