Live In Peace

This is a guest post by First Look writer, Autumn Ward

Can I have a few minutes with you? I know it’s the Christmas season, which means you’re to-do list is twice as long as usual. And that’s just your church to-do list. There’s another family to-do list waiting at home that’s just as long, if not longer! I get it. Really, I do. But hear me when I say this, don’t let your to-do list rob you of the Peace that God gave us so long ago.

It wasn’t too many years ago that my three children were running behind me at our young church plant. Every week was filled with setting up and tearing down while trying to create a place where parents and kids wanted to be.

One day, I found myself sitting in a bathroom on a closed toilet crying. (Sorry for the visual, but it’s the truth.) We were renting a public school at the time and those stalls had become my prayer closet. Whenever things got to feeling like more than I could handle, that’s where I would go.

As I cried to God about all that had to be done – things to prepare for parents, rooms to be decorated, volunteers to be trained, coats to be sorted in the donation box – I sensed that He wasn’t the one who needed to hear it.

I did.

As I heard the words coming from my mouth, I realized I had allowed Christmas to become a never-ending checklist to an unachievable perfection.

I was tired of doing.
I was jealous of the families that would walk in smiling with their children.
I was frustrated there wasn’t more help.
I was guilty for not creating special moments with my own children.
I was overwhelmed to go home to unmade beds, laundry and half done decorations.

Truth #1 – No amount of running around and checking things off would ever make things perfect.
Truth #2 – I was missing Perfect in an effort to create perfect.

Perfect came to dwell among the imperfect
to bring a peace that can never be known apart from Him.

Somewhere along the way, I had chosen chaos over the Peace God had sent into the world.

Peace.

Where was my Peace?

It wasn’t too hard to find. (He never leaves us.) I just had to remove the things I had allowed to take His place.

  1. I asked for help. I delegated things that others could do.
  2. I made a list of things I wanted to do with my family, things that would become our traditions. (That’s when the Christmas rings were born.)
  3. I committed that if I couldn’t do it with a good attitude, then I should probably reconsider doing it at all. (You decide what “it” is.)
  4. I recommitted to spending time with Him first, even if that meant dropping a few balls.

That was a game changer for me. Not just as a leader in the church, but more importantly as a wife, mom and follower of Jesus. I knew deep down that I didn’t want to become a church leader that was great at making Christmas special for other families while my own family was put on the back burner.

Yes, there is work to be done, good work, but let’s not do it at the expense of knowing Peace. I promise you, one of the best things you can do for the volunteers, parents and kids at your church, and especially your own family, is to live each day knowing the Peace God gave us. That is Christmas.

 

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