Hey Guys…Welcome to the final
days weeks before Christmas. (Did that just make your blood pressure rise?)
Let’s start off with a quick quiz: Nod your head if any of these would be TRUE for you:
1. You have woken up in the middle of the night at least once this month in a panic attack over all that you still need to get done before Christmas.
2. You have snapped at your kids (or husband, or dog,) for something you normally wouldn’t because of your holiday stress.
3. You have had fantasies of flying far far away and trading in your traditional Christmas for a week alone on a deserted island.
If any of these are true for you then...You’re in good company.
I’m so with you.
Last week I shared a little story about Levi and some gift boxes. To me that story represented my tendency during the holidays (and let’s be honest, all of the days) to focus on tasks and to-do lists and to forget to enjoy the incredible blessings right in front of my eyes.
Well, every year I start December off strong–vowing to be more intentional, to make it a more meaningful holiday. I promise myself that I will slow down. I will go lighter on the stuff and go heavier on the memories. I want to focus on the story of Christmas, and point my kids to the same.
And every year I end December with some amount of regret or frustration over how hectic is has been, or how I lost perspective way too much.
And yes…there is grace.
Because there is nothing wrong with doing good things and working hard to create beauty and blessings for those that we love.
But if you’re like me, you find that the doing of the things can easily slip into a stress and a strain and a striving that can absolutely rob us of our joy.
And the sad and unfair thing about this stress is that it comes from such a pure and loving place, right? I don’t think many of us are battling demons of selfishness or evil intent.
Most of us just want to do good things!
So many good things.
This time of year, there are unending good things: The cards and the gifts, the parades and performances. The support-a-family, and the really good charities. We are determined to get through every day of the advent story…and bake those cookies (with the help of little messy hands, if you’re really good.) Then there is the wrapping, and the cooking, and the parties and family gatherings…
Every single bit of it is good. And everything will take as much of us as we will give it.
And then we find ourselves overwhelmed, stressed, and yes–waking up at three in the morning freaking out about everything we still need to do.
So friends, let’s just face it. We cannot do it all.
Please repeat after me: We cannot do it all.
We have to make some choices about what we will and will not do.
And here’s what I’m learning:
Our choices are often not so much between good things and bad things, but instead between the GOOD and the BETTER.
Each day we face decisions about how to spend our time and energy–some choices are intentional, but many are more of a subconscious repeat of a well-worn habit.
But what if we could slow down enough to recognize the choices that we are making. What if we saw that in the middle of all of the “goods” that clamor for our attention, there are often some quieter, less demanding “betters”…waiting to be discovered. Chosen. Unwrapped.
What I’m learning as I practice this “good” and “better” criteria is that it frees me up to say No to some really good things, that just aren’t the Best at that time…Things that I once would have felt to guilty to say No to:
This last week I said no to a preschool Christmas program to say Yes to less stress (Levi really didn’t want to do it.) I said No to our monthly food distribution to say Yes to a visit to Santa. (so unspiritual–but so great.) I’ve said No to a party to say Yes to time with my husband, and I’ve said No to time with my family to say Yes to some much needed Me-time. This season a lot of my No’s have been to my phone and computer. Each day my Yes’s and No’s look a little different, but I’m trying to be intentional about each one.
Because one thing I know is that if I do not intentionally choose how to spend my moments, the choice will be made for me. And the urgent will always win.
Just because one kid is louder, or one friend is needier, or the dryer just buzzed, or an email just came through…
I still get to choose.
And no–There is no set rule for what makes something good and something else better, only a mindfulness to see that indeed: We have options.
We might say no to a pile of laundry, to say yes to a child and a book.
We might say no to making the Pinterest perfect pie, to say yes to visiting an old friend.
We might say no to a pile of dishes in the sink to say yes to hanging out laughing with your teenager.
We might say no to one more social event to say yes to more sleep.
It may not be the same twice but let’s always keep in mind: We can choose.
Here’s to a great
week month, and and all kinds of good and better things. Choose well, my friends! 🙂
In the comments below, I’d love it if you would share some of the “goods” and “betters”in your life this season. Also, feel free to tell me how you did on the quiz, and any other random Christmas nugget you would like to share!
And as always–If you found this encouraging or helpful, please use the Share buttons below to Pin or share to social media! 🙂