Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Stay Sane This Christmas

Do you know someone going through a hard time this Christmas? Check out my "When the Holidays are Hard" series for helpful tips and suggestions.

Hey Friends ~

How many times have you declared that this is the season you will not be frazzled, crazy and stressed out?

Am I the only one who has tried to live intentionally (and peacefully), but somehow gotten pulled into the holiday cyclone of baking, buying, wrapping, crafting, decorating, caroling and more?

Instead of enjoying the Christmas season I find myself dreading it, waiting for it to be over, and frantically search for my missing peace and joy.

But not any more.

I will stay focused on what really matters this Christmas, and will remain sane, calm, joyful, Christ-centered and overflowing with love....please help me God! :)

One idea that has helped me is by keeping a jar filled with 5 rocks right by my desk.

I came across the little “Rocks, Pebbles, Sand” story many years ago. Do you know it? (I have the story in its entirety at the bottom of this post).

I've found it to be very helpful to think about my "Rocks", my "Pebbles" and my "Sand" as I prayerfully plan my days...especially during the holiday season when there are so many good things to do (but are they the BEST?).

The rocks represent the important things in life that if everything else was lost and only they remained your life would still be full…relationship with Christ, marriage, kids, parents, your health.

The pebbles represent other things that matter…job, your house, your car (and yes, Christmas activities and responsibilities).

The sand is the small stuff. The little things that can easily fill our day (surfing the web, TV, Facebook, etc...).

As we head into the month of December, I wonder if you'd like to take a minute and jot down your rocks, your pebbles, and your sand. Ask God to help you keep first things first.

Let’s be honest, during the busy Christmas season, it is so easy to get distracted on the "sand and pebbles" and forget what are our real "rocks"/priorities are. Right?

At the end of the day if we’ve crossed everything off of our TO DO list (shopping, check; baking, check; another holiday party, check) ~ but didn’t take time to read the Word, hug our husband, or snuggle with our kids…was it really a good day??

Are you filling your day with your rocks first?

Or sand?

When we are led by our long list of expectations and shoulds, we often get to December 25th and wonder why we're empty, frazzled, and spent.

If we are going to stay sane this Christmas ~ we must live intentional lives.

We might have to say NO to some good things. Ask for help. Go off-line for a bit. Pass on one of the parties. Be content with "good enough" rather than perfect. Buy pre-made cookie dough.

What are your rocks? Your pebbles? Your sand? What steps have you put in place to stay sane this Christmas season? I'd love to hear (and learn) from you!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*. God's richest blessings to you!

P.S. Here is the "Rocks, Pebbles, & Sand Story – The Important Things in Life"

A professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, he picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The rocks are the important things – your family, your marriage, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car.

The sand is everything else. The small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Play with your children. Take your spouse out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.

Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand. "


Denise said...

I love this.

BARBIE said...

This Christmas season is especially hard, with my husband's continued unemployment and the lack of finances to buy presents for the kiddos. They will have something under the tree, but not what I would like to give. But we try to focus on Christ. He is all we need!

Lea also known as "CiCi" said...

Great post Cindy and you are so right, we must say NO to some good things in order that we may have time to say YES to the best things.
Blessings to you!

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