Anxiety and stress are common feelings we all experience. Many of our members tell us they lean on Abide prayers to help them through their anxiety. This post is part 2 of our "Overcoming Stress" blog series. In this 5 part series, we address common circumstances that can cause stress and how to successfully handle them. To read part 1 of this blog series, read Overcoming Stress: How To Deal With Work-Related Anxiety (Part 1 of 5)
This week, Shannon Owen writes a reflective piece on how she manages holiday stress.
I love Hallmark Christmas movies. Especially the ones with Candace Cameron Bure. (I think she’s adorable, and I also really liked Full House.)
In a Hallmark Christmas movie, the decorations are either already hung or they are putting the finishing touches on a small piece of garland. Also, it usually takes place in some quaint small town named Holiday or Cookie Jar. The weather is always cold enough to need puffy coats and scarves, but never cold enough to see frosty breath.
In a word, Hallmark Christmas movies are perfect. I have to remind myself that these movies aren't real life. Not everything situation has a pretty bow tied on top. After being a mom for a few years, it’s easy to see that that sort of perfection is unattainable.
However, lines are becoming blurred between reality and fantasy. Especially when I see the perfect family pictures, the beautifully decorated homes, the social media reports of elaborate holiday outings, and the presents all wrapped by December 1.
My to-do list grows with presents to buy, things to decorate, and places to go. And I ask myself if it’s enough. Creative enough, beautiful enough, festive enough, spiritual enough? Just enough.
I Ask Myself: Am I Enough?
While holiday stress can come because of an endless list of activities, the common problem stems from within. I have to feel that I'm good enough. I can feel responsible for everyone's Christmas experience. For my daughters to be happy and excited on Christmas day. For my husband to enjoy the time with his family. If I'm enough, then they'll enjoy myself, right? I ask myself- "Am I enough?"
And when I dive into that question and look within myself, I come up empty. By myself, I make holes and I leave loose ends.
But, if I dive into that question and look to my God, I find grace. I turn to the Scriptures, which is ancient and true. These scriptures re-focus my perspective better than any wise old elf in a Hallmark movie
“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5
With My God, I Am Enough And He Wastes Nothing.
So, I put aside my vain attempts at perfection and follow the commands of Scripture. I ask my God to rid my heart of a competitive spirit and instead fill it with love. Over and over again, I will ask Him to show me how to check those to-do list boxes with a spirit of love for others.
No matter what happens this Christmas season- what gifts are bought or which people are happy- I have to remind myself. I AM ENOUGH.
How do you re-focus your spirit during the hustle of the Christmas season?