I think about living moment by moment in God’s grace, under His mercy, and covered by His inexhaustible blessing. I have access to everything I need now, in this moment.
But when I think about tomorrow, I’m overwhelmed. I choose to discipline my mind to enjoy this moment’s miraculous provision.
Tomorrow, I’ll have what I need, too. As we live moment by moment, we’ll find tomorrow has arrived without our anxious planning and fretting. It’s just another day of beautiful moments.
I’m learning what it means to update my methods–in both teaching and speaking–to help engage audiences, keep me on my toes, and prevent burnout. I’ve heard that many teachers simply burn out after years of teaching the same material.
They’re bored. The audiences are bored. Everyone is bored.
The teacher might therefore change the content of her message instead of changing the delivery of the message. I’ve found that the message holds up; the lessons in the classroom and on stage don’t expire.
But the method can. So I’ve had the best time streamlining my class to incorporate the best videos, digital presentations, online discussions, and effective online peer reviews. It’s about enhancing the experience of digesting your content. It’s the same content, just a different delivery.
On stage, it’s tempting to dazzle with something new instead of speaking about the same passages of scripture. But they hold up. Instead, I love thinking about the latest research into how we learn and remember information. I consistently read about the high value of narrative to transport readers instead of facts and data. Same content, but different delivery. And I consider how to change my manner of speaking to help with memorability. Same content, but different delivery. I lesson the data on screens and in videos and streamline to one or two main points.
It’s always the same material, but I’ve loved updating the delivery.
I return to Jacques Philippe’s Interior Freedom. This little book helps you understand the expansive interior freedom you have in Christ that no external circumstance can touch.
It’s wonderful to remember everything we have in Christ–in our souls–that generates abundant life wherever we are, no matter how restricted we feel externally.
We find Raven Rock State Park along the Cape Fear River. What a wonderful hike!
Grab your shoes. Put on a sweater. Take a stroll. Enjoy your surroundings. Listen to your own breath or some music through your headphones. Walk beside a friend and talk about anything and everything that comes to mind. Turn your face into the sun.
Taking a walk, especially during holiday travel (where you’re likely sitting for many hours in a car or in an airport) will bring you so many benefits. You’ll improve your mood, help your joints, decrease your stress levels, and help diminish any holiday weight gain. You’ll connect with the friend or family member beside you. You’ll clear your mind from worries while you boost creativity.
Some of us reading cannot walk due to injury or differing abilities. As I think of those friends who cannot walk and wish they could, I don’t take for granted this act of putting on shoes and having a body that supports walking. While I still can, I want to walk.
If you’re new to exercising, and only if you are physically able, you can try a walk for 10 minutes. Tomorrow, add on a minute. One day, you’ll walk three miles like it was nothing at all. You might even find yourself like my 85 year old neighbor who walks seven miles a day. Seven miles!
You can walk up and down hallways, in parking lots, around malls, in neighborhoods, on trails in the woods, and anywhere your feet can go.
If you don’t feel great today, and nothing feels right, take a walk and you’ll return to yourself.
I love the name of Jesus as Immanuel, God with us. Christmas is about Jesus with us. He made a way for us to be with Him, and nothing else matters more in the universe. During our Christmas Eve service, the pastor talked about the times we feel like joy, peace, and hope have left our hearts. The problem, he claimed, is that we have been missing Jesus. The despair, anxiety, and hopelessness we feel indicate Jesus is missing. What a challenge to my heart to consider how the nearness of Jesus–His being with me–brings His joy, peace, and hope.
This morning, I opened one of my favorite gifts: time with my teen daughters. My husband gifted the girls with a day out for coffee and manicures. He gave us time to be together. Of all the gifts under the tree, I considered how time with the ones I love mattered most of all.
I think of Christmas as the gift of our now being with Jesus, the Presence that matters most of all.
My youngest daughter wishes for a white Christmas. There’s nothing more lovely and cozy than snow. But it’s not likely.
But sometimes, it does snow. It really does. I watch the flurries all morning, and then I check the weather report to see the likelihood of snow mid-day on Christmas Eve.
The forecast has changed.
How perfect! How Christmasy! It’s snowing! I remember that sometimes, your hopes on Christmas do indeed come about. I think of the kindness of Jesus in delivering good gifts–first Himself and then a million demonstrations of love throughout our whole lives.
He gave Himself. That beautiful gift spreads out into our hearts, our lives, our ordinary days.
The snow falls: a million little flakes on Christmas Eve.
This morning I remember to invite Jesus to bring His order to our Christmas. Without the joy, peace, and ordering from Jesus, the holiday collapses once again into self-effort, comparison, and the inevitable feeling that something seems missing.
But when Jesus orders everything? It’s perfect. It’s just as it should be.
If the same Lord who brought absolute order to a universe needing a Savior resides within our hearts, will He not also order the very holiday celebrating His birth? In the rush of getting everything just right, I forget that He makes things just right. I don’t. I can’t. He can.
(That’s what Christmas is, after all. It’s a holiday where God made things right forever through Jesus.)
When I fear that Christmas doesn’t measure up or somehow isn’t happening as I might wish, I pray and invite Jesus to design His Christmas for my family.
He will. He does. And it’s always more marvelous than I can imagine.
Make room for Him. Let Jesus order the holiday. You will see.
The vegetables roast. The Christmas songs play. I’ve set the table for dinner. The laundry rolls in the dryer. And now, a minute.
Hello, there! Hello to you, and hello to me.
When we stop and take a moment to write to connect with ourselves and others, it’s a deep breath and a slow gaze. It’s a time to settle back into ourselves.
Daily writing–even in the midst of your busiest holiday–means you stop and say hello to yourself. You ask what you’re thinking and what you need to say. You allow yourself to wonder and marvel if you need to (and you need to).