How to Handle the “In Between”

The week after Christmas tends to be an awkward week for me. The whole month of December, I anticipate Christmas. Everything I do centers around Dec. 25. And then once it’s over, I’m not quite sure what to do.

I could relate to writer Marcus Hathcock in the recent RELEVANT Magazine article, “The Thud After Christmas” when he said, “There is a huge build up to Christmas… You get the feeling that the world is getting ready for something big and mysterious.”

Then Christmas happens and life moves on the next day as if it were never here. Marcus likened it to the radio stations instantly going back to their regular programming: “No tapering down the carols, just a clean break. A thud.”

I love how he uses the word thud because that’s exactly what it has felt like for me. I’ve asked myself a few times: Now What? What’s the next thing to look forward to?

This week, I’ve struggled with being in the in-between. Christmas is over and 2012 is on the horizon. I have my share of concerns about what the future will hold and what changes might occur.

But one thing has brought me true comfort and peace as I wrestle and grapple with the in between.

Going to God in His Word to be reminded and assured of his promises.

I easily forget that Jesus is enough. We hear it so much but it’s so true. He is all I need as I anticipate a brand new year that will hold only the Lord knows! This doesn’t mean that I don’t plan, work hard, make changes, set some goals, and more. Those things will happen.

But the point is that my eyes should not be on myself and what concerns I have. Or how I feel. Or frankly what I need to do. I actually end up getting depressed when I look too hard at myself.

My focus should be upon Christ, his Word, his ways, serving Him and His people. And above all to fulfill what I’ve been put on this earth to do- to know Him and make Him known.

I’m never disappointed when I begin placing my trust in what He says. And somehow, when my eyes are upon Him instead of self, I always end up finding true joy, comfort, and satisfaction. All the things that I’m pretty sure I was looking for in the first place.

Over the past few days I’ve noticed that the thud is slowly fading away and my anxiety about 2012 is turning into excitement and joy about what God will do and reveal about himself.

Have you felt the thud or struggle with the in between?

Running for Life [abundantly]

I want to really live in 2011, but sometimes I fear the unknown and I fear failure.

I’m still on vacation at my parents place, and this morning I went on a run for the second time this week. It had been over a year since I ran last. In the first 15 minutes of my run, I felt stronger and my pace was faster than it was on Monday. I barely had to stop and walk. I didn’t look at the time to see if I was almost done. I just savored the feeling of sweat again, my surroundings and my worship music on Pandora.

Then I thought about the fears I had: Can I really run again and run well? Can I really drop the 10 lbs. of baby weight that’s lingering? I wasn’t sure if I had it in me.

On my way back home, the wind blew harder against my face and my feet ached. I had to walk again. I looked over at the golf course to my right and the landscape was brown- not a pretty bright green as I thought it should be. I thought about how I didn’t want my life to be dormant and drab like that green. I wanted my life to be alive and vibrant. A life that bears much fruit.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

Then I thought about my fears again. Fear and the worries of this world tend to choke the life out of me. And the Enemy wants exactly that. But Jesus came so I would live life to its fullest.

In 2011, I want to take the first steps required for me to live more fully in my relationship with Christ. It might mean getting up early before the babies are awake to be in the Word. Or praying more through out the day. Or having self-control and resisting the urge to get angry at my toddler or impatient with my husband. Or embracing where I am right now and complaining less. Or going out of my way to love and invest radically in someone who is different than me. It might mean dreaming God-sized dreams.

I’m not sure, but I know I need to live more. I know that I haven’t fully embraced the abundant life that God has for me.

Well, after walking those few minutes in my run, I picked up my pace again. My parents’ house was in the distance and I started sprinting towards it, knowing there was no other choice but to run again.

What are your goals for 2010?

On Wednesday, I’m taking a 12 day Christmas vacation to visit Jeremiah’s family in Michigan. We have a lot planned and I’m really excited to get away, reflect, and think about some goals for 2010. Then before the ball drops in Times Square, I plan to write them down and Commit.

I have a history of setting goals that are tangible and realistic and some that are vague and unrealistic. Regardless, I love to set goals because it gives me something to aim for. Goals help keep me from being mediocre. And I always love a good challenge.

It’s not even Christmas yet so I haven’t thought really hard on my goals, but here are a few I have in mind:

  • Run a race in the Spring. 15k or more.
  • Utilize the margins in my new Bible (the ESV that Santa’s bringing me) to take notes and write prayer requests.
  • Pray for my husband and son daily.
  • Start a book proposal (start typing it in Microsoft Word)
  • Work hard with my husband to be debt-free by December (one car payment to go)
  • Try harder to have more common sense in the simple things

Since I’m not committing until the ball drops, I’d love to hear from you. Do you have any goals (silly or serious) brewing in your mind for 2010?

There’s a chance I might have to borrow what you’re thinking about committing to.

If you don’t have any yet, don’t feel bad.

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