Pursuing Peace Over Pleasing People
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. Romans 14:5
15 years ago, the Lord convicted me about celebrating Christmas. Before I continue, this will not be a piece used to bash anyone’s beliefs. If you are interested, there are plenty of stories out there about the origins holidays and opinions on whether followers of Christ should be celebrating any of them. As the Scripture above tells us, however, be fully persuaded in your own mind. Don’t follow me, find your own way. The following is simply my story.
Back to the topic at hand, over the last decade and a half, I have spent a great deal of time trying to navigate what God convicted me of while being surrounded by others who were not led in the same way. It has not always been easy from a relationship and social perspective. Before I had a child and nieces and nephews, I would just stay away from the big, gift-giving moments of celebrations. I would come around when it was time for the family to eat and share memories. After having my son and having my nieces and nephews get older, it became more difficult. The children would purchase me gifts, and I would feel bad for not getting them anything. So, I started to compromise. However, I didn’t call it that, because that would mean that I was being disobedient to what God led me to do. Instead, I made up all of these excuses and exceptions as to how I could still celebrate the day and not be out of tune with God.
The children were not the only issue, I also was in a situation where none of the adults in my circle- none, zip, zero- were convicted in the same manner. It was all about getting together and exchanging gifts with everyone in the room. Christ was rarely, if ever, even acknowledged. Although over the years I confided with adults in my life about my feelings regarding Christmas in particular, many did not take me seriously, and still expected me to participate in the normal traditions. I do not blame them, because my wishy-washy, say-one-thing-and-do-another behavior was the reason they acted in this manner.
Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men. Mark 7:8
After marrying my husband four years ago, my dilemma was compounded. I now had a spouse and an extended family to whom Christmas was a very big deal. I had an extreme amount of anxiety when I thought about telling them where I stood- or should have been standing regarding the day. Thus, initially, I, once again, decided to not seek God and make up an excuse that was really a disobedient compromise. I told myself many lies about why I was still participating in actions away from which God called me. Starting in 2015, the Holy Spirit began to hit me hard with some truths about my choices. In a nutshell, I had to be in or out, with Him or against Him, I could not be a lukewarm, fence sitter. If He gave me something to do, I need to be fully persuaded in my mind to do it. Further, if I don’t fully understand what it looks like to follow Him in this Christmas-less journey, I need to seek Him and not man- or my flesh- for the answers.
I was uncomfortable.
I did not want to disobey God, but I also did not want to disappoint anyone. I did not want to disappoint my son. I did not want to disappoint my husband. I did not want to disappoint people. The adults in my family, even more so than the children, would not understand if I did not follow the normal order of the day. During 2016, however, the Lord has taken me on the road to re-claiming my peace. Along the way, He made the decision for me to follow my conviction without apology much easier. After coming to a true, final choice that I would seek Him for the way He wanted me to celebrate or not celebrate the season, I can breathe better than I have in years. I am not compelled to purchase gifts. I am not compelled to leave my house to attend 10 different homes in the span of 48 hours. I am compelled to follow Him, because He is my God. My son is not my God. My husband is not my God. My family is not my God. The traditions of man are not my God. I am not sorry for pursuing peace that comes from following His directives.
Do you feel free this holiday? To connect with me further, you may follow me on Twitter at @NowWithNicole.
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