- the kids got sick
- I didn’t sleep the night before, so I had only enough energy to breath and hopefully get food in their bellies
- the ** quick** grocery trip or errand took longer than expected
- I realized we didn’t have the right ingredients…
- it seemed to mentally impossible to pack up a 2 mos. old and a 3 1/2 year old and cage the dog and…
Well….whew. Whine. Whine. Whine. Wine. Oopsie.
Intentional Spelling mistake.
My mind and life can be easily filled with excuses. Most of the time, I’ll just try to power through and do things, though. And what I’m starting to see is that that’s not always the best plan. For example, I wanted to do something a little more INTENTIONAL for advent. I love ideas like this or that. And then I realize that I want to do it and it’s mid-December. And it’s too late. So we end up giving Alex these little books from a set called “The Story of Christmas”. And some mornings, I find the book lying in a pile of Sally hair (seriously, we could knit a scarf from her hair remnants on a daily basis). Unread. Untouched. And then the stickers we put in the mitten to accompany the book are plastered all over the house: on the walls, on his toys, on my pillow, my cheek. You name it. It’s there.
Then I hear my friend Kristy’s words in my mind. We were meeting for small group once and talking about how easy it is to be racked with guilt over all the things we feel we should be doing. She clearly reminded us that God grants us grace. Our own intentions our not inherently wrong or bad. They’re just often driven by some other dire dictator in our minds. I realized this truth anew today as Alex created a to do list and ran us through the plans for the day.
LUCKILY God doesn’t operate that way. reading us a list of to dos and giving us *the eye* if we don’t accomplish the entire thing. He really isn’t all about a set of rules and regulations and expectations (even though the ten commandments might lead you to believe that’s not true).
The pressures I put on myself to make everything perfect are made by ME, not God. Not Matt. Not Alex. Not Drew. Etc. The reactions I have to myself and others when I don’t meet my own expectations are not anything I’m proud of. In fact, I often am seriously ashamed of my passive aggressive responses.
So, even though it’s December 24th, and the list of things I intended to do is still pretty long and unfinished, I’m going to try and savor what did happen. And mostly, remind myself of the importance and significance of tomorrow, Christmas. Although Alex is literally jumping out of his jammies for the presents part, it has been a true eye-opening experience to watch him grasp the realities of the season for the first time. And for that I’m really grateful. As the holiday unfolds, I’m going to try and look for the simple things that make the day so special.
Waking up at some God-forsaken early hour to open presents.
Having a leisurely cup of coffee.
Leaving the house a mess with littered gift wrap and boxes.
Watching Alex ride his new bike (shhh….don’t tell him what’s coming!).
Spending time with part of our family for brunch.
And taking a few moments to center ourselves on what Christmas is all about.
p.s. Check out Tracey’s blog, Pen and View. Matt worked at Mt. Hermon with her and I love reading her reflections. This is her photograph and the accompanying blog post is wonderful.