As a neuropsychologist, I have spent decades problem-solving with patients. But, I’ve realized something about my problem-solving and doing mode. It excludes God from the process and takes Him out of the picture. As I sought Him, I learned what is now my best tip for how to relieve stress at Christmas and on a daily basis throughout the year.
Do you ever find your day being hijacked by something other than what you had planned? How do you respond?
That morning I woke up in extreme pain. I was frustrated.
I felt frustrated because I had planned to spend the day doing some Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, and attending to some of the holiday tasks that we all feel the need to engage in during the Christmas season. Yet it seemed that pain and nausea hijacked my plans for the day.
Time in God’s presence relieves stress
As I stilled my heart during morning quiet time with the Lord, He spoke to me and said, “You know what you’re struggling with is not something you battle just during the Christmas season. You have a tendency to jump into problem-solving and doing mode.”
The more God got a hold of my heart and spoke to me, the more I realized that my stress-inducing problem-solving and doing mode excluded God from the process. It takes God out of the picture.
The longer I sat in my quiet time and reflected on it, I thought about how as a neuropsychologist, I have spent decades problem-solving with patients. So that tendency is very well ingrained in me. The enemy can use that for my disadvantage. While the Lord can use that for good in my life, the enemy always tries to twist everything and use it for bad.
We can get so focused on the tasks, and on the problems, and even on the pain that we lose sight of what God wants. Spending time in God’s presence relieves stress.
The Lord gently reminded me of the well-known story in Luke 10:41-42, “But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.’”
Be in God’s presence and seek Him
As I considered the account of Martha’s struggle to keep her focus on what really mattered, one thing kept ringing true for me as I considered my recent health battle, the Christmas season, and trying to support my children through some of their challenges. The most important thing we can spend our time doing is not really doing at all but being in the Lord’s presence and seeking what He would have for us to do, to be, to say. When we do that, He’s going to show us the right priorities for the moment, for the day, for the week, because He knows best.
Prioritize spending time in God’s presence
I don’t know what you currently have on your plate. I don’t know if you’re up to your ears in wrapping paper and bows, or trying to keep the home plates spinning while caring for a loved one, or you are preparing for company coming into town, or some other pressing needs, but I would encourage you to let go and let God take control. Take the time to prioritize spending time in His presence. You’ll be surprised how the rest of your time goes so much more smoothly when you do.
A prayer that relieves stress at Christmas
May I pray for you?
Father, the Christmas season is a busy time for all of us. More to do, with no more time to do it. Father, will you help us to focus on what truly matters: spending time with you receiving our plans and priorities from you, and leaning in to you for strength for the tasks of the day. Father, let us not lose sight of the real reason we celebrate, but to focus our attention on the greatest gift that has ever and will ever be given: the gift of your son born on Christmas Day. Thank you Father for helping us to remember. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
3 Free Resources to Start Your Year Off Right
Out of my love and gratitude for you, I want to offer you three resources to look forward to in the new year.
Many years ago I was physically and emotionally failing and needed a reason to get up and optimistically face the day. I wrote my very first social media “Today is Going to be a Good Day” post to encourage not only myself but others as well. That became what has now been a seven-year daily ministry on social media, and the premise for my latest book, Today is Going to be a Good Day: 90 Promises From God to Start Your Day Off Right . I learned how important our mindset is, so I’m offering a free 7-Day Today is Going to be a Good Day Challenge. We’ll send you a daily encouraging email, short encouraging video with tips for helping you to have a good day, the offer to participate in a Facebook group for accountability and support if you desire, as well as freebies and giveaways. I hope you’ll join us. Register here.
I know the winter months following the hustle and bustle of the holidays can contribute to a higher incidence of the blues. So I want to offer a free webinar for you or your friends and loved ones, to share professional and personal insights on some things that can help you mitigate the blues even when you can’t change the finances, the weather, or some of your contributing relationships. It’s free to you. It’ll be a live event with a replay available for those who sign up but can’t attend live. Sign up now.
Readers have been asking me to lead an online version of the Hope Prevails Bible Study and God has spurred my heart to offer it in late January to help get through the winter months as we anticipate the joy of spring. I would love to have you join us, and perhaps even consider inviting a friend to join with you. Everything is better with a friend! I’ll be sharing more in future emails about the Bible study, but you can sign up here.
Friend, I pray that wherever you find yourself this holiday season, that you would experience that hope, peace, and joy that comes from having a relationship with Jesus!