We are approaching the end of another year. Time is flying by. Like many others, I tend to feel very nostalgic and introspective at this time of the year. Perhaps, because it is the Advent season where we celebrate the arrival of the Christ child, while also practicing His presence each day.
Today, as I reflect, I am reminded of a significant word that the LORD gave me at the beginning of this Advent season. I am not much for focusing on one word, but it looks like this year is different. What is the word you ask? Downsizing.
What a strange word to be pondering during Advent. And yet, not that strange at all. Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for the arrival of Jesus as a baby in a manger and then to celebrate His birth on Christmas Day.
Plain and simple…right?
Unfortunately, we tend to do the opposite. We make it complicated. We fill our houses, calendars, fridges, credit cards, minds, and stomachs with all the treats and trimmings of the season and allow ourselves to indulge, with excuses that end in “Tis the season!”.
I am not trying to be a scrooge. I like Christmas, just not in the way most people in my life do.
For the past 2 years, I have seen a trend in my heart. The dislike for what I call, “Christmas clutter.” Because of some personal circumstances, our family has taken a break from decorations, shopping, gift giving and many other common festivities that happen during this time of the year, here in America.
Sounds dreary and scrooge-like to many of you, I am sure. But we have found a Joy unspeakable and a Peace that passes all understanding as a result.
Isn’t that the real reason for the season? Joy and Peace?
I am now being called to downsize to make even more room for Jesus in my story. Just like when Mary & Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, there was no room at the inn for them. I don’t want my story to go like that.
The more I get the more I want…of Him.
I asked God where He wanted me to downsize, since His view of my story is better than mine.
He gave me this… “boundaries in pleasant places” (Psalm 16:6), so I could gain clarity about how and where He wants me to downsize.
Physically – house size, clothes, body size, possessions.
We are not changing our address anytime soon (unless God decides otherwise). I clearly have too many clothes than I know what to do with. Although we have had garage sales for various reasons over the past few years, I am sensing that God is asking us to sell even more of the items we own. Perhaps He already knows something we don’t.
Emotionally – deal with all my feelings (good, bad, otherwise), put boundaries in place that guard and protect, remove certain people from my life that cause undue emotional stress (toxic people), implement healthy social media boundaries.
This past year has been full of feelings new and old, shallow, and deep. God has been faithful in leading and guiding every step of the way. In some cases, it was easy in this area. But in other ways, it was quite challenging. I want to continue to pursue emotional health not only because it is a special gift that I give to the people in my life, but it also strengthens my witness. I learned a phrase last year, “one cannot be spiritually mature while being emotionally unhealthy at the same time.” This statement has impacted me deeply and helped me downsize effectively.
Mentally – evaluate what I am feeding my brain, determine how I am strengthening my brain to function the way it is supposed to, identify lies I am believing and replace them with the truth.
God’s Word has been the most effective tool that does the above for me. Just being in the Word isn’t enough, I have to let it do its work in me.
Spiritually – tighten down on my theology, step into the Gospel more intentionally, seek the presence of God in the deepest parts of my story so I have more of Him and less of me, push away teachings and practices that don’t line up with God’s Word.
If I don’t have a good handle on the Gospel, then my life will show it. In 2015, I survived an earthquake that resulted in a deeper pursuit of Jesus and the determination to live like I want to die. With integrity and deep resolve.
In a couple of weeks, we will celebrate Jesus’ birth. In the meantime, I will continue to downsize by dying to myself so there is more room for Jesus when He arrives.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!!
How about you?
Is God calling you do downsize? If so, where?
How will you respond to His invitation this advent season?
Is there room in your story for Him or will you turn Him away?
Thank you for joining me on this journey!