Tips to Find Peace in the Midst of Holiday Chaos
By Edie Melson
I believe we can find some inspiration from birds on how to deal with difficult seasons and find peace in the midst of holiday chaos. All birds go through seasons of molting—definitely a ruffly time of life. This is when their old, damaged feathers are replaced with new ones. It’s a natural part of a bird’s life. But the process isn’t pretty.
Some birds lose their feathers in a pattern. God designed them that way so they’d remain aerodynamic enough to fly. Other birds, like many waterfowl, lose all their feathers at once and are grounded until the new feathers grow back.
I think a chaotic season can be a lot like molting for birds. It’s what I refer to as a season of spiritual molting. God pulls out the old and unhealthy feathers and replaces them with new stronger quills. At times He even strands us in a certain place or time, forcing us to stay put as we wait for the new growth to take over and enable us to once again fly strong. He never strands us alone, however. Or without reason. We can know because of the character and nature of our God that He never wastes a ruffle. Not one.
Things to Do When We’re Stranded in a Ruffling Season like Holiday Chaos
1. Give Thanks.
Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (HCSB). Notice what the scripture says—GIVE thanks. It does not say FEEL thankful. Thanksgiving is an act of obedience. I’ve found that searching for something to feel thankful for is an exercise that brings me closer to God, even if it’s something I do NOT want to be thankful for.
That happened to me when my best friend and her daughter were murdered. . . by her husband (who was also her daughter’s father). No, I wasn’t thankful for her murder. But I was thankful she was finally free of the abuse we hadn’t known she suffered at his hands. I was thankful for the ways the situation gave me the opportunity to speak my faith on national TV. And I was thankful for the way it impacted my prayer life.
2. Count it all Joy.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 (ESV). This is another verse where we have to focus on what the Bible actually says instead of what we assume it means. It says COUNT it joy, not FEEL joyful. There’s a world of difference between the two. The first is an act of obedience, the second is an emotion.
As I researched this verse, God revealed some pretty awesome truth. The word count—in the Greek—is actually an accounting term. It means we should take difficult circumstances and put them in the plus column of our lives, instead of the negative or debit side of life.
At first glance, that seems wrong. I’d always viewed difficult circumstances as draining because they took things away from me, so I assumed they were a debit in my life. I’d never paid attention to what they added to my life.
- They give me the opportunity to see God at work in ways I’d miss if everything was easy.
- They allow me to grow. Easy situations don’t do much for me when it comes to stretching and growing.
- They strengthen my faith.
3. Seek God.
Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13 (NASB). Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite verse for many people—a life-verse even. But I think we stop too soon in that passage. As wonderful as it is to read that God has blessings for us, I think it’s even more life-sustaining to grab onto the promises found in verses 12-13.
It’s also important to understand the circumstances surrounding this set of verses. The Israelites were in exile, and Jeremiah was confronting the false prophet, Hananiah. Hananiah claimed God was going to free the nation from Babylon in two years. God didn’t bring freedom on Hananiah’s time-table and commanded Jeremiah to set the record straight. God had a different plan for Israel. He was teaching them to flourish in the midst of suffering. He was promising the ability to thrive in the midst of difficult situations.
During ruffled times, it’s easy to quit seeking God. We choose the easy path during times of stress—understandably so. And we often just go through the spiritual motions because any kind of depth is just too hard and our energy is depleted. When this happens, I know it’s time to spend what energy I have seeking God. He is the source—the well-spring of energy. When I connect more deeply with Him, His power floods my spirit.
In this post, Edie shares tips on caring for your soul and finding peace in the midst of holiday chaos.
Books in the Soul Care Series
Soul Care When You’re Weary by Edie Melson
Soul Care for Writers by Edie Melson
Soul Care When You’re Grieving (releasing January 2020)
Soul Care When You’re an Empty Nester (releasing August 2020)
Unruffled: Thriving in Chaos by Edie Melson and Rhonda Rhea
Breaking Anxiety’s Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises by Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Breaking Anxiety’s Grip free study guide
Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression by Dr. Michelle Bengtson, winner of the Christian Literary Award Reader’s Choice Award
Hope Prevails Bible Study by Dr. Michelle Bengtson, winner of the Christian Literary Award Reader’s Choice Award
About Edie Melson
Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers experiencing life through the lens of her camera. No matter whether she’s talking to readers, fellow creatives, or writers, her first advice is always “Find your voice, live your story.” As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives.
Edie has this to say about her heritage, “I’m creative out of self-defense. As the daughter of an artist-mother and musician-turned-photographer-father, I’d have been a disgrace if I hadn’t been true to my own creativity.”
Edie’s a popular speaker and a board member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, and the social media director of Southern Writers Magazine. Connect with her on her website, www.EdieMelson.com and through Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
She and husband Kirk have been married 38+ years and raised three sons. They live in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in SC where they love to hike and wander the mountains.