Have you ever noticed, seasons – not unlike people – seem to project certain emotions? For instance, Summer could be easily seen as “carefree,” while many feel Spring embodies “hopefulness.” However, if you had to pick just one “emotion” which dominates THIS particular time of year, without a doubt, it would be ANTICIPATION!
Consider everything going on in December… end-of-the-semester finals, college winter graduations, wrapping up fourth quarter financial reports, year-end blockbuster premieres… hmmm, seems like I’m forgetting something. OH, right – the holidays! Whether waiting on final grades, eking out those last year-end profits, planning family vacations, or something as simple as wondering what might be in that “special” gift box, this season IS the “Anticipation Season!”
An interesting thing about “anticipation.” We frequently use the words “anxious” and “anticipate” interchangeably. And, during this time of year it may be closer to the mark than we think! Just look at how easily we can swap one for the other. We anticipate a party, a positive project outcome, the arrival of a new baby. But, we can also anxiously await news of a bonus or promotion, the long-awaited release of a movie, look forward to leaving on a dream getaway.
See… anticipation can be BOTH a positive and negative thing! Anticipation and anxiety are just two sides of the same emotional coin. It’s ONE thing to look forward to something eagerly, and quite another to actually FEAR an upcoming event or outcome. And, too often, we allow the ebb of current events to bring out the “negative” anticipation mindset.
What’s YOUR “Anticipation Mindset”?
Between daily news reports of escalating violence, senseless devastation and financial uncertainty, we literally live our whole lives “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” NOW, add in all this seasonal December bedlam, and it takes the whole concept of “pins-and-needles” a brand new level!
But, we actually do this to ourselves – especially during these hyper-hectic times. It reminded me of an observation two characters made on a show years ago. And it really stuck with me, teaching me how to begin managing my own “anticipation mindset”:
“Often times, you’ll find the anticipation of something terrible is WORSE than the actual event…”
“Then, by the same token, the anticipation of something wonderful, might be BETTER than the actual event…”
Certainly, some people may be more prone to living this “anticipation mindset” on a regular basis, while others rarely think more than five minutes ahead, pursuing a more “spontaneous” mindset. However, during this end-of-year mad dash, most people throw their anticipatory mindset into overdrive! More parties to plan and attend, more cooking, more guests, more gifts, more expenses, more pressure, more tension, MORE EVERYTHING… WOW!!! That’s a LOT of “anticipation!”
What’s The CURE?!
And you thought you’d be getting a little holiday merriment! Wait, there IS something positive to come out of all this… we promise! Trust us, it’s easier than you ever imagined. You simply shift WHAT you anticipate! When you focus your mindset and expectations on something “higher,” you’ll find a peace and fulfillment within your “anticipation mindset.”
“My eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word.” (Psalm 145:15-16)
“Everything looks to you in anticipation and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.…” (Psalm 145:15-16)
“…that Spirit being a pledge and foretaste of our inheritance, in anticipation of its full redemption – the inheritance which He has purchased to be specially His for the extolling of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:14)
The Gift That TRULY Keeps On Giving!
When we STOP waiting for the inevitable “next thing” – be it good, or bad – to happen and begin to visualize a POSITIVE future for our lives, and the lives of others, we make that “anticipation” work for us! Instead of looking forward to (or dreading) a holiday function, shift your focus to what God may have awaiting you at this particular gathering. Rather than spending hours excitedly downloading videos on preparing that perfect holiday feast (or trembling at the thought of actually having to COOK – for PEOPLE… YIKES!), you could take the no-stress route and volunteer to serve at a community holiday feast for the less fortunate.
This can even work for your year-end business goals, which may have you more “anxious” than “anticipatory.” Maximize those 2017 charitable deductions, even offer to match employees’ donations to a non-profit organization. It’s the ultimate business win-win-win scenario: tidy business tax deductions for you, boosted employee morale and edified opinion of you, (yep, if you’re doing the math, YOU get to double-dip here!) and finally, a sincere desire and effort to improve the lives of others, by doing His work here on earth.
Let’s Turn The “Anticipation Season” On Its Ear…
All in all, anticipation directed toward positive, elevating actions can heighten the peace and joy of this particular season. Anticipate your time with God. Or, anticipate the sweeping changes even your small contribution can make in someone’s life. By all means, you should definitely anticipate sharing the spiritual gifts behind this miraculous season. And, we encourage you to share what you may be anticipating (or… anxious about) in this season, with our social media community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. It provides the perfect forum to divert your attention from any “negative” seasonal anticipation. Who knows, it could even put a little “Spring” into your holidays. Instead of being paralyzed, “waiting for that other shoe to drop,” take ’em both off and just dance into the “Anticipation Season!”