Overload

“Christmas Quiet” captures me.

“Christmas Chaos” threatens me at every turn.

quiet pathWhich will it be this year? Quiet or Chaos? Probably both. This month’s posts are dedicated to the pause and ponder we all long for deep within. These devotional thoughts are a book-in-the-making, a writing adventure with a very dear friend who makes me laugh hard, dream big and click the spell-check button Beth from Kansas—you have spoken life-giving words to me for years. I love you and thank God for you. May these musings we’ve written on overload, oasis and silence be a blessing to you and yours.

What wreaks havoc in the typical home? Anger. Anxiety. The TV remote? No, it’s time – actually the lack of time. There’s never enough, and overload is unraveling our homes, our hearts and our hunger for God.

When asked, “How are you?” our answer is no longer “Fine,” but “Busy.” It’s the badge of honor we wear as Christians. We’re loving the Lord, caring for our families, serving our corner of the world. But far from running the race with joy, we’re sputtering along on a dangerously depleted tank. Deep within we silently whisper, “Is this all there is?” Then December arrives with a “To Do” list a mile long, and we crumble under mounting expectations. Sweet images of Christmas quiet are crushed under the weight of Christmas chaos.

Mary and Joseph knew the burden of overload. I can hear Mary’s whispered panic, her face streaked with silent tears. “Census? Bethlehem? Now? Joseph, my time is near.” First century travel was grueling and dangerous in the best circumstances. Add to that swollen ankles, an aching back and mounting fear. “Who will be there to deliver this child?” Overwhelming situations take a toll. So does everyday life.

What effect is overload having on you? When was the last time you laughed out loud? Had a refreshing night’s sleep? Enjoyed a guilt-free afternoon of fun? Has your heart forgotten how to sing, overwhelmed by the weight of visible and invisible burdens?

Jesus knew pressure. Crowds were relentless, meals missed. In sheer exhaustion, He slept through driving wind and waves. Jesus knew overload, but He was also well acquainted with soul restoring rest. He slipped away to quiet places with His Father. Jesus was a man of rhythm, and He invites us to follow His lead.

Accept his invitation to slip away to a quiet away from the chaos. Pause with your Lord and Savior as you begin your journey toward the Bethlehem manger. This quiet will not dismiss the chaos, but it will redirect your heart into the presence of the One who quiets racing minds and stills quaking hearts.

May the peace and power of quiet, infused into the chaos of Christmas, make your journey to Bethlehem the best one yet.

Take a moment now to plan a few ways in which you’ll meet Christ on a quiet path to Christmas this year. Share your ideas in the comments below!

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6 thoughts on “Overload

  1. You words still my heart and bring me peace. I can imagine Mary and Joseph and I cry for them both. Outcasts. Why, in their hometown, was there no place to stay? Why was there no family to witness this birth? Oh, how I cry for this child. For 700 years this prophecy had been believed, but, no, not really. We take this by faith, but what about God’s promises to us? Do we believe? No, not really. I will supply…financially, physically, emotionally, relationally. When!? How!? Oh, Father, forgive us! Isn’t that what all our busy chaos is all about. Trying to make happen what God has said was His job. I look for a Christmas miracle, but it’s not under the tree or in the lights. And I’m sorry, but I’m tired singing. It’s another thing on my to do list. Rejoice. Sure! And that’s going to happen when? But I read your words and the Spirit slows me down and the peace that God has promised comes. And I know that I will experience a Christmas miracle….around me? Probably not. In me? Oh, yes! In ME!

    • Praying for that Christmas miracle righter there with you, Betty.
      Your words, “Trying to make happen what God has said was His job.”
      Ahhh. There is rest to discover in that truth.
      Do you know Run Hard. Rest Well. is on facebook? I’ve never gone that
      route until this journey began with Josh. I share little snippets on that
      every so often. Are you on facebook?
      Peace my friend as we watch and wait for that Christmas miracle within.

  2. I am a Christian counselor who teaches others to slow down and take care of themselves. As an anxious person myself, I remind myself to listen to my own advice. God is teaching me about sinking into rest. This blog is part of that journey. I remind myself of at least one truth He has taught me and I slowly repeat it aloud and to myself and let His truth lighten my burdens. Jesus told us that truth would set us free. And it does.

    • Suzanna,
      The Truth sets us free and gives us wings. There is power in words spoken out loud. Thank you. I need an out loud voice these days. This practice was most present in my life during the recovery phase of one of our son’s spinal cord surgeries. The nerve pain in his legs was grueling and came in waves every few hours round the clock for almost 8 weeks. God’s truth was whispered through clenched teeth week after week and through it and by it, was ushered into His Presence. It anchored me when all there was, was anguish. Suzanna, thanks for your companionship. Onward!

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