Holiday Peace Planning
We know that holidays are beautiful, Christmas is wonderful. I love Christmas and maybe you do too. But it can also be stressful and overwhelming. And it can be a lot of different things. It can be very emotional, both good and maybe not so good negative emotions. And so for our adoptive and complex families it can be it can have another layer or 10 added to what's kind of typical and so if you're right now feeling really, really concerned about going through the rest of this holiday season going into Christmas and New Year's Eve and the school break and all the food and all the family or all the get togethers or maybe all the expectations…
What are the things that are really, really keeping you up at night that are stressing you out right now about the holidays?
…or maybe that you're trying not to think of, so that you don't get stressed out right now – you're kind of procrastinating and putting it off and trying to put it in the back of your mind but you know, it's coming. You know, this is December 1. And Christmas is right around the corner. I was talking to a lady at church, and they had like 14 birthdays (mainly an extended family) in December in this little crunch time leading up to Christmas. Her son had been invited to a female cousin’s birthday party that this mom hadn’t expected since she’d had girl parties previously. And so you may have a lot of things going on… work, you may have extended family, you may have elderly parents, you may have illness or disabilities to deal with. You may have a lot of things to deal with that are not really even related to being an adoptive mom or being mom at all, but it's just another layer on top of what you already have going on every day.
And so think about it. If you are kind of managing, you're going along and you're keeping all the balls in the air, you know you're juggling, you're juggling, you're juggling, but then one more and they all come crashing down. And so when we think about the holidays and planning for the holidays and planning specifically for peaceful holidays and for protecting our peace personally, we have to recognize that that we can only juggle so many balls.
There's only so many hours in a day, you only have so much energy, you only have so much ability to really zero in and focus …plus… you need rest. I know some of you probably think you don't have to sleep but trust me you do. And if you burn the candle at both ends, eventually you're not gonna have any candles left. You’ll get burned, as the saying goes. I do it we all do it. We've all done it.
Planning with Flexibility
I've counseled my children, my young adult kids, about not getting proper sleep just this week even. And yet in the back of my mind, I'm thinking yeah, yeah, this applies to me too. Right? And so we're all human. And there are times where we want to burn the candle at both ends and there are times where it might be okay. But if you're already running on empty, you know, and you're already super stressed and super overwhelmed. Something's gotta give and you don't want it to be your health. And you don't want to be your peace. Or to rob you of this beautiful season, this holiday season that we're going going on into right now.
And so today the topic is planning for peace, and specifically around the holidays – around Christmas and around the special days that are coming up within the next month or so. I know that there are specific things that tend to rob my peace and my joy. I want you to think about what those are for you. They may be different for you than they are for me. I know I can kind of get myself in gear to think that “okay, this is gonna be a great day or a great event” and feel like I have it all planned out; I have the flexibility, the wiggle room and something can happen and then…Boom! There goes my peace, my calm, or there goes my feeling of “okay, this is going the way it's supposed to”. But planning ahead still helps, otherwise it would have been so much worse right?
Planning for Real Life
We plan our grocery lists, we plan our menus, we plan our shopping lists and our gift lists, and we plan our calendars and all the events that we're going to be involved in and that we're going to have our family involved in. We plan all these things out. And I imagine that you're a good planner. I'm a planner. I can plan plan plan, but it's the implementation sometimes it gets me. But also… are we planning the right things? Are we planning to the minutiae of some of the things that we could wing it and get by with – while failing to plan for some of the things that we would really make for a more peaceful experience, more joyful day, more peaceful time with family, more peace of heart and mind within us? Do you need to separate yourself more during this busy season, to take more time, to be still to have prayer time, personal Bible time and to really focus on the meaningfulness of the season and some of these events that we're heading into.
As an example, getting ready to go to church on any given day, especially with younger children, it seems like you know, sometimes you just arrive at the church and you just take a deep breath and you walk in and plaster smile on your face because you've been so frantic up until that instant, trying to get ready to get out of the house and get there… at least that was me a while back!
And so that's real life – life happens. But if we can plan a little more for our peace, then I think that's going to set us up for success and a quicker return to peace, even in those times when we can’t plan for the unexpected surprises, things that we had no idea were coming our way, because we have an internal peace and an external peace that we can draw from and that helps ground us.
From Worried to Planned!
There's a lot of planning that goes on during this time of year but I'm recommending that we plan one more thing, and it doesn't take too much time. And it's worth it. And that's our peace plan.
Consider what disruptions you can anticipate, what can you anticipate for yourself and for your family that might disrupt your peace during this season (and it's likely to based on your experience based on what you already know). Consider what you're already worried about: what disruptions are you already losing sleep over and stressing over?
- You may know your kid is going to be out of school and they're gonna be bored or they're gonna get in trouble doing this or that
- You have some extended family who don't understand your child's behavior issues or the emotional stressors or why you parent them the way you do( because of some of the things that you don't necessarily share on Facebook or share with everybody)
Planning with Heart
And so you can have all kinds of disruptions but you know yours - you know your specific things that you're concerned about that may rob your peace or that are already robbing your peace this season. Are you more concerned about a lack of peace from an internal perspective, like your own internal peace, or from an external perspective, what's happening around you, like your kids bouncing off the walls or what? Or both… because you know, the external affects the internal and vice versa.
The Bible talks about talks about guarding your heart and how our heart is the wellspring of life. Everything comes from our heart. Everything we do comes from our heart. Right?
I've been thinking I've been studying and talking and learning about mindset and thoughts and taking your thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. And that's something that I’m able to teach more on in my coaching program, but you know, the thoughts are one thing but our heart is where our actions come from, not just our thoughts, right? And so our heart, the Bible says, is the wellspring of life. What it boils down to is our heart. And so we're supposed to renew our minds and guard our hearts.
What do we guard?
One thing to guard about our hearts is our peace.
Our topic today: guarding and protecting our peace.
Well, what do we guard against?
If there's something coming against us to destroy our peace, what is that?
We should know our enemy, right?
We should know our adversary when we need to guard our peace from our enemy. The big enemy is Satan, the devil and you know, he works in certain ways and to rob our peace, right?
The Bible says he comes to kill, steal and destroy, and he wants to destroy your peace this season. This Christmas season, he wants to destroy your peace. And so what do we guard our peace from?
- from bitterness,
- from anger,
- from unforgiveness…
These are things that we guard against that are toward others, but then we also guard our hearts and our peace from things that are turned toward ourselves, more inward facing.
We guard our peace against depression.
We guard our pace against hopelessness.
And I hope none of you are feeling hopeless right now.
Because as Christians, our hope is eternal.
And no matter what's going on around us or in our household, or the world, oh, my goodness in the world right now. And I'm not even going to talk about that because there's so much going on and you know, probably more than I do, but it can rob your peace, right?
And so the circumstances can rob our peace and make us feel hopeless. I think there's a lot of people in the world that may feel hopeless today. And I hope that's none of you. Because when we put our hope in Jesus Christ, and we put our hope in Jesus Christ for eternity, but also for the here and now and in the immediate future. We don't have to be hopeless and we're not hopeless. But we need to guard the peace in our hearts against hopelessness, against sadness, against isolation. And loneliness.
You know, we've had a lot of isolation from the years of COVID shutdown and things, but it's not gone yet. It's not gone and I feel for not only my generation, but the younger people like my adult kids who were deprived of a lot of the interactions that they would have typically been involved in. But I know that God can work all things for good. When we guard our own hearts against isolation and loneliness we’re demonstrating that to our children, even our adult children.
Also, we want to bring the peace – bring the peace to our families, our extended families, our friends, our church gatherings, and wherever we are we want to bring that peace and we have to have it to bring it. Right? We want to bring the peace to those around us – they may be feeling lonely and helpless or hopeless – and we want to bring peace and comfort to them as well.
We talked about knowing our enemy…knowing our enemy is not the person sitting across the table from us, but it’s Satan, right?
But he also works through people and sometimes even someone we love dearly and who we know loves us, but at the moment they’re functioning under the influence of our enemy. In that case we have to be protective; we have to put a guard up for ourselves or maybe our child as those enemy attacks come; they may even come from our child.
To guard our hearts and our peace sometimes we have to step back. We need to put some space there.
There are specific strategies I teach for clients in the Success For Second Moms coaching program.
There is also the spiritual armor that as Christians we have access to. These are things like the belt of truth, right?
And so we’re taking those thoughts captive and taking those feelings to the Lord and testing them and challenging them. And we’re challenging them with what?... With TRUTH!
Ask yourself, “Are these feelings based in fact?” “Are these thoughts based in truth?”
Not our righteousness, but the righteousness of Jesus Christ in part of our protective spiritual armor that’s so important.
Faith is another part, the “shield of faith”. Also peace, the “shoes of peace” depending on how your translation is worded – we’re to wear and walk in peace! And so peace is something that we want to take with us as we walk, as we go through our days and through our stresses and our circumstances, as we interact with our families and others. Take that peace with you!
To do that you must take that peace, not just wait for it to fall on you. We don’t just wish for peace, but intentionally accept and walk in the way of peace that God so richly gives us access to.
The peace of God that passes all understanding is that peace that we can be grounded in and bring with us as we interact with others, letting it come through us, no matter what the circumstances. I would be honored to come alongside you to assist you in experiencing more of that peace that may seem so out of reach for you right now.
Also, I appreciate if you would leave a comment or podcast review if this has helped you.
STANDING IN THE GAP FOR 2nd MOMS
Publishing this podcast & companion blog is one way that I stand in the gap for second moms with similar challenges to what I’ve gone through myself as an adoptive mom.
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May you have a peaceful holiday season!
Contact Dawn to leave a message or submit a question for Dawn to address in an upcoming episode of the podcast.