This week I’ve learned a lot about taking time to enjoy the holidays and stress less. I’ve been known to stress often (just ask my former roommates), but I am starting to cast my anxiety toward God rather than others. It helps that I no longer have research papers or a certain number of chapters I have to read each night, but it is still stressful working a full-time job.
At Elevation this week, Pastor Steven began a series called I Won’t Survive the Holidays. The mantra he opened with was: I won’t get lost in lesser things, I will make the most of Jesus. This time of year is crazy with buying gifts, attending parties, wrapping up projects at work and traveling, but I hope to spend more time this season in Jesus’ presence. Rather than being distracted by things that mean nothing, I want to focus on what means everything – Jesus. You’ve heard the sayings “Jesus is the reason for the season” and “keep Christ in Christmas,” and they are completely accurate. Christmas is about celebrating God’s love for us, that He sent His only son Jesus to be with us on earth. Emmanuel – God with us. God is not in high above us looking down at us, He is right here with us on Earth. He wants us to spend time in prayer with Him, communicating our worries, fears, hopes and dreams.
I attended Forest Hill’s Women Under Construction on Monday night and it was a powerful lesson on prayer. Marilynn Chadwick is an incredible woman of God and she truly inspired me. She gave 5 steps in prayer:
- Be alert – pay attention to the people around you, be intent about listening to others so you know what to pray for.
- Be specific – pray for specific things, whether it’s worries or dreams, big or little.
- Pray with Biblical authority – Read the Word and pray using scripture.
- Agree with others in prayer – Jesus says in Matthew 18 that when 2 or 3 are gathered in His name He is with them. Pray with your family, with your friends.
- Answer God’s call – Act on what God is telling you. Life is too short not to have moments that count.
I have grown in my walk with the Lord significantly since moving to Charlotte. Reading my devotion every morning reminds me to focus on what is important. I hope you are encouraged and challenged by this like I have been. Pray continuously, but also listen for His voice and direction.