Lindsay Talsness grew up at New Covenant and is currently an NCBC Kids Ministry "Lead Storyteller" and a freelance writer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We love how she blends her talent for writing and her heart for families in this blog post. Thanks, Lindsay!
I really, really love summer.
I also live in Iowa, so you know, there’s a substantial part of the year called winter.
I’ve had winters that I complained about the weather, and it really didn’t do anything for my family’s well-being, and let’s face it, it was sin. So, while I still can’t make my heart swell with excitement for January weather, I can get a lot of help from God with how I handle this time of year.
Here are a few of my January survival techniques – maybe one or two of them will help you, too!
1. Memorize some Scripture.
Here are a couple short ones that get me back on track when I’m grumpy.
“Do everything without complaining or arguing.” Philippians 2:14
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again. Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:4
2. Quick! List 10 things you’re thankful for – out loud.
My kids and I do this pretty regularly in the car when one or all of us are struggling. When we take time to list just a few of the ways God is kind and good to us – whether simple or deep, it quickly shifts our perspective.
3. Find your anthem. An anthem is the song I play full volume that reminds me of what is true when everything in me wants to be downcast. For me, this year, it’s “I’m so Blessed” by CAIN. Give it a listen!
4. Conquer a read-aloud book as a family.
Nothing makes my family feel cozier or more accomplished than reading all the way through a book in January. Some of our favorites have been “Henry Huggins,” “The Green Ember,” “The Mysterious Benedict Society,” and Classic Starts “Robin Hood,” and “Little House in the Big Woods.” Our best time to read aloud is right before bed, but I know other families who read before supper, during lunch, or at breakfast.
5. Conquer a sledding hill.
Getting everyone ready to go sledding always seems like a huge ordeal, but I’ve found that once I’m out there, decked out in a ridiculous amount of snow gear, I have a great time. We all soak up some vitamin D, get some exercise, and feel brighter. Even if you’re not up for sledding, you can still go for a tromp through the snow.
6. Bring order to chaos.
When I’m really feeling cooped up, I like to crank up the tunes, audiobook or a podcast, and sort LEGO bricks for 20 minutes. Or declutter a messy drawer or closet. There’s something oddly soothing about bringing order to a small area of your life when all you’re wishing for is warmer weather.
7. Meet up for a meal.
Call another family and ask them to meet you for pizza one night. Bring a game for the kids to play while the grown-ups chat.
8. Be a blessing.
I think the fastest way to stop feeling sorry for myself is to find someone to serve – the closer to me, the better. January often provides a great opportunity through shoveling snow. My kids and I headed to a couple different neighbors recently to clean-up those snowy spots on their driveway and walkway that they hadn’t had time to get to.
Other ways you could reach out include sending a “Hey, I’m just checking in! How’s your family doing?” text to a couple of neighbors, baking some bread to deliver (everyone loves fresh, warm bread), or mailing an encouraging note/drawing to friends or family.
9. Send up a simple honest prayer.
"God, I’m struggling to enjoy my family. I’m grumpy and dissatisfied and I don’t like how I feel. I know it’s sin to act this way, and I want to stop. God, please help change my heart. Help me enjoy my family and see them the way you see them. Give me praise and contentment and purpose. I know you can do all these things and more and that you love me and my family. In Jesus name, Amen."
So hang in there, New Cov families. Spring is on the way, and in the meantime, my family is fighting the good fight alongside you in choosing joy this January!