Whether we realize it or not, we all carry images in our minds that influence how we feel and what we do. This is true every day of our lives. But since it is Christmas time, I thought it would be helpful for us to pause and consider what images we are carrying around for the Christmas season.
For example, perhaps you have an image of the kind of person you want to be during the Christmas season. Or how you want to handle certain aspects of the season.
Or perhaps it’s an image of what you want Christmas Day or the season to look like. In this post I am sharing my fifth Christmas tip: How to Overcome Your Own Images.
Images often represent what we hope to create in our lives. They can also be images of things we fear will happen. Either way, they have the power to impact our feelings and actions.
Because of this power, it can be important to consider where our images are coming from. Is it an image of our own making, or someone else’s, or perhaps an image God has given us for how to handle the season.
Why does this matter? Because the images you are carrying around have a direct impact on your experience of the season.
Here’s an example from my own story.
It was Christmas time. I was tired and knew that something wasn’t lining up with the life and peace Christ offers me each day. So I went to prayer and asked for clarity on what I was doing wrong. As I confessed my frustrations and concerns about how I was handling things the word “image” came to my mind. So I stopped to consider what image I had in my mind.
I saw an image of myself in all my different roles and it was an image of the kind of person I wanted to be. I wanted to be a loving, Christ-centered person who made a difference in others lives and brought Christmas to life through what I chose to do. As I considered the images, I saw the problem. I love to do so many things, especially at Christmas that if I am left to my own images, I will struggle with what is called OOPS – Overly Optimistic Performance Syndrome. (One of my coaches, Kim Avery, taught me that!)
I turned back to The Lord. “Lord, I see I have created an image of what I want to be like during Christmas. But, what do YOU want me to be like?”
As I sat quietly with an open mind I saw the image of a child, warm, secure, completely relaxed, fully loved and accepted amidst all my foibles, resting in the presence of God. Ohhhhh… Mmm… I like that image MUCH better!
But, how does this peaceful image play out in my daily life during Christmas?
I knew The Lord wasn’t saying to simply sit in his presence all day during the Christmas season. But rather that he was saying, THIS is the image I want you to walk in the light of during Christmas.
It was The Lord’s vision of me and what he offers me freely every day. It was also a reminder that HE is the ultimate source of my peace and joy. Not the things I do, or the images I hope to see fulfilled during Christmas.
As I allowed God’s vision to soak in, I found I no longer needed things to go a certain way to achieve peace. For, the Lord’s love is my source of peace.
Since the Lord is my greatest source of love, I am much better at handling someone who does not show me the love I may be hoping for. I am already filled up with God’s love for me, so I need a lot less from others.
Since God is my greatest source of joy, then what happens at the events I attend, or the gifts I receive (or don’t), or the way family members behave at Christmas no longer has the power to steal my joy. God is always by my side to remind me of the bigger picture.
My plans may fail, people will fail and my images of the perfect Christmas may crumble. But, I can still be at peace as I allow my mind to savor the image of myself in the loving presence of my powerful God and be filled with a delicious joy and peace that comes from knowing He has provided all I will ever need for this life and eternity through His greatest gift… JESUS.
So, what images do you have regarding Christmas?
How might God be inviting you to imagine something new?