Putting the Happy back into the Holidays…3 steps to staying fully present

Happy in the Holiday - Header

“Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing…. Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.”

Did she read my mind? I asked myself as I read from Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Where You Are.

Angela’s To Do List (Daily):
Time with God
Exercise
Intentional service & words – Mark, Austin, & Bret
Blog-writing
Promote Give Good Award Nominations
Prepare for Imperfect Wives LIVE
NWMN to-do list (The job I get paid for)
Blackboard learning post…
Clean one area of house
Laundry
Feed people who live in or visit my home
Run kids to activities

Welcome to my world. I am confident that my world doesn’t look much different than yours. In fact, you probably have some things to add to this to-do list. An aging parent, twins, a husband that travels, your volunteer commitments. Thus, why Ann Voskamp’s book hit a cord with so many women around the world and became a New York Times #1 Seller.

Women are talented and capable, able to wear many hats and juggle many balls in the air at once. Basically, I think women are AMAZING! But if you are like me, and find it hard to stay present in the chaos of daily routine, it may seem even harder when you toss in the holiday season, with all of its bells, whistles, and expectations. You may end up hurried instead of happy, racing for the finish line of Christmas day, That is no fun!

Here are 3 ways to help both of us stay present and put the happy back in the holidays!

Be attentive to God-

The practice of the presence of God, letters, by Brother Lawrence is one of my favorite books on the subject of being attentive to God. Brother Lawrence reminds us that we do not have to be in church to have a relationship with God – we can make our hearts a prayer room (a portable sanctuary) into which we retire into at any time to converse with our loving, compassionate and grace filled God. You and I can practice this in the course of your daily routine – vacuuming, driving children, and even during a business meeting.

“We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.” Brother Lawrence

Be attentive to ourselves

Why do we apologize for being tired? Why is the most common response to the question, How are you? Busy. There is a reason scripture says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). God understands our performance tendencies, our need for approval, and our need for control. God wants to remind us that He has everything covered, even if we do nothing.

Listen to these words of Jesus, Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28 Message).

Give yourself permission to rest. You will never be able to be present with others until you take care of yourself and your relationship with God first.

Be attentive to others-

Distraction is one of the primary battles we will fight when it comes to being attentive to God, ourselves, and others. There is always something to see, hear, or do. An immediate response is demanded by our phones, the bell that tells us we have more emails or the 24 notifications on our Facebook page that pop up every time you sign in.

In the book, The Examined Life – Stephen Grosz said “Being present, whether with children, with friends, or even with oneself, is hard work. But isn’t this attentiveness — the feeling that someone is trying to think about us — something we want more than praise?” Isn’t this the truth!

My friend, you and I were designed to experience the joy and magic of this season. Let’s make this year different and turn the hurry of the season into magical memories by being present with God, ourselves, and others.

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For more tips on how to Put Happy Back into the Holidays, watch the IMPERFECT WIVES LIVE series weekly thru December on Thursday mornings, 8am PST or 11am EST.

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