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Christmas Thoughts

christmas hope Dec 22, 2022
April Price Coaching
Christmas Thoughts
17:14
 

This is one of my favorite episodes of the entire year (as it is every year) because it is the one in which I share my Christmas letter with you. 

Every year, David and I send out a Christmas letter to all of our friends and family where I think about our year, the things that we learned and my testimony of Jesus Christ. It is a time to reflect on Christ and the effect his goodness has had on my life.

And because you are my friend and my podcast family, I love sharing it with you, too. 

Of all the thoughts that I share on my podcast, these are the ones that mean the most to me and have brought me the most comfort, hope, and joy in my life. 

I hope they help you feel the love of God in your own life.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and send all of my love and very best wishes for this season and the new year to you and your family. 

 

You’ll Learn:

  • The thought that has had the most profound effect on me this year
  • How giving up the quest to be “good” will set you free
  • How I find hope in the fearful, hopeless moments
  • Why Christ’s grace is the greatest gift of all, on Christmas and every day

 

Episode Transcript


Welcome to the 100% Awesome Podcast with April Price. You might not know it, but every result in your life is 100% because of the thought you think. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome.

Hello Podcast Universe! Welcome to episode 190 of the 100% Awesome Podcast. I'm April Price and I want to wish you a very, very Merry Christmas. I hope that you are feeling all the love and joy and excitement, and, magic of this Christmas season. And if you are not, I want you to know that that's perfectly all right as well. All of the feelings are allowed even at Christmas time. But I want to wish you a merry Christmas and just send all of my love and very best wishes for this season and the new year to each one of you and to your families. I am so grateful for every single one of you, and we have shared a lot this year. Many of you have been with me the entire year. Many of you have been with me for longer than that.

And over these weeks, we have shared so much together. And as I was thinking about you today and thinking about the gifts that that I would love to give each one of you, I just want you to know that that this podcast is my gift to you, that that I try every week to to think of things that will be useful and helpful to you and bless your life. And so I hope that you will see each episode as a personal gift to every one of you. And listen, if you want to give that gift back to me, I would love for you to share this podcast with someone that you love, it has allowed you to think about yourself, your life, your possibility, your potential, who you are and what you're capable of if it has allowed you to think about yourself differently. I just want to encourage you to pass it along to somebody else you can shared on social media. You can send it directly to someone that you love. But I would love for you to pass the word along or leave a review so that somebody else can receive this gift as well, all right.

So, this is one of my favorite episodes of the entire year. I have been looking forward to it and thinking about it for many weeks now, and I am just excited to be here and to share it with you. This is always one of my favorite episodes of the year because it is the one in which I share my Christmas letter with you. So, every year David and I were counting probably for the last 23 years, we estimate I have sent out a Christmas letter where I think about our year, think about the things that we learned and my testimony of Jesus Christ. And I send a letter to all of our friends and family and listen, you are my friends, you are my family, you are my podcast family. And I love being able to share this letter with you every year. It is unlike most of the episodes that I give every year, because it is really focused on my testimony of Christ as my Savior and of all the things that I say here on the podcast, right? Like maybe this episode is the only one every year that really matters because in the end it's these thoughts that mean the most to me of all the thoughts that I talk about, of all the things that there are to think about, of all the thoughts that I have in my life, like these are the ones these are the ones that give me the most comfort.

The most joy, the most hope, the most belief in the possibilities for each one of us. These are the thoughts that create all of that for me. And so, I know these thoughts maybe won't be for everybody. I know that not all of you follow and believe in Jesus Christ, but I can't let the year go without sharing my thoughts about him and the difference that he makes in my life.

So, I wanted to just share one more thought before I read my Christmas letter. And this thought is one that has probably had the most profound effect on me this year, probably more than any other. It has made a real difference for me this year, and I just want to share it with you. And this is the idea that I really am no longer trying to be good. Okay, now I know how that sounds, but just stay with me for a minute. I really want you to understand that, like, for too many years, I tried way too hard to make myself good. I put too much pressure on myself to be able to do that work, which is not my work to do. And there was just, like, a constant striving, a constant awareness of how I wasn't good, like a constant desperate hustle to be somebody else and to get somewhere else. And my brain really loved this quest of being good, right? Because it was really good at noticing what wasn't good. And so, I always had a list for me. It was always telling me what wasn't enough and what was bad and what was wrong. And the list was long and I made myself miserable and I hurt myself with that list for most of my life.

And there was just a constant tug of war inside myself, like trying to believe good things about myself. Trying to do good things and prove I was good. All the while knowing I really wasn't. And what I want to offer to each of you. That the solution to this is to stop trying to be good. It is to stop thinking that you can be and it is to embrace with your whole heart the idea of grace. I think that one of the easiest things in the world to believe. Is not that you are good, but that Christ is . And instead of always trying to be good, always working towards, always like constantly doing and striving and competing with yourself, in order to quiet that voice in your head that is constantly criticizing you, it's so much easier to drop all of that, to just accept, there's so much of me that is not good, but there is grace. He is good, and so I don't need to be. And this one thought has just been an immense relief to me. It gets rid of the shame, it gets rid of the desperation, it gets rid of the constant argument you are having with yourself. And really what you're doing is you're releasing yourself of a job that you cannot do.

And that was never yours in the first place. You cannot make yourself good enough. Deep down, fundamentally, you are good. And all these things that you are practicing and all these things that you are getting wrong don't matter near as much as you think they do because there is grace. Now, that doesn't mean you can't change the things in your life. It doesn't mean you can't grow and develop skills and create experiences for yourself, but it means that you no longer have to do it to earn something or to prove you are good or to, like, get to some finish line where you are finally, okay.

And so, I just want to offer you the thought. What if you stopped trying to be good? And you just let him be good. You stop trying to prove yourself and achieve your way to salvation and you simply let his grace work in your life. As someone who has struggled most of her life with deep feelings of shame, this one idea has changed so much for me, and I want to offer it to each one of you, okay? So, with that, I'm going to now read my Christmas letter. And I hope these thoughts will bless your life.

At the end of Ethan’s first day in Argentina, we got a short Facetime call with him to let us know he arrived safely. He had traveled for over 24 hours, first to Peru, then to Buenos Aires, and then to Neuquén, where he took a smiling picture with his mission president, and then got in a car with his Argentinian companion and his new bishop and drove to a small town, two-and-half hours away from the mission home and a world away from anything familiar.

I imagine him leaving the MTC brimming with confidence in his “mastery” of the Spanish language and busting with sure hope in Christ that he was ready for the work ahead of him. But as the miles between Neuquén and Plaza Huincul increased, so did his fear, and by the time we saw him that night, the reality of the situation had set in. There he was, nearly alone, in the middle of nowhere, thousands of miles from home, with people he didn’t know, immersed in a language he couldn’t understand, with nothing for company but his own terrible doubts.

For the first ten minutes of the call, he could not speak. He just looked at us, with tears streaming down his face, unable to get a single word out. David tried asking questions, but Ethan could only cry as the minutes stretched by. Finally, I said, “Can you tell us what you’re feeling?” “Scared,” he said, and then he corrected himself, “No…hopeless.” I could see the questions in his eyes: What if I can’t do this? What if I’m not enough? What if I can’t do what I’m supposed to do? What if it’s too hard? What if I can’t?

It reminded me of that scene from the end of Christ’s life. As he left the last supper and entered the Garden of Gethsemane with his apostles around him and yet somehow still utterly alone, the scriptures say, “he began to be sorrowful and very heavy.” Scared, probably. Hopeless, even. Desperate for another way and begging his Father to provide it. The moment of sacrifice had arrived, but what if he couldn’t do what he’d been asked to do?

A few months later, when Ethan’s doubts had long been replaced by his joy in missionary service, Caleb and I were competing in an endurance event in which we climbed the equivalent distance of Mount Everest, climbing to the top of Whistler Mountain eight times in 36 hours. It was the hardest thing either of us had ever done and about 24 hours into the event, the exertion and exhaustion caught up with us. Our sixth time up the mountain, I was so sick and nauseated that every step felt impossible and I doubted my ability to finish. What if I can’t?

There, in the dark, with Caleb’s headlamp slowly bobbing ahead of me, sorrowful and heavy and desperate for help, the words from Christ’s own tender account of his suffering echoed through my mind, “…how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not,” and the magnitude of our Savior’s suffering hit me like never before.

When we finally made it to the top of that sixth ascent, I stood in David’s arms crying hard, completely overwhelmed by the difficulty and the pain and utterly relieved to have made it at all. And then we boarded the gondola that would take us back to the bottom of the mountain. The bottom—where we would turn around and do it all again. I was filled with a dread so deep that I told David through my tears, “I think this is anguish.”

As we coasted down the mountain peak that I had fought for hours to ascend, knowing what each step had cost me and knowing the price that was going to have to be paid again, I almost couldn’t bear it. And as the tears streamed down my face, the last part of that poignant scripture came like fire to my mind. “Nevertheless…nevertheless…I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.”

Nevertheless. Nevertheless.

The pain didn’t matter. The difficulty didn’t count. The loneliness and the heaviness and the fear and the doubts didn’t signify at all. Christ, in the depths of agony—past despair, past anguish, past desperation, sorrowful unto death the scriptures say—did not stop, did not quit, did not relent. It didn’t matter if he thought he couldn’t. He did it anyway. Nevertheless.

That single word contains the hopes and dreams of all the years for the whole human family and those twelve letters are all that separate us from eternal disaster and creation’s doom. Without it, there is nothing but separation, and loss, and irreparable, unimaginable heartbreak for all of us. That one word stands as a solemn record of suffering so exquisite and love so deep that God says we can’t even imagine it. And in that one sacred word are all the reasons we worship him, all the reasons for our love and our hope, and the reason that Ethan went to Argentina at all.

This year, in these fearful, hopeless moments and in countless others like them, we were reminded again that the true answer to all our questions of whether or not we can do it is that we can’t. We aren’t strong enough. We aren’t good enough. We aren’t brave enough. But it doesn’t matter because he is. Nevertheless. He went all the way to the end. For you. For me. For all the children of men. We can’t possibly know how steep the price, or how awful the way, but he finished his work anyway.

This Christmas season and always, we worship Him, the Light of the World who went to the darkest place of all for each of us. We worship the Hope of the World, who despite his own fear and hopeless despair, climbed through hell to stand in our place. And we worship the King of Heaven and Earth, who became the humble servant that staggered under, but nevertheless willingly fought and carried the heaviest burden of eternity for each one of us. Oh, how we love him and how grateful we are that no matter what—no matter our inadequacies or our sorrows, no matter the depth of our fears or our hopelessness—because of Him there is hope smiling brightly before us and we know that deliverance is nigh.

With all our tidings of comfort and joy,

David, April, Caleb, Olivia, Savannah, and Ethan

I want to wish each one of you a Merry Christmas. Know that I love you and I love him. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome. I love you for listening, and I'll see you next week. The next round of my coaching program made four more starts in January, and I want you to be a part of it. I'll show you how to change your brain to create more joy, more love, and more accomplishment in your life. The only thing between you and the life you want are the thoughts in your head. And coaching will show you how to change that. Go to Aprilpricecoaching.com to sign up.

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