Learning to Nurture my Soul
In November, 1994, the birth of Jesus was relegated to simple moments and family gatherings for us while we celebrated the birth of our second daughter. We didn’t put up a Christmas tree that year. Instead, we took pictures in front of our neighbor’s tree. When they left for a Christmas break trip, they gave us the tree, ornaments and all. With new-mom exhaustion and a bout of pneumonia, nurturing my babies and my health left little time for baking or decorating.
My motto, “Do everything perfectly and please everyone,” needed a rewrite: “Do what you can.”
When the holidays passed, I realized that nothing important had suffered, and I had learned an important lesson about nurturing my soul.
More Lessons about Nurturing my Soul
Fast forward to December, 1997. Our family welcomed a son. I had been sick most of the pregnancy, taking medication for nausea and vomiting. Christmas still came to our house that year because my husband shopped and wrapped and decorated the tree.
Two years later, when our family lived in Denver, Colorado, we relished the extra time that we had during the holiday even though we missed holiday celebrations with family. On Christmas day, we stayed in our pajamas and watched movies.
Those years taught me to slow down and contemplate the season’s special moments and make memories with my children.
Taming Holiday Pressures
Taking care of everyone is a daily, full-time job for any woman, but holiday pressures can tip the scales for me. Christmas preparations have the potential to turn me into a stressed-out, holiday-hating ogre. Thankfully, we don’t have to hide in a closet for a month to maintain our sanity. Before you find yourself hyperventilating this December, follow these three tips to nurture your soul.
Each day, I name the gifts that Jesus has given me and thank Him for them. I practice gratitude while I’m doing laundry, driving to the grocery, or sipping a cup of coffee. Read some thoughts about gratitude here. Besides thanking Jesus for His gifts, I try to express my gratitude to the people in my life. I thank them for helping me or listening to me. The gift loving and gracious words will stay with them long after other gifts have been discarded or used up.
Do less and rest more.
Living with exhaustion and “too much to do” has taught me to adjust my expectations and make difficult decisions about my time. Learning how to rest, as a priority, hasn’t been easy for me. I wrote about it here. Even when I don’t feel like I have enough to give to everyone and everything, Jesus is enough.
Nurture your soul with God’s word.
An hour of meditative quiet everyday falls into the luxury category. Remember the kid who gave his lunch to Jesus, and Jesus turned it into a feast for 5000 other people? He will take your little bit and make it enough. Each day, give Him a few minutes. Read one verse, and think about it the rest of the day or as you go to sleep. Christmas is rooted in the good news that Jesus is with us. Everyday. Every moment. These thoughts about grace will encourage you.
Here’s a gift for you.
During the month of December, I’m offering Led: Learning to Listen and Follow for $9.99. That’s a $5 savings.
Led contains 30 readings, one for each day this month, and each reading is 400 words or less (read this sample). Every day in December, Led will bring Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to the forefront amidst the busyness of this season.
Follow this link to purchase it.