Thursday, January 1, 2009

Avoiding the Post-Christmas Let-Down

The phenomenon reminds me of coming home from church camp. As a young person, I enjoyed experiencing a spiritual high each year as I worshipped with friends, learned from dynamic speakers, and played hard on too little sleep. That one-two punch always left me depleted, though, and the days following camp were often marked by a low—a brief time of depression or the blues.

I think many of us experience something similar right after Christmas. After all, we’ve put so much energy and enthusiasm into decorating, cooking, and entertaining for the weeks leading up to Christmas. The time following can be a let-down of giant proportions.

My attitude toward this common occurrence changed dramatically in 2004, when I suffered a massive stroke on our trip home from Colorado to Texas. You may read in more detail about this life-changing event on my website (, but as anyone who undergoes an extreme medical crisis can tell you it gives you a different perspective on life—and the things we tend to gripe about or take for granted. While this certainly doesn’t mean that I run around every day singing praise songs and thanking God for the very gift of life, it has influenced me to slow down, stop worrying so much and to experience greater contentment right where I am. January of 2009 marks the 5th anniversary of my stroke. However, the memories of that day are as fresh in my mind—and the minds of my family members—as if it were yesterday. And the truth I rest in is this: Who do I live for? Who’s important to me? What can I do now to influence my eternity?

I’ll be honest with you. I wish it hadn’t taken a stroke that paralyzed the entire right side of my body to get my attention. I wish I had been more attentive to God and been able to hear His voice and determine His direction for my life without going through such a crisis. But it is what it is. I did go through it. I not only lived, but I’m also able to praise Him for the miracles He worked through it. Praise God for His incredible wisdom and for loving me in spite of myself.

All I have to do is read back through the story of my life at that time to help me maintain a proper—optimistic, peaceful, eternal—perspective today. I invite you to do the same.

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