The #1 Lie We Buy Into At Christmas

I’m not sure if this year is any different, but I feel more aware of my wantDec 21 blog post photo.jpgs. I have always
appreciated beautiful things—the shoes, the purses, the clothing, the Chip and Joanna style home—but for some reason this year feels heavier. The weight of the wants has been tripping me up a lot in the last few weeks, and the inability to have it all has left me feeling defeated.
During a recent trip to Target I was looking at the shimmering Christmas decorations, daydreaming of elegant parties around my table, stories being shared over a perfectly adorned meal, music playing, classy cocktail dresses, stilettos, and wine stems beneath twinkling white lights (Friends, I own dresses and stilettos, but my typical wardrobe is skinny jeans, a t-shirt, and flats. If I’m honest, my fantasy is flat out dillusional given my reality: mother to two young boys, freelancer, Lego-cleaner-upper…).
My daydream was abruptely interrupted by a  surprising, but crystal-clear thought: “Don’t believe the lie.”
In an instant my visions of sugar plum fairies fell away like a shattering television screen, and I was once again standing in Target wearing my aforementioned jeans and t-shirt.
Those words echoed in my mind. “Don’t believe the lie.”

What lie?

The lie that I somehow need more to live better; that I will never experience life apart from satisfying my endless list of desires. The lie that my worth is tied to my wallet, and that Christmas is going to be miserable unless it looks magazine perfect.

It’s all an illusion. And I buy into it. Often.

This lie has a strong grip on my heart. Its tentacles wind throughout the arteries and cavities of my soul. A one-time realization of the lie doesn’t fix it. I have to fight back moment-by-moment. I can’t simply say, “I see you in the corners of my mind, Mr. Lie,” and then walk away. I have to pick up a sword and start swinging, and keep swinging, and when that ugly lie rears its head again I have to swing some more.
One of the more powerful and effective weapons to win the war is to remember the plight of those living in nations oppressed and wartorn. When I see the images of children walking among tents because their homes have been overtaken by militants I am reminded of how much I have. Then I get to tuck my children into their safe, warm beds with filled tummies and two parents watching over their welfare. These are the moments that I am so overcome with gratitude for all that I already have that I can choose to be satisfied and give out of my abundance.
Side note: it’s tempting to feel false guilt when we remember the plight of those oppressed and wartorn. It’s tempting to feel guilty for the blessings and resources we already have. But that’s not what should happen either. God does not give blessings with a side of guilt. He gives generously, and we can fully receive the gifts that He has given to us with full, glad, and sincere hearts.
However, we are to hold with open hands the bountiful resources we have, even if the bank account doesn’t have a surplus. We can choose to not believe the lie that marketers want us to believe. We can be satisfied. Our appetite for more can be satiated by embracing the fullness of life given in Jesus, whose kingdom will not be thwarted, altered, or overthrown. Because of His coming, our broken cistern-hearts have been fully mended and are capable of holding onto authentic joy, gratitude, and satisfaction.
So this week, as you tie bows on packages, check off those final names from your list, and enjoy delicious meals around tables, drink deep. Take it all in. Refuse to believe the lie that you must have more. Christ has come for us. This fact means that we do not have to forego fullness, satisfaction, and joy, but instead can embrace and receive them.
 Rest. Be Merry. Be bright.
Run Hard. Love Strong.

Rejoice, weary world. Rejoice, my weary heart.

My soul is weary. I’m so tired of being heartbroken by what is happening around the world. I’m tired of being sad. I’m tired of being scared, and feeling guilty for being scared because it means I don’t trust God…right? Or is it ok to feel scared of all the horrible things that seem to be hitting closer and closer to home? I don’t know.

I just know that I feel increasingly out of control of everything, especially the safety of my family. Everything from people texting and driving to ISIS has me on high alert these days.

I don’t want to become suspicious of people. I want to have deep compassion and love them. I don’t want to be scared. I don’t want to question if everything that I believe is real or not. I want to have unshakeable faith that looks fear in the face and shouts, “This world is not my home! You can hurt my body, but you cannot have my soul!”

But I’ve got questions, and lately it’s been really hard to combat them.

And I’m weary. Oh so weary.

But then I look to my right, and I see a beautiful 8 foot Christmas tree with white and colored lights. We’ve always had white lights, but this year my oldest son wanted to add color. I’m glad. It was a good choice. It’s a happy tree. And it’s a tree that reminds me that it’s Christmas time. And Christmas means remembering my Savior.

My righteous King.

My King that rules with justice and compassion.

My King that promises that while we will experience pain, it will not last forever and one day the wrongs will all be made right. He sees what is happening, and He is hurt by it. But He is patient, and one day He will make it all right again.

My King that is strong and brave, and meek and humble.

My King who whispered my name 13 years ago, and called me to real life; who knows my name, and who loves me beyond measure.

My King who came, and who knew suffering, pain, and willingly endured the cross for me. For you. For ISIS combatants. For us all that we would be set free from the fear of death.

My King who conquered death once and for all in victory.

This season my weary soul rejoices at the thrill of hope found in King Jesus. He has come for us.

May this season strengthen us all to fix our eyes on Him; to run hard, and to love strong.

Merry Christmas, indeed.