Christmas is a strange time. It's a period of ferocious activity. It's a time of great joy, but due to that label, when people don't feel it, Christmas can be a time of immense sorrow. It's time of giving, but because of our busy materialistic culture, that giving often breeds stress and exhaustion.
So yeah, Christmas is a strange time and has evolved a lot from a celebration of Jesus' birth into something quite different. But Christmas is quite often the dawn of change, bringing forth the new and the last hoorah for a whole year of adventure.
For me, this Christmas is the start of a big change. If you missed my last recent update, you might not know that I've left my day job to pursue writing on a more permanent basis. Read more about this in my first life update: Times are changing.
But that's not the only thing.
Stephen and I are also going jetsetting. In January, I'll be flying out to Thailand and Stephen will join me a week later. From there, we'll be making several stops across South East Asia and Australasia. There were a few motivations to take this trip, but mostly it was a God-inspired passion to enrich my writing through experiencing other cultures in ways I haven't done before. What's great is that in most of our stops, we are staying with local families who live and work there. I want to understand more about how other people around the world view working life and what it means for how they see themselves and how they see their lives. There are so many more stories out there to discover and I'm ready to find them.
The trip will also give me the space to step back, figure out what God has for me in this new season of self-employed, writing life. There are a few projects I want to plan and develop, as well as blogging about my trip - do join my mailing list to keep updated.
How am I feeling about it? Excitedly terrified. I have days of pure giddiness and days of bubbling anxiety. I've never travelled internationally alone like this and there have been moments of feeling overwhelmed. Just this week I wasn't sure what I was doing with finishing work, and I was generally exhausted with the amount there is to organise in such a short amount of time. But I've been focusing on these verses.
19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. 1 John 3:19-24 (New International Version)
Whether our emotions or our hearts trouble us, God is bigger and He can guide us to what he wants us to be or do. Whether you have faith or not, taking a stand and not letting our hearts condemn us is an important truth. I believe we do that through the power of the Spirit and I'll rest on that as I travel and see more of this beautiful yet chaotic creation.
I'll keep you all updated and Merry Christmas.