Took the kids to the dentist, cleaned the kitchen, did the laundry…always laundry. Made the grocery list and screamed at the kids to clean their room and take out the trash.
It was only two days after Christmas and already back to the grind. Two days after the presents. Two days after family and friends gathered around our large farm table for the scripture reading of the birth of our Savior. Two days after the eating and the cooking and the celebrating. Only two days, and I long for Christmas to begin again.
Through the darkness of the night as I tucked my eight-year-old in his bed, he whispers, “Is Christmas over?”
My worn-out self-answered back, “Yes.”
“So everything will pretty much be normal tomorrow?” he murmured.
I know that feeling. Every year after Christmas I struggle with the sad feeling of not wanting the wonder and anticipation to end. Even in the mist of the chaos of wrapping, buying, decorating, and preparing, we all enjoy the joy and anticipation December brings.
Every year when Christmas comes to a close, I fight wanting to return to “normal.” I feel as if a dam is released and my heart begins to flood with emotion. Many tears are usually shed, and I ache to escape this “normal” I seem to live. It’s as if the holidays somehow mask the ache, and deep down I yearn to experience Christmas all year long.
You can want to change the world and find meaning within the normal. You can want to live a life worthy of the call and rest in God’s love. You can want to be present and make every moment count. But life happens, time slips away, and you forget you were made for more.
As the years pass on, I am beginning to believe the more is found right smack in the middle of “normal.” We can experience more of God in the midst of everyday life. In the midst of changing diapers, cleaning floors, driving kids, and yes even in the midst of piles of laundry. Encountering God in the middle of our “normal” allows our hearts to experience the joy and wonder of Christmas all year long.
Christmas Eve, I stayed up late reading by the twinkling of the lights from the tree, savoring the silence and journaling thoughts of the coming year. A whole year can escape us before we even know it.
I write the word “Be.” A word the Lord had dropped in my spirit earlier in the week for the coming year. For the past two years, I have asked the Lord for one word to encompass the upcoming year. The last two years he has given me the same word, “Rest.”
As I write these two simple letters, He speaks to my heart…”Be who I created you to be. Be present. Be aware of me. Don’t be afraid to experience all of me, and stop trying to win my approval because I am already head-over-heels in love with you.”
Fear struck my heart as he spoke these words. Deep down I am afraid I am not enough and just being isn’t sufficient for the world that asks so much.
Afraid of just being…
The truth is, God wants the intimacy of our friendship and His love is the one thing capable of freeing us from our fears. He wants us just the way we are. God sees us through the eyes of love, so we never have to perform.
“Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God” Genesis 5:22.
“Walking in close fellowship with God,” are the words used to describe Enoch in the entire Bible.
Makes me believe the point of our existence comes down to one simple truth: to have close fellowship with God, not to just obtain lofty goals. The point is that we get to be with God himself even through the difficult times.
What if we walked into 2017 with the goal to maintain fellowship with God?
I wonder if there is more to it than just believing in God, what if we also need to understand, in the marrow of who we are, that He believes in us and desires to have fellowship with us? Believing He is in our corner rooting us on and He’s got out back when times are difficult.
For me, living out the everyday life of “normal” in 2017 starts with believing that He believes in me. When you think he believes in you, you can begin to unravel your true self and experience more of Him in a profound way.
This year, instead of being filled with dread that the holidays are over, let’s be filled with anticipation and joy of the coming year! Let’s be excited to unwrap what God has prepared. Let’s just be.
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The Joy of the Lord is My Strength.