Right behind body image, stress and exhaustion are low sex drive culprits.
Our bodies, souls, and minds weren’t designed to be bombarded with such continual stimulation that the Christmas season gives us.
Say no to say yes.
So, as we look December straight in the eye, I want to give you permission to say, “No.”
Practice with me,
“No, thank you.”
“No, that won’t fit into my schedule.”
“No, I have another obligation.”
Or just plain, “No.” No explanation required.
(Now, I know it’s weird that I’m encouraging you to say, “No.” When most of the time I’m encouraging you to say, “Yes,” to sexual intimacy. This is different. In saying, “No,” you are leaving room for a great big, “Yes!” )
I am talking to the women who have to do it all. Some women need to be encouraged to step it up. But, there is a certain segment of ladies who either can’t say no or just get so much affirmation from doing it all that they are going crazy trying to accomplish. Frankly, I get it! I was insanely involved in everything until my kids said, “Mom, you do too much. We’d like you at home more.” It wasn’t even Christmas time when they said this.
If you are involved in every activity at church, school, and community – stop.
For those ladies with an overfull schedule outside of the bedroom and an underwhelming amount of action inside of the bedroom due to your exhaustion, may I suggest you sit down and decide what is truly the most important things for you to accomplish this Christmas Season?
Pare it down to four things this month
Your relationship with:
Christmas is about relationships. God came to earth as a baby to restore humanity’s friendship with him. The Christmas story is the beginning of much more than a friendship, but friendship is a part of it. Focus on relationships.
Your relationship with Christ
Choose one thing, just one, to honor and build your relationship with Christ during December outside of your normal worship, prayer, and study times. Be like Christ and connect with a hurting person, either solo or with your family.
Here are some ideas:
Help serve a meal at a homeless shelter
Visit a local nursing home
Ride along to deliver meals on wheels.
Serving to honor Jesus doesn’t require anything other than your presence. There’s no need to whip up 18 dozen intricately iced cookies. Just your listening and caring ears are all that is needed.
Your relationship with your husband
Choose one thing, just one, to honor and build your relationship with your spouse during December. This means just the two of you. (There may be an office Christmas party that you will be obligated to go to. That doesn’t count.)
Give each other the gift of full attention. Nothing fancy is needed. Romance isn’t about the stuff, it’s about connecting with your hearts.
Here are some ideas:
Stay up late one night with your husband after the kids have gone to bed to have a cup of hot chocolate together and chat by the twinkle of the Christmas lights. (On our recent podcast, linked below, Chris suggests you make love by the glow of the Christmas tree.) Since you pared down your agenda for December, you’ll be okay with a little less sleep one night.
Pair dinner and lots of private conversation with free Christmas concert. (Have trouble getting the conversation pump primed? Try these conversation starters.)
Explore your downtown area together. (And no, that’s not a euphemism!) There are usually seasonal festivities and lights in city centers.
If your church offers “Drop & Shop” service (where you leave the kids in church members’ care while you go and supposedly shop) take them up on it! Instead of drop & shop, I suggest you drop and go do the horizontal bop. What’s better? Building the relationship with your hubby or building the economy?
Whatever you choose to do, turn off all your electronics. (If your kids are with a sitter you’ll want access to a phone, but other than for emergencies, don’t look at it!)
Your relationship with yourself
That sounds weird, doesn’t it? But, during this season fraught with high expectations we can easily become overwhelmed and overextended. It’s important to give yourself some breathing room so your emotions don’t get the best of you.
Connect with your calm inner spirit. Even Jesus went away from the crowds and his closest friends to be alone. We are told he prayed. He was fully human (as well as fully Divine) and he needed alone time. If we take our cue from Jesus, self-care does not include other people. Self-care is not a girls’ night out. Self-care is about replenishing your drained essence with quiet and connection with God.
The best self-care, imho, is prayer and Bible study. Hopefully, you already have prayer and Bible study built into your normal schedule.
Here are some other ideas:
soak in the tub (while hubby puts kids to bed).
Give yourself a manicure or a pedicure.
Spend an hour putting your makeup on (before you go out with your husband see #2).
Put your favorite, softest pajamas on as soon as you get home from work.
Some find just being outside replenishing.
Find a local park with a walking trail to walk when the sun is shining.
Buy yourself a bunch of flowers at the grocery and spend an hour arranging them.
Color in a coloring book.
Create a Christmas ornament.
Or, create a nice meal or baked good, by yourself (but only if cooking is something you really enjoy).
Although, this isn’t exactly self-care. It will help you keep sane. Do you need more help around the house during December? Ask your husband to help with specific things. Now, I realize it takes a bit of energy to assign tasks. But, in the long run his help will be valuable.
Know some teens who could use a little bit of pocket cash? Recruit them to help you wrap gifts or help you decorate your house or help clean.
Your relationship with your family
If you have children, there are lots of opportunities to attend special events. Although this is fun, does it build connection with your kids? Pare down the frenzy and find time to give each one your children full attention. If you don’t have children, do you have nieces and nephews?
Find an opportunity to hang out with each of them individually. Don’t multi-task. If a little project would facilitate conversation, cut out shapes from store bought cookie dough (all ages of kids still like to do this). Or, you could take one child along with you when you go to serve (see #1). However, don’t hang out with them with the intent of teaching them anything. Just let the conversation flow. God will present the moments where you can influence them.
Another suggestion to connect with family is that you identify one person in your extended family to pray over. It doesn’t have to be the most troubled of all your relatives. It could be the one who appears the strongest and most well put together. Praying over someone is another avenue of connecting with them.
There are certain activities that you will be obligated to attend. However, in my season of paring down, I realized some of the activities I considered obligatory really weren’t. Think long and hard and prayerfully about your commitments this year.
To have vitality for your marriage and retain sexual energy, pare it down! Say no to say yes.
Other Seasonal Posts: