Staying Close to God During the Busy Holiday Season

5 Ways to Stay Close to God During the Busy Holiday Season at www.annswindell.com

This is my newest piece for RELEVANT Magazine.
You can read the whole article here.

Life doesn’t ever stop, especially during the busy holiday season full of to-do lists, parties, shopping and (hopefully!) worship and service opportunities. So how can we focus our hearts in a deeper way on the presence of God in our lives, especially during a time of year filled with increased opportunities and responsibilities? How can we stay close to God when everything around us is demanding our attention?

Here are some simple steps that I’ve found are helpful to stay close to Jesus during the holiday season.

Start with Scripture.

It sounds simple, but it can also be very hard to read the Word regularly. Still, I have found that when I start my day in the Bible, my heart and mind are better prepared to respond to God’s presence throughout the rest of the day. It’s like tying up my shoelaces before going out the door—it’s much easier to keep from slipping as I walk through the day.

During the holiday season, when time seems short, get creative about reading the Bible if you’re struggling to do so. Listen to the audio version of the Bible on your phone or in the car. Or read for five minutes before you get out of bed (or even touch your phone!) in the morning. You might even consider starting a special Advent devotional to help you focus on God during this time of year.

5 Simple Ways to stay close to God during the busy holiday season via @RELEVANT Click To Tweet

Make time to serve.

Too often, the holidays can cause us to focus on ourselves—what we want, what we wish we had and how much we have to do. But when we take time to serve others through our church and community, we are fulfilling a central call of the Gospel (1 Peter 4:10, Galatians 5:13).

Who in your church community needs some attention and love, especially this time of year? While it can be wonderful to participate in official service opportunities, sometimes the most meaningful chances to serve come by loving the people right in front of us with our time, our energy and our attention. Pray and ask the Lord who you can serve this holiday season, and then set aside time to do so.

Sometimes the most meaningful chances to serve come by loving the people right in front of us. Click To Tweet

Listen to truth.

In our home and car, I play music that reminds me of God’s presence in my life. Music seeps into my mind more easily (and mindlessly) than most things, so if I find myself humming a tune unintentionally, it helps my soul if it’s a song that reminds me of who God is. If Christmas music is your style, there are wonderful stations and streams to listen to that are full of Christ-centered Christmas music. And if you don’t love listening to music, find a podcast, radio station or audio book that declares the truth of who God is and turn it on while you’re doing mindless tasks around the house or even working out!

Read the rest of the article here, at RELEVANT!

 

Still Waiting by Ann Swindell

When Our Dreams Fail Us: The Gift of Elusive Satisfaction

This is the start of my newest piece for RELEVANT magazine. You can read the whole of the article here!

If you had asked me, ten years ago, what it would take for me to reach my dreams, I probably would have said what a lot of writers say: I wanted a book deal, the ability to write for publications that I love, and the chance to make a living as a writer.

When Our Dreams Fail Us at www.annswindell.com

I was just starting out a decade ago, and those things seemed light-years away. I was sending articles into the black hole of the internet, pitching book proposals that never saw the light of day, and making zero dollars as a writer. I could imagine no higher satisfaction than seeing my name on the cover of a book and making real money doing what I loved. In the meantime, my lack of satisfaction with my then-current situation led me to pursue further schooling, more writing opportunities, and a job in the publishing industry.

God made us with insatiable dreams that can’t be satisfied by worldly success. Click To Tweet

Fast-forward to today. I’m living the dream I wanted so much: I have a book deal, the opportunity to write for publications I respect, and the freedom to write and teach others about writing as my full-time gig. But you know what?

I’m still not satisfied.

I got what I wanted. I reached my dreams. But none of these things have brought me deep satisfaction. Instead, I now have other goals as a writer, new things that I want to achieve.

This is a bell that’s ringing throughout our generation. Even when we achieve what we dreamed about, we’re not fully satisfied. We’re always off to pursue the next dream, the next opportunity.

Even when we achieve what we dreamed about, we’re not fully satisfied. Click To Tweet

Is something wrong with us when our dreams don’t fulfill us in the way we hoped they would? When they don’t satisfy us in the way we imagined they could?

No. Satisfaction is an elusive rabbit to chase; it shouldn’t surprise us that we struggle to be satisfied.

You can read the rest of the article here, at RELEVANT!

 

And, if you’re a fellow writer, don’t miss out–registration for Writing with Grace, the online writing course that I teach, opens on July 11! Join me over at www.WritingwithGrace.com to sign up for details and an exclusive coupon code!