The holidays are upon us. It’s a time for reflection, celebration, and laughter with friends and family. It can also be a time of overspending, overindulgence, and over-commitment which leave us feeling more stressed than blessed.

So why do we fall into the same trap every year? Who really wants to wake up to the new year feeling toxic, exhausted, and buried under the weight of it all?

What if this year were different?

Right here, right now, we have some choices to make. We have to ask ourselves, what do I want my holidays to look like this year? How do I want to feel when another holidays season is behind me? And when has over-doing anything ever been good for my soul?

As someone who’s battled chronic health issues, I’ve had to be extra careful with my choices because they impact me on a deeper level than most. But the battle has left me stronger; it’s forced me to focus more intently on what really matters; it’s reminded me that my choices have consequences.

Picture yourself on the first day of the new year. You look back over the past two months and you smile. You enjoyed great fellowship with those you love. You sat by the Christmas tree, read of Christ’s birth from the gospel of Luke, and enjoying some time just soaking in God’s presence. You served the homeless or delivered a gift basket to a shut in. You worked-out hard, broke a sweat, and woke up the next morning feeling refreshed. You enjoyed a few treats, but you said no at times too, and you’re proud of yourself for exercising some restraint. Your calendar had a healthy balance to it. You enjoyed a few parties, but you also made plans not to have plans and that worked well for you. You worked a little harder this year to stay on budget, and now, you’re thanking God for the wisdom of that good work. You look ahead to the new year and you decide you want more of the same: deeper times of rest in God’s presence, greater times of reflection with the ones you love, intense times of exercise because God wired you to move, and profound times of service because God’s heart beats in your chest.

What if this year were different?

Recently on Middays with Susie Larson, I spoke with Dr. Troy Spurrill about God’s invitation to enjoy healthy holidays and a healthy life this year.

I developed an acronym that may help ground you in God’s grace as you navigate this holiday season:

REST

R – Remember and rest in the goodness of God. Rehearsing God’s faithfulness will strengthen your soul.

E – Engage mind, body, and spirit. Read something that inspires you, exercise more than you normally do, set aside time to be with God, listen for His voice and read His Word.

S – Steward what God has entrusted to you. Studies have shown that generous, thoughtful people have stronger immune systems and a more joyful perspective.

T – Trust God with the stuff that normally stresses you; enjoy Him, enjoy the season, enjoy your loved ones.

Jesus came to earth to set captives free. He is the Prince of Peace and the God of all Comfort. He never asked us to grind our gears to the point of exhaustion. He asks us to believe Him, to trust Him.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

This year can be different. May this be for you, your most blessed and restful holiday season yet.

Download the Rest acronym graphic here!

A blessed, restful holiday season

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