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  • Writer's pictureMegan Estes

Fa-la-la-la-nope! (Setting Healthy Boundaries During the Holidays)

Updated: Feb 5

Part of growing up in Christ is learning that there are certain things you need to start doing in your walk, as well as things you need to stop doing. Sometimes, in order to grow, we actually need to QUIT things. As a natural born "doer," who delights in task, my challenge from the Lord the last several years has been to halt certain behaviors, commitments, and mindsets. Here's some steps I've been challenged to take the last several years. Maybe after reading these you'll decide that you, too, need to join us 'quitters!'


healthy financial boundaries

Realize Your Financial Reality And Set Healthy Financial Boundaries

Stop spending money you don't have to buy things you don't need to impress people you don't like! Ouch. I remember the first time I heard that line and had to soak in it. Was I guilty of living in financial denial because of my desire to people please? For some, you may be tempted (during Christmas time or not) to purchase things to make yourself feel better, or to compete with those around you. If you're like me, you may have struggled with being content with what you have to give. You want to give more because you DO deeply care, but you also can't accept the level of income you're actually at, so you go into debt giving to others. This is not being a good steward of what God's given to you. Thank God there's grace. I have learned to accept that there is always going to be judgment and assumptions when it comes to other's finances. When we don't have much to give, we may be looked down upon. When we have a lot to give but choose to give it only to certain places, there's still judgement. I'm guilty of judgment as well. However, I can also attest to the freedom in embracing your own financial reality. Be confident in the money you have to put towards gifts. Let the rest go. Let the pressure go. Your level of love and commitment to your relationship(s) isn't quantified by the level of gift you give. If you've been giving radically year after year which has resulted in bad habits of getting into debt, it's going to be hard to drop down to reality, but you can do it. Ask the Lord to help you humbly give what He's given to you. And when you're looking for that "endorphin lift" from the reaction of the 'gift-receiver,' turn to your Heavenly Father instead. Praising Him for what He's given to you and practicing a heart of gratitude will refresh your spirit more than any human compliment or gift ever could.


Don't bring up the past when setting healthy boundaries

Refrain From Visiting Christmas Past

The holidays are a time when we often see people that aren't in our everyday. We commune with family and friends that have maybe brought hurt or heartache in the past, and since we don't see these people often the wounds may seem fresh. Sometimes the enemy tempts us to bring the past with us, but we need to leave it behind. Yes, we do need to have healthy boundaries and expectations. However, it's not fair to our relationships or to ourselves to come bearing gifts of resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness. You're not responsible for how others behave, but you are responsible for how you react. Prepare your heart to be laser focused on TODAY. If, and when, you notice you're walking into that Christmas dinner with past baggage, it's up to you to leave it at the door. Satan is crafty and loves to divide. I've definitely experienced this! I can be full of joy one moment, and then realize when we're headed somewhere to see certain people that I'm thinking of past hurts and getting all riled up over decade old wounds! Those heart scars start hurting out of nowhere it seems! God knows those wounds are there, but they aren't an excuse for wounding others, or being passive aggressive every holiday season. It's time to look like love. Arrive with grace and a clean slate. Do everything you can to hold up the healthy boundaries you've built and ask the Lord to help you be a person of peace. But please, refrain from bringing Christmases past with you.


stop hurrying, set healthy boundaries with commitments

Halt the Hurry and Set Healthy Boundaries With Commitments

Not much I need to say here other than, "stop it!" Quit rushing your kids from one event to the other and showing up barely together. Been there, done that, guilty as charged! It's okay to say, "no" and not attend or participate in everything just cause you can! Stop rushing your kids to move onto the next gift and the next when it's time to open presents. Learn to linger. God blessed us with a child whose name literally means, "to pause," and she has helped us slow down immensely and enjoy moments we would have missed! I praise God this child has become her given name--she's impacted our lives and dozens of others because of her insight and refusal to hurry through life. John Mark Comer's book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, is one of my favorites and full of 'punch you in the gut' quotes that hurt, but are life-changing. Here's a few John Mark Comer quotes that are hard to swallow:

"The more we hurry the less we accomplish."

"Hurry robs us of the ability to truly see and connect with others."

"Busyness is a form of distraction, keeping us from confronting the deeper issues of our lives."

"Hurry is a subtle form of self-importance, as if our time is more valuable than anyone else's."

"Hurry blinds us to the beauty and miracles happening all around us."

Need I say more!? We've got to halt the hurry--not just in this season, but in our daily lives. No one ever showed up somewhere with more peace, joy, or more accomplished because they hurried! It's true. Do you believe it? I believe that living "hurried" can fuel an anxious heart. It definitely doesn't lead us or our kids to a place of peace. Refrain from overcommiting to people and places just because you can do it all if you hurry! Hurry is like comparison--it will rob your joy! I'm no expert, but I've been working on lingering for over a decade now and I'm seeing the fruit it adds to our lives! I've still got room to grow, but I want to attest to the truth that the secret to enjoying the chaos of life is often learning to linger! Please, for your children's sake, and yours, halt the hurry.


make time for rest during the holidays and set healthy boundaries

Secure the Sabbath

Stop sabotaging the Sabbath! Sabbath doesn't just happen. It's something you intentionally plan for and pursue. It's a measured rest you PURSUE! Sabbath is on the calendar in our house. Unfortunately we still fail at a weekly Sabbath often, but we are getting there. At first I felt kind of ashamed that I had to "schedule rest," but I've learned that it's actually something we should be proud of. Sabbath is a literal COMMAND from God. A commanded day of rest. Guys, it's one of the ten commandments we choose to ignore or simply justify with, "but I'm serving the Lord by doing ______." Yikes! We schedule what is important to us, so we definitely need to be protecting and scheduling Sabbath into our lives if we want to obey God! Sabbath is not about watching Netflix all day in pajamas. It's so much more. It's about trusting God with your WHOLE life. Trusting that He knows best and that obeying His command to rest and worship Him will not leave you drowning in task the other six days of the week. We do have to plan for it though. For me, sometimes that means a hectic day before Sabbath because we're working hard getting all our chores dones so we can really rest and worship without needing to do silly tasks, like clean toilets. It also means re-evaluating our weekly commitments, because if we can't keep up with the maintenance of our home throughout the week then we need to A) step away from some commitments and/or B)simplify our home with less. Through Sabbath we trust that God will help us get the work that needs done actually done the other six days of the week. Again, here's some John Mark Comer quotes that helped me to rethink Sabbath:

"Busyness is not a badge of honor, but a subtle form of self-sabotage."

"Rest is not laziness, but an act of faith and trust in God's provision."

"The Sabbath is a gift from God, a sacred space where we can rest and recharge."

"God's pace is slower than ours, and when we align ourselves with His rhythms, we find peace and rest."

"Resting in God's presence is a radical act of trust in His sovereignty."

Let's pray:

Thank you, Lord, for grace! I've not honored your command to keep the Sabbath holy for many years of my life. I've doubted that it was truly important and made excuses of all kinds. You've shown me, Lord, that when we honor You in this way that we actually get more done during the week! It's crazy how that works out! Thank you God for teaching us to take care of our bodies and souls with rest. I often forget how much we need it, but in starting to honor the Sabbath more regularly my soul has started to long for it each and every week! You are good, so I know we can trust You and Your Word! Amen.


Conclusion

Believer, God sees you and knows you. He knows what needs you have, and what needs done! Decide to choose contentment with what you have. Quit giving into debt. Stop reliving old hurts. Halt the hurry. Secure the Sabbath. When in doubt of what to do next in this Christmas season turn your eyes to your Maker and trust Him with what He tells you to let go of--so that you'll have your hands free to hold onto Him.





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