The holidays are here! (That either excited you or made you cringe, right?) I love this time of year, but honestly, it can stress me out sometimes.
Last night my husband and I discussed the upcoming weekend and all that we have going on. We both left the conversation overwhelmed because within a three-day period, we had about eight events/activities on the calendar. It was just too much!
Although we’d like to do them all, reality is that we shouldn’t. We’ve learned that we need margin in our lives and a weekend full of crazy running around isn’t best for our family, especially because we had a similar schedule over Thanksgiving weekend.
It’s not always easy for me to say no to doing it all, I always worry about who I’m disappointing or what I’m missing out on. But guess what? It’s all going to be okay! We all have a limited amount of time we can dedicate to certain activities. When that time is full, it’s okay and necessary to forgo an activity you planned or decline an invitation.
If you don’t, some other area of your life will suffer.
You’ll likely feel rushed, stressed or depressed. You’ll feel like your schedule is out of control and that other people are dictating how you spend your time.
But here’s something I’ve been reminded of lately: We get to choose our schedules. We get to choose the amount of crazy and running around we allow into our life. We’re to blame, not “life” or the other people who make requests of us.
Ouch. I guess I have some changes to make. You too?
Since it’s the holiday season, here are some practical examples of how we can simplify our holiday schedule and to-do list: (I will likely be doing all of these!)
- Instead of running around trying to find the perfect gift for each person on your list, buy gift cards to their favorite store or restaurant.
- If you’re stressed because you haven’t ordered your Christmas cards yet, what if you sent Happy New Year’s cards or forgo sending cards altogether this year?
- Mark off an entire day (or two) on your calendar for no commitments. Allow for some down time and spontaneity. (Hallmark movies and hot cocoa anyone?)
- If you have too many commitments in a week or weekend, politely decline but set something up for January to spend time with the people you’d still like to see.
- If you want to bake cookies with the kids so they can decorate them, buy ready-made dough.
- If you’re on the hook to bring a baked good or appetizer to a party, go store bought!
Friend, you don’t have to do it all. You get to choose how to spend your time this holiday season. Figure out what’s most important to you and your family and do those things.
I’ve always loved this quote by Henry David Thoreau, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, life the life you have imagined!”
Did you ever dream of a life where you were constantly tired, stressed and running yourself ragged? Me either.
Jesus tells us in John 10:10 NIV, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Jesus isn’t talking about us having a full life in terms of our schedule, but rather the condition of our life. Is our life full of the things that matter most to us, things that fulfill us? Or is our life full of demands, obligations and commitments that steal our joy and time, leaving us depleted? Are we distracted from what matters most? Especially during the holidays?
Remember, we get to choose. We don’t have to do it all this holiday season. Let’s make the choices that fulfill us most and allow us to experience the full life Jesus came to give us! Isn’t that what Christmas is really all about?