By Nichole Davis
Verses To Read:
The holiday season has looked a little different this year. Last fall, I felt God calling me to ‘release.’ I wasn’t exactly sure what He meant, but in the following months, it became VERY clear. I limited my schedule in a big way, taking very few photo shoots, and learning to say “no.” That’s a hard one for this recovering people pleaser.
Then 2023 started out in the usual way, with big plans and dreams, like we all tend to do, given a fresh start. I fulfilled a lifelong dream with a trip to the Holy Land and made summer vacation plans to one of my favorite places, Colorado. Hiking is one of my favorite things to do. It clears your mind, works your body, and for me, returns my focus to the Creator. My focus was blurred a little when my ‘fine, I’ll do it’ attitude landed me with a completely torn ACL and meniscus tear while hiking. Devastated, we cancelled our trip to Colorado. After some scheduling mess-ups with doctor’s offices and desperation for a getaway for some fun and relaxation, we rescheduled our trip to Colorado and made the most of it. Eventually, I had to make the adult decision to have surgery to repair my ACL. I call it an ‘adult’ decision because I was coping just fine without the surgery. Having surgery would put me down for several more weeks, on top of the original month and a half I was unable to bear any weight on my leg when it happened. Once again, my schedule was severely limited. And once again, I felt God calling me to ‘release.’
But this year, ‘release’ sounded a lot more like ‘sabbath.’ Remember the Sabbath. It’s not a suggestion or a recommendation, it’s actually a command. One that is extremely overlooked in my life. I don’t sit still well, and I don’t rest well, and God knows it. He knows me. He knows me even better than I do.
He has constantly, patiently, lovingly pried my fingers from this façade of control I think I manage so well. As a result, my family started implementing one day a week as our sabbath. For us, this was Sunday. It didn’t and doesn’t always look like a day at home in our pajamas. Sundays meant we went to church, worshipped, served, and then went home to rest. No going to friends’ houses, no errands or grocery runs. Very minimal housework. Time to sit, talk to each other, play games, and sometimes watch a movie. God is good. He wants good for us. The ‘release’ I have been so stubborn to give, is slowly being replaced with a grip on something I don’t ever want to lose—a vision of His heart. Run well, not fast. Run well, so you can finish well.
While I miss seeing the sweet families and friends, the clients I see every year from behind my camera, I hope I can encourage you to ‘release’ as well. Maybe that looks like just doing a single tree this year, and not all the extra house decor. Maybe stay home instead of going to 14 family gatherings on Christmas Day. Maybe order food for dinner instead of stressing over cooking a huge meal and washing all the dirty dishes. Maybe take a drive to look at lights in your pajamas instead of heading to the work Christmas party.
Run well, not fast. Run well, so you can finish well.
Questions To Consider:
1. What are you doing on a daily, or at least weekly basis to rest in God’s presence? What more could you do to emphasize rest in your life?
2. What are some ways you can approach this new year while taking a posture of peace and calm?
Prayer to Pray:
Father, thank you for your unwavering love and attention to what I need more of as well as what I need less of in my life. You are so gracious to gently guide me toward you and your command for remembering the Sabbath. Please help me to continue to look to you when I feel like I am losing control of a situation, because I never really had control in the first place—you do. And for that, I am thankful. We love you. Amen.