December. The month of crazy. At least that’s how it feels to me. My to-do list is never ending, there’s a party every weekend, and the church duties keep piling up. Not to mention my two little ones who are being bombarded by how our society views Christmas while I desperately try to turn their eyes toward Jesus.
The struggle is real. Come January, I feel a great sense of relief mixed with exhaustion. Every year I tell myself it’s going to be better; it’s going to be easier. And somehow it never is.
But not this year. This year I am taking action. Here are some practical steps I am taking to achieve the balance for which I have been longing.
Plan Ahead (church music, parenting, personal time with Jesus…)
This may seem obvious, but planning ahead is crucial to gaining more balance during the holiday season.
As the Worship Leader, my goal is to pick all of the December music in October. I spend November ironing out vocal parts and writing chord charts. It always feels like SO MUCH MUSIC. The only way I survive, is by focusing on one song per week leading up to December.
As a mom, it’s a huge deal to me for my kiddos to hear a LOT about the real Christmas story. This year, I picked out a fabulous advent e-book, The Truth In The Tinsel. The great thing about this book is, every day, my boys are hearing scripture and creatively focusing on a different aspect of Jesus’ birth. It doesn’t take much time, and I won’t get to the end of December wondering if my kids heard the name Jesus or Santa more often.
As wives and women, we have to desperately guard our time with our Savior and our time with our spouse. If you’re like me, you already have time in your day to get in God’s Word. But when the busy season starts, it’s easy to give into the tiredness and sleep in an extra few minutes skipping our Bible time. One way I protect this time is by picking out a special devotion or Bible reading plan just for December. This helps me get excited and stick to my plan. Don’t forget your spouse!! Plan out specific time to be with your husband. Even if it’s just some nights spent vegging out watching TV. Planning time with our loved one shows that even during the busiest time of the year, he is still a top priority.
Say no often. This one is especially hard for me. But in order to maintain some since of normalcy throughout the Christmas season, we need to be ready to say no. Maybe we say no to a few of those party invites in order to keep our time with our family precious.
Even beyond saying no to others, it’s a good idea to say no to ourselves a bit more often. Any bookworms out there? If I’m being honest with myself, December is a terrible time for me to get into a new, good book. I end up stuck in the book and I quickly get behind on all my well-laid plans. Maybe it’s that one game on your phone…don’t worry I’m right there with you. Let’s go ahead and delete that game for this month. If we can say no to those time sucking extras, we can put that extra time needed into our worship teams and families.
Think Small, Not Big
Remember the children’s advent book I was telling you about? For me, the crafts we are supposed to do every day are overwhelming. The great news is, you can purchase easy to color printouts instead of doing the intricate crafts! Thinking SMALL instead of BIG will go a long way in helping us maintain balance. The goal of this particular project is not so I can show off my kid’s cool artwork. They are still going to learn just as much about God’s greatest gift even though we are only using crayons and we never get out the hot glue gun.
What’s your frame of mind for your Christmas Eve service? Are you striving for the coolest (but hardest) arrangement of “Oh Holy Night”? It’s so easy to get sucked into the competition of “who had cooler music for Christmas?”. Focus on what the goal should be. Then think about what you can realistically manage.
Ladies, December is not the month to select the “Read my Bible from beginning to end in only 1 month!” plan. Yes, us super mom’s/rockstar worship leader’s/ultimate wife’s are great ambitious achievers! But let’s not let our need to achieve overtake our holiday season. It’s okay to think small.
Let Those “Let Downs” Go
Even when we accomplish all of the above, something is not going to go as planned. People are going to let us down. Something unexpected will come up. We have got to be ready to just let these disappointments go. So maybe I have missed a few days in the advent book with my boys…it’s okay!! Maybe your Pastor or Creative Team has thrown an extra song at you at the last minute…it’s okay!! We’ve set priorities and planned our every minute. Now we must put on the attitudes of flexibility and contentment. I know. Choosing contentment and being flexible can be very hard this time of year. But it’s worth it.
It’s not too late for you. Maybe you can’t go back in time and plan your worship set in October (next year, you can!). You can still go through your calendar and take out any overwhelming extras. We can ALL let go of some lingering disappointments. We won’t ever have the perfect balance. But we can take one step closer. What are you doing this time of year to keep some balance?