This Christmas season I wanted to resist being overly distracted by shopping, decorating, planning and attending holiday events, and take the time to look into the eyes of the people I love and do my best to really hear their heart. I wanted to make sure I avoid to-do list marathons that would rob me of opportunities to encourage others. To keep my priorities in order during this busy season, I thought of this personal motto for the season: “Give every hour back to God wrapped in love”.
It didn’t take long for me to hear The Lord’s still small voice gently telling me that while my aim to let love triumph over busy-ness and distraction sounded inspiring, my focus was all wrong. He reminded me that I should be focusing first on receiving His love. Loving powerfully could only happen after I was overflowing with the kindness He had first showered on me. Otherwise, I would soon be running on fumes, or worse yet, completely emptied out. With all the striving to be altruistic, I may even fall on my face. Wow, that reminds me, I literally did fall on my face one Christmas season, and fractured my teeth — read about it in my latest book, Brushstrokes of Heaven (sorry I couldn’t resist the plug)!
Back to today’s story: What does staying filled up with God’s love look like? For me, it happens when I lay my worries and even heartaches at His feet, trusting that He really cares about what concerns me, and will do exceedingly above and beyond what I can ask or imagine. I stay filled with His love when I recall the things He has said to me and I slow down to hear the new things He wants to tell me and show me each day. I begin to overflow with His compassion when I thank Him for Who He Is, His beautiful character traits, and His promise that He will be ever-present and extravagantly kind in spite of my daily mistakes and shortcomings.
So before I do things like covering gifts with that colorful paper that comes in tubes, I am going to be sure I am wrapped in God’s compassion and encouragement. I am increasingly convinced that what God wants most from me is a constant surrender to His love. I believe that being covered by His kindness will bring depth and beauty to my hours and that there is a much better chance I will love more like Him, even in the face of challenges and pain.
The holidays can stir up emotion on top of all the activity. Even as I worked on this blog over the past two weeks, I was challenged to practice what I was writing. I had hectic sprints of busyness and moments of brokenness when I had to picture myself under the “shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91), protected, safe and unconditionally loved. I had to take the time to pour out my heart to Him, listen, learn how to love better, and continue to trust that He has beautiful plans. I have seen so much of His work in my life and the lives of others and I am so grateful!
I pray for myself and all who are reading this to pause frequently, and be filled by Him during the rest of this holiday season and in the coming year!
He sees you, He knows you, He loves you!
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)
We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)