Protecting Your Peace This Holiday Season
The holiday season is upon us. The holidays bring a multitude of emotions. Many, especially our kids, think of this time of year as magical. Time away from work or school, more time with family, gift-giving and gift-receiving, cooler weather, and delicious foods. For some of us, the holidays bring more than heart-warming moments. It brings unwanted feelings that linger underneath the surface from holiday to holiday.
For me, the holidays were stressful. I worried about all the details of where we will be and when. I am a planner, so I want to know months ahead of time what will be in store. I want everything to be perfect – the gifts, the moments spent together, the crafts, the traditions. And all the get-togethers spent worrying about all the thoughts and feelings of everyone in the room and hoping my kids were well behaved.
The holidays are different for everyone. Maybe the holidays bring back painful memories from the past, a reminder of a loved one’s absence, a stressful season with difficult people, another holiday spent working, missing out on moments due to your mental health, or a recent move away from everyone you love. A hope for each of us this holiday season is God’s peace.
In moments of turmoil, God’s peace can feel out of reach. The emotions, fears, and circumstances out of our control feel heavy enough to keep us drowning in the chaos around us. I, myself, am guilty of this. When my mind focuses on fear, I start connecting the dots. Sending myself further and further down a rabbit hole of worry. What we need at this moment is to protect our peace, but what does that look like?
Finding the presence of God in our present moment.
“I can never escape from your Spirit!
“I can never get away from your presence!”
Psalm 139:7 NLT
We are never separated from the presence of the Lord. We may feel lost, forgotten, or alone, but if we search for His presence we will find Him. The soft spoken encouragement from a child, the tender hand of a loved one, the warm embrace of a friend, or a gentle reminder of His faithfulness. He is everywhere, and He is using those around us to speak to us. As believers, God is living within us, so He is directing our path and our thoughts, if we are willing. In that moment of need, find Him, search for Him with all your heart, and He will be found.
Hiding scripture in our heart.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.”
“I am greatly afflicted;
Renew and revive me [giving me life],
O Lord, according to Your word.”
Psalm 119: 105,107 AMP
This transplants me to VBS reciting the Pledge to the Bible. Scripture is the living Word of God. “May [we] make it a lamp unto our feet, a light unto [our] path, and hide its words in [our] heart that [we] may not sin against God.” Can we do that, friend? Can we allow His Word to be a light of hope in the emotions bottled up in our heart? Can we surrender the pain or anxiety that is gripping a firm tightness in our chest? When we hide His Word in our heart, we secure a place for the Word of God to speak, plant a seed, take root, and create a harvest in our life and in the lives of others around us.
Remind ourselves that God is for us.
“I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]”
Philippians 4:13 AMP
This holiday season, we are not parenting alone. We are not dealing with difficult people alone. We are not grieving the loss around us alone. We are not alone – you are not alone. I included the Amplified version of this popular verse to emphasize – “through Him who strengthens and empowers me.” We hold absolutely no power on our own. Our power is through Christ Jesus. Whatever situation you are facing or will be facing, you can say these words – “I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.” There is absolutely nothing that you will face that God has not equipped you for. You are helpless and in desperate need of a Savior, but by His hands you are more than a conqueror. He is for you, so who can be against you?
Leaving zero room for doubt.
“Now may the Lord of peace Himself grant you His peace at all times and in every way [that peace and spiritual well-being that comes to those who walk with Him, regardless of life’s circumstances]. The Lord be with you all.”
2 Thessalonians 3:16 AMP
When we leave room for doubt, we leave room for the enemy to work. He will attack our thoughts, our feelings, our heart, and our mind. The peace and spiritual well-being we need to leave zero room for doubt, is in the way we walk with Him. We have to be faithful to lean into His presence, pray the needs and burdens of our heart, read His Word and meditate on it, and rejoice over Him with song. Make it a point every day, multiple times a day, to walk with Him. When we leave the enemy with zero room, we leave zero room for doubt.
Leaning on God and not ourselves.
“I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying,
for he speaks peace to his faithful people.
But let them not return to their foolish ways.”
Psalm 85:8 NLT
There are so many voices around us to listen to, but the only voice we should be trusting is God’s. In the Amplified version it says,” I listen [with expectant hope]”. The way we should listen for the voice of our Lord should not be wavering or uncertain, but filled with expectant hope. We are expecting hope in His words, His presence, His action, and in His time. The voices around us, and our own, can lead us to defeat, discouragement, and let us down. But, the voice of the Lord speaks peace to us as believers. Are we actively searching His voice, our own, or someone else’s?
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:37-39 NIV
Lastly, there is nothing this holiday season will bring that is able to separate us from the love of God. Protect your peace – the peace of God – in your heart and life this season. You are a shining light for His Kingdom. You can shine in the midst of pain, even if it feels like you are shining just in your own darkness. He is there, friend. He sees your pain, and He welcomes you with loving, understanding, and faithful arms. Whether this season is hard for you, or for someone you love, let’s all lean into the peace that only He can give us.
Until next time, Laura
Laura Spurlin is a nurse who boxed up her scrubs to be a stay-at-home-mama to her two kiddos. In this season of motherhood, her anxiety hit a soaring peak and her depression hit a deep low. With this battle came a stronger, deeper, and more surrendering (on her end) relationship with Christ, and a love for writing what He places on her heart about mothering, marriage, and mental health.
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