The Christmas Conflicted Heart

Tis the season to be jolly? A time for comfort and joy? Peace on earth?  Rest for the merry gentlmen?
Don’t you wish!
In church ministry, you are the ones ensuring Christmas “happens” for everyone else… sometimes at the expense of your own personal experience.  For leaders, the expectations of the season can quickly sabotage the very point of Christmas  for ourselves — a time to remember God’s restorative love for human kind, demonstrated through the gift of a savior.
Jesus. God in the flesh. God with us.
But why is it that, if we are honest, those very words can seem like white noise to those of us who lead on the front lines of the local church? No doubt, as “professional ministers” we have a way of rising to the occasion to fulfill all that is expected of us at Christmas, while denying our own hearts. This default mode results in what I call a CONFLICTED HEART.
My challenge (and gift) to you this Christmas season is the encouragement to make time, within all the expectation of the season, to tend to your own heart. Stop, reflect, be honest, meditate, pray, and cooperate with God, as He will graciously turn a conflicted heart toward a heart filled with peace and genuine contentment. This is not only His desire for you, but mine too!
Of course, easier said than done to tend to your own heart in the midst of a chaotic season. In the times when emotions are easily amplified (for better or worse), here are some tips that will help you morph from a conflicted heart to an aligned heart, where you are sure to experience the fullness of Joy in Christ Jesus:
  1. Pay attention to what you are feeling (And then practice what you would tell others! You are worth it)
  2. Stop posing and keep it real (You are not the savior of the world)
  3. Embrace failure (The road to success is paved with failure)
  4. Create time for meaningful conversation (Keep the “why” in the forefront of your conversation)
  5. Practice grassroots kindness (Especially to strangers)
  6. Keep your inadequacies in check (God is made strong in our weakness)
  7. Love the unloveable (They are all around you )
  8. Practice generosity when no one is looking (It really is better to give than to receive)
  9. Humble yourselves in the site of God and people (Be quick to say “I’m sorry”)
  10. Create something (We are made in the image of our Creator and designed to be creative)
  11. Call a life-giving friend (Someone who you haven’t talked to in at least 6 months)
  12. Clean something (Something about a clean car, garage, closet, etc. is good medicine for the heart)
  13. Write down 3 dreams for the coming year and tell someone (Nothing comes into existence before it is spoken)
  14. Walk by faith (God’s got you)
As we at Slingshot Group focus on our mission to build remarkable teams through staffing and coaching, we know that your personal condition is foundational to contributing to a remarkable team. And we’re here to help you. We pray that as you experience another Christmas, you will find the Christmas story, the Christmas carols, and all of your family traditions resonating deep in your heart with undeniable truth.
Merry Christmas!

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