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In my household, the last 2 months of the year are…chaotic. My birthday, Thanksgiving, both of my daughter’s birthdays, and Christmas all happen in the last 6 weeks of the year. It’s a lot, but I really do love this season. There are so many fun things to do this time of year - from family gatherings to holiday events. And I absolutely love the palpable excitement from my girls about each new thing they get to experience. But in the same breath it can be stressful and overwhelming because it’s just so busy.

Busyness. It’s part of our culture. It can feel impossible to escape. Especially during this time of year. There are Christmas events to attend, parades, parties, end-of-year recitals, and plays. Then there are holiday traditions like setting up the Christmas tree, making cookies, and visiting family. Calendars and schedules are filled to the brim. There is this unspoken pressure (especially as a parent to young children) to make everything special in this season.

Our small group started out this fall with a discussion about busyness. We listened to an episode of a podcast (No Small Endeavor) called “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry”. One of my favorite quotes from that episode was, “Most people are too busy to live emotionally healthy and spiritually vibrant lives.” That was hard for me to hear and pretty convicting if I’m being honest. It sounds harsh, but I believe it is true. We tend to fill up every minute of our day and we don’t leave room for God to move. I’m not saying God can’t move in your life if you are busy. He is all powerful and will act according to His will, not according to your schedule. But one of our goals, as believers, should be to live spiritually vibrant lives. And if you really think about it, you can’t do that if you’re constantly busy. When our schedules are full, we tend to rush and are focused on the next thing that needs to be done. We don’t leave time to just sit and listen for God. We don’t have time to stop and help a friend. We don’t see someone who needs help because we’re rushing to the next event on the calendar. It can feel like you’re just holding on until the new year when you can breathe again. You’re just surviving. But surviving and thriving are two very different things. To thrive would be to have that emotionally healthy and spiritually vibrant life. And to realize that might not be where you are right now, can be a tough pill to swallow.

Our small group talked about the application of this - how do we actually slow down and remove some of the hurry from our lives? Some really simple small steps were things like not changing lanes as you approach a red light just so you’re in the shorter lane or not choosing the shortest check-out line at the grocery store. I want to challenge you to think of just one way you can eliminate hurry this Christmas season. Whether it’s taking something off your to-do list to give you time to just sit and breathe, or if it’s adding in time to focus on Jesus in the midst of the chaos of this season. We can still enjoy Christmas and the Christmas season even if we say “no” to an invitation or two. We can still reach our destination even if we aren’t in the fastest lane of traffic. Find something that you can realistically achieve and start there. Pick something that will help YOU be less busy. Pick something that will help YOU focus on Jesus.