When you’re stretched thin…
Cainspirations by Kristi Cain, originally published November 26, 2022
How are you overcoming the struggle to balance holiday pressures? Let’s journey together!
| 4 WAYS TO HAVE A CHRISTLIKE SPIRIT THIS SEASON|
The holidays come with a special set of pressures.
Demands, obligations, and expectations swirl around us like no other time of year. Not to mention the potential for hurt feelings and conflict lurking around the corner of every close relationship.
And when our nerves inevitably get frayed, it’s easy to get down on ourselves for not having the kind of spirit we are supposed to.
But the key to navigating this hectic time of year is forged from the same source of every other guideline for life’s many challenges: the firm foundation of faith that the only Christmas gift who matters has already given us.
And I truly believe that when we focus our attention on the real reason for the season, his example can help us have exactly the kind of spirit we–and those looking to our example–need.
And because everyone’s time is short these days, I will do my best to condense this month’s message into “4 Ways to Have a Christlike Spirit this Season.”
1) PRIORITIZE WITH GOD’S GUIDANCE
If you flip through the pages of the Gospel, you will find the story of a man who knew how to prioritize. Jesus did not get sucked into a whirlpool of people-pleasing. He did not try to make everyone happy at all times.
But he did try to please his father. Even when it meant the world did not approve of him. Even when it meant he was hated and slandered.
So if you find yourself pulled in too many directions to count, give yourself a timeout to pray and seek God’s guidance before saying “yes.” Being a Christian does not make “no” a four letter word.
Jesus was never afraid to prioritize and his priorities were never wrong.
Ask God where he needs you the most and where his greatest needs are for the souls he needs to bring to his kingdom. And it is also okay to allow your own soul some respite from situations that weigh it down.
As you prioritize, be sure to communicate your decisions with others in the most godly way possible to be sure that the value and love we are called to share can still shine through even if you are not giving people the answer they want to hear.
2) SERVE THE GREATEST NEEDS FIRST
Do you have a crisis in your family? A neighbor on the verge of eviction? A child in your community whose basic needs are not being met? That trip to Tiffany’s to get Aunt Myrtle her favorite place setting can wait.
Jesus’s ministry always took him to the people whose needs were greatest. I can’t recall the economic value of a single gift that he gave. But changing lives, healing sickness, offering forgiveness and the gift of salvation are worth more than any material item ever could be.
So wherever there is the greatest need in the lives of your family and neighbors is the best place to devote your time, energy, and attention this season.
3) LOVE ONE ANOTHER
This is a time of year that tests everyone’s patience. Our time and our money is stretched very thin. Tensions run high in families. And it is hard to pour from an empty cup.
That is why it is so important to take time to fill your spiritual cup, so that you are able to pour into others. Even if you don’t have time to attend every function, cook every dish, or purchase every present, love is always the most valuable gift of all, and it is really what this season is supposed to be about.
So when you are short on patience and you feel your heart shrinking closer to Grinch-sized proportions, open up your word and read about Jesus’s example of love. Contemplate the depth of the love he and his father have for you. How every hair on your head is numbered. How your face is always before the angels who watch over you. How you were worth dying for even when you fall short of who he wants you to be.
And when you remember his love for you, you will also be able to remember the love he calls us to show to others, even when it is difficult. Because love is the most precious gift anyone could ever give or receive.
4) DON’T LOSE YOUR CHILDLIKE WONDER
The holidays aren’t all bad. And each year, every one of us has been able to find moments that are simply magical.
This testifies to the blessings God so generously bestows on us, even when we lose the right focus.
So be open to the wonder and beauty of those unexpected moments of warmth that only the holidays can bring.
Because it is only when we are able to remember that sense of childlike trust and awe that Jesus tells us we can truly be closest to God (Matthew 18:3-4).
And since he has always set a perfect example, before he asked us to enter his kingdom as children, this season we are celebrating the way he first entered our world as one himself.
So this holiday season, I pray that the true gifts of the spirit can find you, uplift you, and shine through you for all to see. May you find ways to steer your time and energy into the best priorities, the greatest opportunities for service, the richest love, and the most dazzling moments of wonder you have ever known.
Because the true spirit of giving comes from the spirit of the season’s best giver whose promises will bring us an eternity of celebration in the perfect haven of heaven.
|Want to know your divine calling? Find out with my “Discover Your Destiny” Quiz!|
Don’t make me do all the talking – I’d love to hear from you!
- What has helped you remember the true reason for the season?
- How has God helped you through painful experiences and grief during the holidays?
- Do you want to hear about anything else? Any prayer requests?
Just shoot me an email – don’t be shy! And I promise to reply!
BEAUTY IN TODAY
Check out these awesome photos from readers like you!
PHOTO CREDITS (top to bottom, left to right): “Navajo Lake Views” by Julia Lohla, Antelope Canyon, Arizona; “Park Reflections” by Wren Branham, Chicago, Illinois; “Lake McKamy Overlook” by Sean Blaylock, Chilhowee Mountain, Tennessee; and “Mountains’ Majesty” by Nancy Moulton, Max Patch Mountain, North Carolina.
Want to share your “Beauty in Today” picture or inspirational musings? Shoot me an email and you just might be featured in my next issue!
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Thanks for visiting with us today! I hope I’ve helped you feel encouraged! – Kristi
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Work looks a lot like play for Kristi Cain and includes freelance writing for Crosswalk, inspirational blogging, writing fantastical stories of Christian fiction, teaching English to teens, and being able to say, “I’m a former journalist.” Home is nestled in the Smoky Mountain foothills with her husband and teenage children. If you ever want a little encouragement in your day, check out her newsletter. Hop over to her website for her latest happenings and join her Facebook group, a fun, faith-based community.
Cain’s life experiences and faith journey have lent her the lens through which she shapes stories of unlocking the light of destiny out of darkness. Through her writing, she hopes to encourage people to understand that the difficult places in life can be the very ingredients that shape the greatest destinies.
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