My husband and I often laugh at the covers of women’s magazines. So often they offer high-calorie foods and gorgeous desserts (like the Molten Chocolate Cake shown here) right next to dieting articles (like this one ~ “We lost 230 lbs!”). Have you noticed that?
Some other cover oxymorons (and it’s not just Woman’s Day):
- “Your healthiest year ever”… next to a whole collection of muffins and pound cake
- “Eat healthy fast-food cheat sheet”… next to Corny Cupcakes (cupcakes on a skewer made with brown butter frosting and jelly beans)
- “Drop 10 lbs in 4 weeks”… next to Simple & Delicious Cheesecake Brownie Bars
- “8 Reasons why your diet isn’t working”… next to Strawberry Shortcake Parfaits.
- “Stop Gaining Weight!”… next to “Easy Holiday Baking: Delicious pies and cakes”
You get my point. Why is it we don’t think straight when it comes to food or other things we want?
I laughed at a recent post by Jeff Goins, a writer I follow. He suggested (in an email titled “Giving Thanks ~ for EVERYthing!”) some funny holiday oxymorons:
- Remember to be grateful for what you have… Don’t miss these great deals!
- Catch up on work before the end of the year… Don’t forget to rest.
- Try to get some “me” time… Don’t neglect spending time with family.
We need to think straight about those seeming inconsistencies, don’t we?
When we have that normal stress (“tension”) going on in our lives, it’s important that we listen to a voice outside of ourselves. We need to ask our Heavenly Father what He wants us to do, and search the scriptures for His wisdom. Right thinking can help us walk that fine line of tension this month (and every month).
You’ve felt it.
- We want the 90″ flatscreen TV for our family for Christmas, but know our budget will only allow for one much smaller (if at all).
- We want a new dress for the Christmas party when the truth is, we already have three or four outfits that will do just fine.
- We want to spend hundreds of dollars more on gifts than last year, but we don’t want our family to fall over a financial cliff.
- We want to sit down and read a Christmas novel like Unexpected Christmas Hero, but there are cookies to bake for Junior’s school party… and the office party… and the Christmas Eve party.
- We want to stuff our faces at the holiday office get-together, but a little voice says, “What were you saying to your friend yesterday about not wanting to gain more than two pounds over Christmas?”
- We want to curl up by the fireplace and take a nap, but God’s Spirit nudges us to visit Sister So-and-So in the hospital.
- We feel like we owe everyone a piece of our time, but God says, “come apart with Me before you come apart” in all this holiday rush.
It’s the tension of all those extra choices that adds to our stress at Christmas. We need God’s wisdom, don’t we?
The Bible gives us that wisdom. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” That is the protection we need ~ surrendering our will to God’s will.
We’re also instructed, “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). That is the source of godly priorities.
And we are told, “…seek those things which are above, where Christ is… Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). That is how we embrace an eternal perspective.
What we become and how we deal with circumstances is largely determined by our desires, thoughts and focus. Whether during the holidays or any day of the year, God wants us to make balanced, wise decisions. Seeking Him and responding with proper attitudes is a good start.
So … how are you dealing with the normal stress and challenging tension of these holidays?