This past month I've become increasingly tense in my shoulders and neck.
A to-do list for Christmas gifts and the day to day demands of my business seemed to increase rather than decrease...and the housework? Well, let's just say it's stagnant at the moment while I try to climb over the mound of things that have a deadline.
I've kept up with the washing, meals and the dishes, but not much else. Fortunately my husband understands and even took on a few tasks that have been neglected this month like sweeping, vacuuming, watering the plants and daily maintenance of Sophie's cat litter tray for which I am most grateful. But there are things he can't do, like cook, design, stitch, sew gifts, and manage Elefantz.
As we approach a new year I'm seriously pondering my balance of faith, family, home and business and bringing it all before God in prayer because I know my lack of balance this past year has brought about a prolonged season of fatigue, sickness and even self-doubt.
In each area of those areas - faith, family, home and business - I have the best intentions, but not the balance needed to walk each day with an attitude of peace in heart and mind. Basically my personality is introvert and I crave a peaceful quiet life, however I also have an overly creative mind which comes up with new ideas on an hour by hour rotation.
Now, that in itself is not bad, but the problem arises when I try to achieve more than my life can allow, when I push myself to do that 'one more thing' or fit more than is needful into a short space of time, and this becomes most evident every December.
I think this frenzy to achieve hits it's peek this time of year for many of us. There's a personal expectation that because we know how to sew or bake or knit or crochet or paper craft we'd be wasting money if we opted to buy gifts. After all we have the skills to make them from what's already in our craft room but are we in fact adding a burden upon ourselves when we do this?
Are we rushing to make and not resting in the joy and wonder of the Christmas season?
Is the frantic nature of giving 'things' overtaking the giving of time and hugs and relationship to those we care about?
That's where I've found myself this year.
It hit me square between the eyes the other day as I stood in the sewing room and looked down at the list of things which still needed to be made, wrapped and posted away in time for a pre-Christmas delivery. Overwhelmed, I closed the door and walked into our bedroom where I laid down on the bed and promptly fell asleep because my mind could take no more.
When I woke, there was a strong sense of Jesus with me, so I lay there a while longer thinking about Him, about His promise of peace, and I prayed to receive it.
I should not have been surprised, but I was when the answers came so quickly, when my crowded thinking cleared and peace fell over my thoughts, my heart and even my body. I knew what I needed to do and though it wasn't what I'd planned it was the right path for me to take this year.
The next day lovely and useful gifts had been purchased and delivery to various households organised, my burden was lifted and I had some wonderful long distance conversations with loved ones who agreed the gifts didn't matter, that it was the love we shared which mattered most.
(and there may have been some relief from the teenagers who really don't want handmade by Nana at this time of their lives but aren't sure how to tell her)
This may not have been what I wanted initially, but sometimes what we want isn't what's best. Sometimes a season of change is needed and we must let go of our high expectations of self and simply, humbly, do what is possible.
I'm no superwoman and never wanted to be, but it seems my life began to run that course anyhow by believing I could do it all. Silly me.
Thank you Jesus for always having an answer, a right way to take, and a blessed place to rest in You.
Next year I'm going to pace myself by making gifts through the year, even buying some along the way when they're on sale, returning to the rhythm of homemaking that I love and which is most natural to me, and I shall step back from the frenzy of doing more than I need in the business.
My heart is home-shaped and Jesus made it that way, but I got carried away this year with what I 'could' do when I should have been diligent to follow only what I 'should' do.
Sorry if I've rambled today...so many thoughts and lessons flowing into words, but a lot of hope trickling through my heart as well.
I pray you too find this beautiful season of the year to be one of grace, peace and relationship, and not a time of exhaustion, over-commitment or unrealistic expectations.
After all, we are celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace, Jesus.