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Day 2 of 28: What’s Standing In Your Way?

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 HANNAH

I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.

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What's Standing In Your Way?

Later in the journey, we will encounter a band of magi who visit the baby Jesus.

The Passion Translation of Matthew reads: When they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, they were overcome. Falling to the ground at his feet, they worshiped him.

When I first encountered this, I read it three times. So much joy and awe overcame them that they fell to the ground and began to worship.

I sat and journaled about their dramatic reaction– them losing all composure over a baby who’d done nothing yet– and this thought came to me: What’s keeping me from worshipping like that? Why don’t I prize Jesus in that way?

When I set out to write this series, I felt worn out and exhausted. I was parched for joy and didn’t know how to recover. I was 17 weeks pregnant with a baby girl and entering my favorite time of year, but I could not figure out how to enjoy the moment. 

But as I asked the question– what’s standing in my way?– I knew almost immediately what the barrier was. My joy was blocked by one thing: comparing myself to others.

This slow, seeping comparison started small, and then, as I allowed it to take up space in my brain, it continued to grow and spread to the point where it was taking life away from me. I can tell you instantly that the gasoline that fuels the fires of comparison is social media.

I’d gotten into mindlessly scrolling. Every piece of media would tell me a story about how I wasn’t good enough. 

I didn’t add up. 

I didn’t look like her. 

I wasn’t thriving like him. 

My house wasn’t like hers. 

The list went on and on. Toxic dialogues constantly spun in my brain, making me want to give up.

These things stood in the way of my worship and awe.  

If I permitted them, these things would continue to spread and suffocate. I would go through the Christmas season so absentmindedly that I never even stopped to worship.

So I cut the cord. There and then.

I cut back on the mindless scrolling. It was almost instantly that my joy began returning to me. My creativity perked up. My optimism rose from the dead. I began to look forward to the days and weeks ahead of me. I immediately felt the positive effects of making space for God to move.

I say all this because if we are not careful, then we will trek through this Advent season like zombies– parched for joy and starved of wonder– because of something in our lives that is standing in the way of our worship.

We need to be proactive in excavating our lives for that which isn’t giving us any joy or fuel and then pulling it up by the root.

We need to clear the space for worship.

The most beautiful resource we can give to God, and what I think he craves the most, is our time. When we get serious about moving barriers out of the way to make room for worship, God is glorified and amplified in our lives. 

Eugene Peterson writes, “Worship integrates both our vertical relationship with God and our horizontal relationships with one another into one reality.” When we clear the roadblocks, we become free to turn our lives into worship.

This season will happen so quickly. We will blink and miss it if we are not intentional with our daily moments.

As we enter the story and begin in Luke tomorrow, I invite you to look at your life and ask the tricky question: What is distracting me? What is standing in the way of my worship?

Do the hard thing.

Uproot the noise.

Dare to take back your joy this season.

Reading

Matthew 2:11

Steal This Prayer

Dear God, this is a season to celebrate what you’ve done for this weary world. I don’t want to miss that celebration. Would you please help me clear the space and move things out of the way to worship you? I want to be so in awe of you this season. Please help me get there.



I Love Hearing from You!

In moving my blog to a newer platform, I sadly had to let go of the thousands of comments and conversations that came from readers over the last 10+ years. This grieves me deeply but I know there will new conversations, fresh words of wisdom, and opportunities to create close community once again. I’d love to hear from you in the comments section. I’ll be reading + replying on a regular basis.

LEAVE A LOVE NOTE +

  1. Allison says:

    I loved your advent reading last year so am excited to follow along with you again this year. Thank you for your passion for the Lord and for others!

  2. Stephanie says:

    WOW – that was a gut punch. My word of the year was JOY and I had about a quarter of the year where I really did have a lot of joy but going into fall, it collapsed and I’ve been devastated, compounded by my tendency to compare myself to so many others. Thank you for your words! I’m reading this at work but can’t wait to get home and journal about this.

  3. Tiffany says:

    What stood out to me most was clearing and moving things out of the way for worship. In mid-November, I kept saying to myself I want to take December to rest and celebrate. No more 2022 goals — wrap those up in November. No dreaming of new ones. That can happen in January 2023. When I read today’s words, I felt like the Holy Spirit was confirming that I’d heard right. Thank you for writing this, Hannah.

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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!

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