I closed my eyes and pressed two fingers gently on my right eyelid, hoping that would stop the twitching.
It was early December and my brain would not stop listing all the things I needed to do, gifts I needed to buy, plans and decisions I needed make! Then there was laundry to wash, groceries to get, appointments to schedule, calls to return, and Aster’s birthday to plan for.
Why doesn’t everything else just do itself in December so I can handle all the extra stuff that comes with Christmas?
As I walked around my house in what felt like circles, trying to make progress, I felt my chest getting tight. I knew I had to make a decision. I didn’t want to resent December or dread Christmas and I was the only person who could stop it from happening.
So I sat down and made a list of my non-stop thoughts, ideas, desires, expectations (I assumed others had of me) and our family’s Christmas traditions. I looked at the list and took a deep breath; no wonder I was overwhelmed and eye-twitchy.
Then I told myself something that I desperately needed to hear: You don’t HAVE to do it all.
My self argued back (of course). How can I NOT do some of these things? I’ve always …
“You don’t HAVE to do what you’ve ALWAYS done. You could just do what matters most to you – and the ones you love.”
It sounded like something someone older and wiser would say; I knew it was straight from God’s heart to mine. And His grace-filled-perspective shifted something in me. I felt a sense of relief in my soul and calm in my chest.
I decided not to do it all. I put up less Christmas decorations, bought teachers gift cards instead of gifts, and did all my shopping online. I wrote down traditions that mattered most to me, and I sat down with J.J. and our kids to find out what mattered most to them.
This Christmas, we aren’t doing everything we’ve always done, and I’m enjoying December more than I ever have before. Also. I took J.J.’s advice and gave each person an activity to plan. So, I’m not the only one in charge of what we are doing either. It’s a glorious thing when your kids become young adults. (just hold on young mamas, your time is coming)
Sweet friend, you don’t have to do it all this Christmas. If you’re overwhelmed like I was, it’s not too late to give yourself grace and ask God to help you trim your list back to what matters most this Christmas. Talk to your family and ask for help. Set limits and plan more laid back stuff like movies and hot cocoa. If you need to, bow out of some commitments and come up with a revised list you can love (and live with). One that eases all the eye twitches and chest pains, Amen!
For more Christmas encouragement, be sure to
take a look at Renee’s soul-calming Christmas Prayer.
Stacey Tolbert says
Renee, I love your perspective on choosing to not “do it all.” It is refreshing to celebrate our Savior the way He would cherish, in quiet, peace, simply seeking Him and the gift of His birth. When I get caught up in all the busy, the joy disappears for myself and my family. I chose Joy this Christmas! Thank you for your words!
Hi Stacey! Im so glad you chose joy over busy and overwhelmed this Christmas. I did too and it made ALL the difference. I was so much more “present” throughout the whole Christmas break! I think we may need to keep choosing not to do it all, all year long! Here’s to doing less and enjoying more!
Melissa Henderson says
Wonderful wisdom. Thank you. Merry Christmas to you and your family! 🙂
We did and I hope you and yours did too!
This seems to be the theme for me this Advent season. God is definitely showing me that my life is not as hectic as I think. He has really placed it on my heart that I can only do so much and still be a person people want to be around. This year we didn’t have time to put up decorations outside. I thought this would have bothered me, especially after I basically told my neighbor that we were in a new competition together. Eekk! Was I a little sad that this tradition didn’t happen this year? Yes. But the kids were doing other activities that focused more on family presents and less on the decorations and traditions. Everyone seems ok. I am learning that I am the only person that can make my life hectic or not.
Such good insights and wisdom Kristin! It’s obvious you are listening to the Lord and there is nothing wiser (and more discipined) than following His lead and cutting back when He shows us that’s what is needed. There are so many times I’ve said, “Lord, I’m so overwhelmed. And our house has more clutter than I can manage. And He whispered to my heart “Renee, you are the only one who can change that.”
Cheers to you fellow mama! I hope you and your family had the best Christmas!
I too have finally listened to God telling me that I do not have to do it all and everything will still be just fine because, after all He is the One in control, not me.
Amen!! It’s a long and hard-earned lesson but Im glad we are both learning it. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas Nancy!!
Ginnie Montoya says
Thank you Renee. I needed this.
I pray you had the best Christmas Ginnie!
Melissa Ens says
Amen, Renee!!! What kind of memories do we really want ourselves and our kids to have anyway? Memories of stressed out, snappy, exhausted, grumpy Mom? Nope. Thanks for sharing the wisdom God gave you. May many listen!!! ?
Right! That is exactly what I had to come to – what kinds of memories do I want my kids to have of Christmas? I thought all my efforts were creating meaningful memories and traditions (and I’m sure some were) but the stressed-out, grumpy mom version needed to be edited. THIS Christmas and the past few have been our VERY best because Im doing less. 🙂