saying no to the lies of Christmas

photo-1423477491197-ec2f29ac4d6bBed time with kids… Do I need to say more?

Our oldest, as long as he doesn’t accidentally fall asleep during the day, will fall asleep within minutes at bedtime.

The three year old? Yeah, not so much. Nap, no nap – doesn’t seem to matter. She’s up, piling books and shoes and hats into her bed. She has to pee. She needs a drink. Her blankets aren’t on right. She didn’t give me a hug and a kiss! It is straight up painful.

And I mean, I need her to go to bed so that I can also go to bed. But it’s even more so for her sake. I know that she has to wake up early for school the next day, and we start a very horrible cycle of not enough sleep.

We often say that kids don’t know how good they have it. How many of us would be willing to take a nap in the middle of the day now!? Yes, please.

But when we are given the chance to rest, do we take it? For real. I’m not talking about a nap in the middle of the day. I’m talking every day choices. Instead, we fill our week nights and weekends so much that we aren’t home for 10 days in a row. We kill ourselves to attempt to have a clean house, so we never sit down. We know that a clean house with kids is an illusion, right?

The Christmas season just heightens all of it. The work, the busyness, the exhaustion, the never-enough-hours-in-the-day mentality. The unrealistic expectations that we place on ourselves of doing it all. Of having homemade desserts for every function, enough perfect gifts for everyone so that no one feels left out. Having your house perfectly decorated. Getting it all done in time.

I’m not saying all of these things are bad.

I’m just asking –

How are you?

No, for real. Because as I’ve begun to make rest a priority in my own heart, I’m amazed at the places I let unrealistic expectations take up residency in me. The idol that I allowed busyness and exhaustion to become. If I wasn’t falling down at the end of the day, well then I must not have done enough. And whenever God would slow me down without my approval, I just got irritated.

Today, I had plans to get some stuff done. And last minute, I was stuck at home all day with no car. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s harder than you think with little people. I began to wonder how I would have responded several months ago. I would have for sure been angry. And stressed. Because I am very important and have lots to do.

Instead, I made the choice to see it as a gift. Brady and I put on our bathrobes and watched a Christmas movie. We played catch. I cleaned my floors.

Christmas is an incredible time to be with family. To be a part of some magic and lights and everything else that comes with. But we will absolutely miss it all unless we stop. The lies that have come with Christmas is that busyness and exhaustion have to be a part. But our lives will pass us by and we will never have enough unless we realize we were never made to be enough. The more we push, and press, and run ourselves into the ground, the worse everything gets.

Our God gave us His gift of Sabbath, of rest, of a pause. He knew we wouldn’t ever stop unless He made it a command. And even then, we constantly ignore it.

What happens when we pause? I’m not talking plopping on your couch to scroll through email or Instagram. I’m talking an intentional position of your heart, rest for your soul, to remind yourself that God is God and you are not. What happens?

We are reminded of God’s love, His grace, and His sovereignty. 

When is the last time you’ve stopped and said to God –

“I’m choosing right now to not try to do it all on my own strength. God, you are good and kind and the way you love me is way beyond what I deserve. I recognize that You are sovereign. I trust that you can do more than I could if I kept pushing through on my own.”

Rest is putting your phone down.

Rest is waking up early to be with God.

Rest is saying no to that thing that drains you.

Rest is not responding to every single text message immediately.

Rest is surrendering your sick family member back to God.

Rest is a conscious decision to not spend anymore.

Rest is gratitude.

Rest is being present.

We’ve limited the ways that God can refuel us. In our minds, we make ourselves believe that because He is enough, we can run until we’re empty and it won’t catch up to us. God’s design is that we would pause before we’re depleted. Before we are out of space to love those around us.

I know you’re tired. I know you don’t even know how any pause is possible. But don’t believe the lies. Don’t get caught up in these next few weeks that you have to be stressed and exhausted. Don’t believe the whisper of the world that things other than the presence of God will fulfill you.

Don’t spin your wheels resisting the very thing you need. God’s inviting you to more… through choosing less.

“In returning and rest you shall be saved. In quietness and confident trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

 

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