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It was cold outside. Ice crystals clung to the shutters like tears descending from high places, and slippery patches appeared on every street. Ohio’s seasons had finally aligned; winter was here. The animals outside my window didn’t seem to mind. Squirrels hurried here and there collecting nuts for hibernation, while the birds migrated south to escape the soon brutal winds and tumultuous negative temperatures. Nature didn’t appear worried. Why was I?
Inside my home, all appeared well. Dishes were organized and put away. Stockings were hung from the chimney with care. The tree sparkled in the dimly lighted reflection of windows. Pristine decorations hung from every corner. Yet something within me felt off. This was my first Christmas as a married woman. “I should feel ecstatic,” I thought. But inner peace eluded my grasp. I couldn’t shake the overwhelming expectations, anticipations, and anxieties plaguing my soul. I struggled to find a place to rest. To hide. I didn’t know how to process all the emotions I was feeling. After the holiday, winter blues would be upon me.
On the outside, I was thriving. Shining. Succeeding. Insanely productive. A success. But within me, I was crumbling. Desperately reaching for hope amid the busyness around me, without a clue how to reach that destination. Many around me face these challenges, especially during the holiday season. In a world that praises rushing from one season to the next, overworking ourselves to death, presenting five-course feasts, and buying the best gifts, we lose sight of what matters.
As days grow shorter and nights grow longer, battling winter blues can be difficult. I believe Christ wants us to cultivate peace by abiding, prioritizing the present, and creating boundaries.