20 Ways to Overcome Holiday Stress


Holidays can be stressful. We weren’t made for stress. Stress is harmful to us. It negatively affects us physically, mentally, emotionally, and behaviorally. It can overwhelm our personal wellbeing and strain our relationships. Christmas is meant to be a time for joy, peace on earth, goodwill to men, but because of stress, Christmas can be a time for fretting, fighting, and fatigue. To get the most out of Christmas, we need to avoid stress.

Here are 20 tips for avoiding holiday stress:

  1. It’s okay to say “no.” Don’t pressure yourself or others to do EVERYTHING.
  2. Start your day looking to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you for what to do and how to do it.
  3. Grieving a loss can sneak up on us without us knowing it. Take time to feel. Let God go there are comfort you.
  4. Live within your means. If you can’t afford gifts, limit spending.
  5. Respect traditions – don’t be bound by them. Enjoying Jesus is more important than the pressure of performing.
  6. Communicate stress with loved ones. If there are any cracks, you don’t want the pressure to break you to pieces.
  7. Initially plan alone time and guard it.
  8. If you eat some sugar, choose wisely. Sugar is poison to our body and mind and will wear us out.
  9. Physical activity is a great way to release pressure.
  10. There is nothing better than soaking your spirit with God’s presence.
  11. Are you laughing? Laughing relieves tension. Get around a funny friend. Get around kids. Watch a comedy.
  12. Too much work and no play builds up tension. Get around people and have some fun.
  13. If crowds stress you, shop online or go to stores during slow hours.
  14. Too much Christmas? It’s okay. Take a day and do something not Christmasy.
  15. If you are married, make sure you are getting under the mistletoe. Enough said.
  16. Make Christmas your own. Don’t set unrealistic expectations. Don’t compare yourself to others.
  17. Bump projects. If a task doesn’t have to be done this year, can you bump it to after the holidays?
  18. Inward focus is like an emotional log jam. Giving has joy; it’s good for the giver.
  19. Stress turns emotions up, so get your heart in control of your soul. Keep any drama under.
  20. Get your full sleep. If the body doesn’t rejuvenate, stress is inevitable. A good Christmas means rest!

I hope these are helpful tips for you to overcome holiday stress and enjoy the Christmas season!

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You Can’t Put the Devil in his Place Until You Get Into Yours

We need to know who we are in Christ Jesus.

  1. We need more than an intellectual understanding. We need a spiritual understanding.
  2. It’s the Holy Spirit that uncovers spiritual mysteries to the humble in heart.
  3. God wants us to experience a rushing of His love and a flood of His power.

We need to put the devil in his place.

  1. The devil is defeated because Jesus whooped Him through the cross and resurrection.
  2. When we yielded to Christ, our union placed us in position with Christ in God.
  3. Jesus delegated His authority to us. God, in all His power, backs up the name of Jesus.
  4. As we continue to yield to Christ, we take our place of authority and take action.

In Jesus, we always win!

I Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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When God Leads Us Through Leaders

Here I am – boxes on boxes stacked around me. Most of our things are being prepared to be moved into storage, and I have to be moved out in three weeks.

Recently my husband approached me with an idea, “I think it’s time to sell the house.” Selling the house was not something I was thinking about, but I checked my heart, and I sensed the Holy Spirit confirming it was the right thing to do. When Jerry knew I was in agreement with him, he called a realtor. Before I knew it, our house was in contract and we were going to double our investment.

This doesn’t mean we haven’t had problems to solve or conflicts to navigate through over the past couple of weeks. Jerry is an aggressive man and he works hard to get things done. When I know I can’t do what he’s asking, I have to let him know. We work it out. That’s what we do when we are committed to one another.

The world often misses the Bible’s teaching on authority in the home. It’s seen as an antiquated idea that the husband is the leader of the wife. Unfortunately, some of the Christian church has made mistakes in teaching the subject of authority in the home. No wonder many Christians, especially in the United States, struggle with the concept of the husband having authority over the wife. However, it is a Bible truth, and there is a blessing with it.

I know how to hear God’s voice in my spirit.

I have experienced God’s leading in my heart.

Yet there have been times where God has decided to lead me by leading my husband.

Jerry knows I am spiritual, I am smart, and I have an inner strength. Yet, when God is speaking to my husband about our family, Jerry asks me to yield my strength and follow his leading as my husband. The yielding of strength requires the quality of meekness.

My husband loves me and cares about me. He values my input. He wants my participation. He’s not a dictator. He doesn’t use threats. When there has been conflict, we work together to resolve it. When there has been a problem, we work together to find a solution. We communicate. We get a plan. Sometimes it takes some compromise to get on the same page about the details. He’s not perfect, he’s human; but He’s God’s leader for me. When I honor that God-given role, God has access to move in our marriage, even though there have been mistakes. God’s anointing flows where there is unity. The unity is more important than the things we’ve done or haven’t done. The unity is necessary for the anointing.

Meekness is a quality we all should have; it’s a characteristic of Christ. It’s also a characteristic Peter mentions for wives, a quality he writes as being “precious in the sight of God.” God made women to be strong and capable, so to be able to follow the leading of a husband does require meekness.

My husband is also my pastor. There have been times when he has had a leading from God about the church that I haven’t. God doesn’t always directly tell me about His leading, but He does indirectly tell me by telling my leader, my pastor. It’s a blessing to have God leading our leaders in our church, but it does require trust. It does require submission.

For people who have been manipulated in their past, trust can be difficult. For people who have been disappointed in the past, submission can be a challenge. Making a commitment or staying faithful can be a struggle. God wants us to know His blessings, and part of that blessing is found in being able to trust God’s delegated authority.

God leads leaders so that our leaders can lead us. It’s important that we honor and receive the gifts God has given to us.

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JESUS in Jerusalem – What a Beautiful Mystery!

I believe there is a blessing in understanding the connection between Jesus and Jerusalem that uncovers an available, abundant life in God as well as an expectation for our future.

First I would like to look at the meaning of Jerusalem, then of Jesus.


Jerusalem has been translated, “Dwelling of Peace” or “City of Peace.” The Hebrew name for Jerusalem includes the word “salem” or “shalom.” The definition of shalom is peace, but also so much more! It also means wholeness, soundness, and completeness. It includes wholeness in health, prosperity and peace, nothing lacking. Not only is Jerusalem a physical location; Jerusalem is illustrative of a position in the sphere of God, a way of abiding in the abundance of His life.

Jerusalem is located on Mount Zion, thus the term “Zion” has become synonymous with Jerusalem. In Scripture, Zion also illustrated a spiritual kingdom, mentioned in both the old and the new testaments. This spiritual kingdom is descriptive of a position in God, a position where we experience life in God, a life that is full, abundant, and overflowing.[1]

Jerusalem is also known as the City of David. King David built his palace on Mount Zion in Jerusalem because of the spring that ran underneath it, waters that led to the pool of Siloam. David was a King, and he was a type and shadow of a coming King, Jesus Christ.


I believe the city of Jerusalem is more than a city; it is symbolic of Christ and salvation for every human being who will receive it.

Jerusalem was a place of peace, or shalom, wholeness. Jesus came to save us. In the Greek, the word “save” is sozo and it means, “to make whole.” Similar to shalom, sozo refers to a wholeness that provided healing, prosperity, peace, freedom, restoration.

In I Peter 2:6 Peter refers to Jesus as being the cornerstone of Zion, that spiritual city, a blessed place to live in God’s presence. It is the city of Jerusalem to the Jew, but it is a position of knowing God for every Christian.

In 2 Samuel 7:12-13 God tells David the Messiah would be his descendent, a son who would establish His kingdom forever. In the Gospels, Jesus was called the “Son of David,” an acknowledgement that He was indeed the Messiah.[2]

I find one of the most significant mentions as the Son of David to be during the Triumphal Entry. Here JESUS enters into JERUSALEM. Here, the Savior enters into God’s city and into the temple, the dwelling place of God. The people called out to Jesus, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” Hosanna means, “Glory to the God who saves us!” The Son of David is riding into the city of David, the place where God’s presence has residence, the place where God’s abundant life is experienced and known.


Psalm 122:6 says we are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, or the “shalom” of Jerusalem. When we pray for the wholeness of the city, we are also praying for the restoration of the city to the people God gave it to in a covenant, the Jews.

I believe we are also praying for that restoration of relationship with God. David was a man who warred for God and his nation. When it was time to build the temple, God would not let David build it because he was not a king of peace. The next in the family line of Jesus Christ was Solomon, a man of peace, but more than that, a man who represented God’s restoration from sin. We remember that Solomon was one of many of David’s sons, but Solomon was born from a relationship between David and Bathsheba, a relationship that started with adultery, broken covenants, bloodshed, and murder. The peace of Jerusalem is the wholeness of our salvation and forgiveness.

The Bible promises that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, will again enter into Jerusalem, the City of Peace. He will come down on the Mount of Olives and enter Jerusalem and it’s temple, like the Morning Star, from the East. He will rise and He will reign over the nations and over our hearts.

For those who understand end-time prophecy, as Jesus fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy to end week 69 with His first entry into Jerusalem as King, Jesus will fulfill Daniel’s prophecy to end week 70 with a second entry into Jerusalem as King. Prophecy will be fulfilled and PEACE will reign in the earth through our Savior, Jesus Christ, from a place of salvation, Jerusalem, God’s city.

To me, Palm Sunday is a day to celebrate our King, the Prince of Peace, and to celebrate and receive the wholeness of the salvation He brings to us. Hosanna! Glory to the God who saves us!

[1] Hebrews 12:22

[2] Matthew 9:27; 15:22; 20:30; 21:9; 21:5

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Be a Builder

Ephesians 4:29 Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it. AMPC

In other translations, Ephesians 4:29 says our words should “edify.” To edify means to “build up.”

  • Do our words edify or build up a person’s development or do we side in with their dysfunction?
  • Do our words build up our church, our country, and our leaders or do we side in with negativity and criticism?
  • Do our words build up the people outside of our circles or do we side in with fault-finding and gossip?

Let’s build others up. If someone is a builder, I can put a tool in their hand, like a hammer, and they will build. If someone is a demo person, the same tool can be used to tear down. The tools God has given to us are our words, our attitudes, and our actions.

How can we use our tools to build up?

  • Be positive with our conversations, even our private ones.
  • Be productive with our actions, doing our part to serve one another and to give.
  • Be pleasing to God with attitudes that honor His values.

Why? To restore, establish, increase, and strengthen.

  • Otherwise, we are found negligent in God’s purpose, not doing our part.
  • Or worse, are found rebellious, working against God’s plan and purpose.

How could our tools tear down?

Many times we aren’t even aware how powerful our words, attitudes or actions are. Our conversations can be destructive when we side in with the wrong things others are saying or feeling or doing. Perhaps we just want to make someone feel better about themselves where they are at, when what they really need is to be challenged. Maybe we don’t like confrontation, so instead of correcting someone, we stay complacent and don’t use our tools at all.

Other times people are aware of their influence, and they intentionally sabotage a person, a marriage, a family, a church, a community or a country. Their words could be clever, their attitudes could be cunning, and their actions could be conflicting. These people can be shady, using a slight word to cast doubt on a person or a group of persons.

In our area, we have noticed and had conversations with other pastors about the number of church splits in our region. There have been many Christians who have tried to sway people away from their pastor or their home church, some inviting their friends to change churches or even start their own church using the resources and connections that their own pastor gave them. They often try to justify their divisive behavior by finding fault in their pastor or church, leaving out of conflict.

Jerry and I once left a church to pursue missions. Several families in the church told us that if we started a church in the same area, they would come with us. They would serve, they would tithe, and they would support us. They pointed out the faults in their new pastor and told us how wonderful we were. Such an option was filled with deception and dishonor. Jerry and I compared our situation to that of David’s opportunity to take from King Saul, an imperfect man. David refused to touch God’s anointed. We quickly denounced the idea.

Consider what Paul said in Romans 15:20 “And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation.” The other man’s foundation was not their church building; that foundation was that pastor’s congregation. You see, a pastor is a shepherd, and the sheep represent those entrusted to the care of that shepherd. For another shepherd to begin their own sheepfold by leading other sheep to leave their shepherd is a thief, a wolf. It is wrong and dishonorable to start a church or grow a church by taking away people or resources from another pastor.

When Jerry and I started Freedom House, we started with people who came to us who did not have a home church, had left their home church, or a church leader from another church sent them to us. As a new church, needed help. When a staff member reached out to a group of their friends to help us, they wanted to then leave their church and make Freedom House their home. Jerry and I contacted the other church. Their leaders knew the group was young and immature, but loved them and counted them as their own. We sent the group back to their home church and helped reestablish them. As a result, we have good standing with this pastor and our community, and even more valuable, we have good standing with God.

The character of a man or woman or group who would take people and resources away from the pastor, without that pastor’s blessing, is someone with poor integrity. Many churches that start on the foundation of another leader will eventually fall. I have seen it time and time again. God cannot bless dishonor. However, I have heard of a church repent of its faulty start, and God has shown mercy and given longevity. I have also seen churches where God removed the rebellious church starter or influencer, bring in someone new with honorable character, and restore and flourish a group of believers. God has tremendous mercy and the ability to undo and repair our mistakes, whether they were intentional or not.

So let’s examine our conversations, our attitudes, and our actions – are they in line with God’s vision and values for that person or that community? Are they honoring God, honoring authority, honoring family and marriage? If so, let’s continue. If not, it’s a matter of our heart, so let’s start with a fresh surrender, then realign our words, our attitudes, and our actions with what God wants. Let’s choose to be that person who can stand before our Father as someone who loves Him and helps Him to build up rather than someone who had their own agenda and tear others down in order to get it.

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