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'tis the season to remain in him.

'tis the season to remain in him.

Okay guys, there’s ten days until Christmas. Or if you’re anything like our families and the big celebration lands on Christmas Eve, you officially have nine days.

I don’t want to put you in panic mode as I know the holidays can be the most stressfully-wonderful time of the year. But the hustle and bustle of loaded lots & crowded malls, shipping costs & cutting-it-close arrival dates, spending, wrapping, decorating, baking, cooking, party after party, cards, ugly sweaters, and possibly travel, added to the everyday to-do’s can get even the jolliest in a frenzy.

Now for us, Derek and I begin saving on December 26th after the prior Christmas to shop year-round and avoid the last-minute chaos (thank you, Dave Ramsey). We’ve found that this allows us to have a "cash only Christmas" and we can put a little more thought into the gifts we give!

So, if I’ve just reminded you of all the reasons this season yields a side of you that’s less than Instagram worthy, and you’re sitting here thinking, ‘Why am I reading this blog? I have so much else to do!’ Please, give me a few more minutes of your time.

While this time of year never fails to bring out a jollier version of Lauren, I too was quickly met with the overwhelmed, spread thin, and spent feeling when it came to papers, presentations, finals, and even this blog. We are all triggered by anxiety and stress in different ways, and this was mine.

I decided to take classes this Fall for personal enrichment, and that never hurt anyone, right? Well, to compensate for the added hours being in class, plus homework, blogging, as well as my other responsibilities, the first thing to get cut was my quiet and alone time with Jesus.

I remember sitting down to write a lengthy paper on magical realism (I know, right? What the heck is that?) And literally, with a tear welling up in my eye, feeling the need to excel at all the things with little to no-time to do it, I whispered, “Help me, Lord.” Not in a prayer sort of way, but more of a cliché, desperation sort of way. I then took a deep breath, cracked open my lap top and notes…and grabbed my phone to check Instagram; procrastination is real.

Well, God has a way of even using procrastination for the good of those who love Him. My blog-bud Victoria, Truthfully, had posted this…

Click the image to follow @victoria.truthfully on Instagram!

Click the image to follow @victoria.truthfully on Instagram!

Filling up on some real fuel this morning, so that truth motivates how I see myself, God, and others. Spending a few moments here protects me from exhaustion, the glorification of busy, impatience, insecurity, discontent, and so much more. These light-filled words urge me to not just sit and listen, but to go out and do. That kind of power paired with Peet’s holiday roast?! I’m unstoppable, people!
— Victoria Sowell

I was reminded that making time for God when it seemed I didn’t have any time to spare was the best use of the time He’s given me.

You see, time isn’t even mine to hoard, fill up, and selfishly say, “I simply don’t have time for you, God.” When it’s only because of Him and for His plan that I can even take my next breath.

Funnily enough, I opened to the last place I left off in John, chapter 15 to be exact - The Vine & The Branches. Talk about flipping open your Bible in hopes to miraculously land somewhere relevant. (FYI it’s always relevant.) But in this case, especially so.

Please read it, if you haven’t. Jesus often spoke in parables or analogies to illustrate what relationships with or without Christ could look like. The parable of The Vine & The Branches paints a picture of what we, as branches, have the potential to produce when rooted in the vine, Christ. As well as how we will dry up and wither when disconnected.

 Image via Pinterest

 Image via Pinterest

While I was running around feeling incapable and drained, the peace and joy that transcends all understanding was available to me if I would just stop and remain in Him.

It was in that time that God downloaded fresh inspiration for my blog, including topics and schedules. He supplied me with the vigor and oomph to get my school work done (I got 100% by the way) and a refreshing desire and yearning for Kingdom things. He also reminded me of my identity, capabilities, and purpose in all of it.

       dayspring.com via Pinterest

       dayspring.com via Pinterest

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
— Matthew 6:33

Don’t let what’s required or expected this Christmas season get the best of you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. Be wholeheartedly present before Christmas slips through your fingers and you forget to relish in the real reason for the season – the gift of Jesus and relationship with Him.

In which areas might you need a little, or a lot more, Jesus this Christmas? Comment Below!

                Image via Pinterest

                Image via Pinterest

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