- The calendar is packed this week. Do I have the gifts ready for my friends, the material studied for the discussion, the appetizer ingredients ready to prep for the party? Bzzz.
- Are my workout clothes clean and laid out for the morning session? Bzzz.
- Our daughter comes home today. How will her body respond to Seattle weather? Is the bed made up? What else can we do to make the room comfy? Bzzz.
- A daughter-in-law, our daughter, and I visit the spa tomorrow. Are our Groupons in hand? Bzzz.
- Husband's work party? Do I need to do anything but show up?
- Next Monday's turkey dinner? When to set up tables? How shall I decorate them? Are the serving dishes washed? When to thaw out the 22 lb. turkey? When to make the stuffing? Bzzz.
- Are the gifts wrapped for Sunday's family Christmas? Bzzz.
- Oh yeah, I'm a writer and speaker. Are the presentations close to edited so I can send them off before conference deadlines? Bzzz.
- I babysit our 1 yr old granddaughter Fridays. We have to move the crib from Kirsten's bedroom to another room before K arrives today.
I'm sure your head is as full as mine is, spilling ideas into the day. How can we manage the details that flood us in such seasons of celebration and change?
- Schedule quiet time - at least 15 minutes of reflection and prayer - each morning before the whirlwind begins. This settling of the heart allows us to align ourselves with God no matter what the tugging and pulling of obligations throughout the day.
- Watch and listen to how wise and godly friends and coworkers handle the pressures. Copy what is good and ask for advice if you're getting overwhelmed.
- Take time with your calendar to sort and prioritize. Write detailed agendas for items that require advance preparation. Schedule NO more than 3 evenings out per week, say the experts.
- Cut cut cut! anything and everything that doesn't serve your priorities. Some years require intense focus, while others let us drift through holidays at a measured pace. (Last year's journal, while I was in the thick of writing my dissertation, reports many more no's than yes'ses. That was the only way to stay sane and keep moving forward. Everyone survived and I got the work done.)
- Give away stuff that doesn't serve you as you clear and declutter. Got old cameras? Clothes that don't fit? Seattlites, the www.bigbuetruck.org (or 800 - 992-2060) will come to pick it up from your porch. Maybe your kids have been eying a favorite teapot or piece of furniture. Do you really need it? Give it away with a smile. (See, you feel lighter already!)
- Enjoy the pleasures of the season. The meaning and blessings of Christmas - God with us! The visitors! The lights! The decor! The ribbons and wrappings! The clean house in which guests feel welcome! They all require effort ... but nothing is free (according to my mother). Since we work so hard, let's relish the results.
- Focus on the good things. Peace on earth, goodwill to those around you. Share God's love in every way that comes to hand. Forgive those who have hurt you as God forgave you when you hurt Him. Hug and kiss your family.
- End each day with a prayer of gratitude. God is good. He gives us the night and rest. Let's not squander it in worry and sleeplessness. Morning is coming and your head may but full again.
*One day Kish's donkeys strayed away, and he told Saul, 'Take a servant with you, and go look for the donkeys.
... Finally, they entered the region of Zuph, and Saul said to his servant, 'Let's go home. By now my father will be more worried about us than about the donkeys!'
But the servant said, 'I've just thought of something! There is a man of God who lives here in this town. He is held in high honor by all the people because everything he says comes true. Let's go find him. Perhaps he can tell us which way to go.' 1 Samuel 9:3, 5–6
*Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Psalm 84:3
*But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9 NIV
*So then, a Sabbath rest still remains for the people of God. Hebrews 4:9
Moravian Prayer: O God, when we are weary, you invite us to rest. In our anxiety and busyness, let us take your invitation seriously today. Make us stop. Let us rest in your embrace from our labors and be renewed. Amen.