Sunday, December 10, 2017

When it's all too much...

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 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. 



Anonymous said...

Dear Jenny, please pace yourself, and listen to the small, still voice.
The hysteria and expectations that this season brings can be over rated. (not referring to the birth of our Lord and Saviour). I, for too long have been pushing myself, and paid the price. I didn't realize at the time, but I had a break down. I had thoughts like "I feel like I'm in a pressure cooker", and "Superwoman has hung up her cape". I had chosen not to listen to my body. We can't do it all. Let go of some of your expectations - the world will still turn! I will remain anon, but I'm the lady who sent you the poem recently about Corrie ten Boom.Blessings to you this Christmas

Janice said...

I think we all should follow your example and not let the joy and peace of the season be lost by expecting too much of ourselves. It should not be all about the presents but more bout the presence. No, I haven’t arranged any gifts as yet, but it will happen in good time and they will probably be simple. We will be having some family here for Christmas lunch, but, once again, we will keep it relatively simple. Mick and I have been playing at decorations the house, which we are enjoying, even if no one much sees it. Enjoy your Christmas season and spending time with Mr E, now he is on holidays. I think most people enjoy their Christmas time more if it is simple and relaxing rather than with lots of hype.

the girlfriend gap said...

Hello Jenny, I decided long ago that I just couldn't be a maker of gifts at Christmas time. I always had big ideas but was not able to deliver without a lot of stress. Now I make things for those I love but I give them as I get them done so any day can be Christmas .... Sharing the Love as best I can any day of the year. For my little grandchildren I buy them pajamas and a book every year. Somehow that comforts my heart to know they are sleeping in something I gave them. And I don't have to fret about what to buy each year. The adults are choosing to not exchange gifts this year but will do a family outing this summer together. Perhaps that might be harder than exchanging a gift as 11 people under one roof for a week can be a little hairy at times but in the end we will say it has been good to be together. Find the joy in each day. The world needs more hugs give those away. Take care. i know you are a blessing to many. Janita

Nanna Chel said...

Jenny, being as creative as you are I can well imagine you would want to make your own gifts but you haven't been all that well this year so it is wise of you to just buy gifts instead. It is a quiet Christmas for us as my daughter and family won't be coming down from the Outback and I buy gifts for them when I see them on special and sent them up on the bus around this time as one little grandson has his birthday just before Christmas. Nothing handmade apart from a rag quilt for the baby :-) Do rest up and enjoy this special time of the year as so many people lose track of the real meaning of Christmas.

Glenise Magnano - Gold Coast said...

Jenny - thanks again for a heartfelt post. I am glad Mr E now has a break from work and hopefully the two of you will be able to have those wonderful drives in your beloved jeep and rejuvenate both of you. You never ramble Jenny but you do give us a glimpse into your busy, busy life and show us just how much hard work goes into your designs. Thank you Jenny. As Janita said, you are a blessing to many, myself included. Thank you for your blogs and inspirations and hoping you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas and you take "me" time to rest and rejuvenate. Please ensure you get that balance for 2018. Blog once a week or once a month if necessary but please don't burn yourself out or neglect more important aspects of your life for us. God Bless you Jenny.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

How precious each of you are in your comments and care left for me. (( thank you ))
Just to let you know, blogging is never an's pure joy because writing is what I love to do best. However, I do step away now and again for a short while to catch up on other things or to rest from all my work if I'm unwell. xxxxxxxxxxx

Joanne said...

Hi Jenny,
" Jesus is the reason for the season" is all too quickly forgotten.
Love, friendship and good will towards men ...isn't that what it's all about?
December, a month to be enjoyed! Good for you for writing/posting today!

Kay said...

Oh Jenny, I think we have all been there at some point in one Christmas or another. I took get stressed every year trying to make it perfect, trying to get everything made, trying to keep everyone happy. Each year I aim to simplify the process but the stress still hits me. We all need to relax more over it, it is the love that counts and not the 'perfect' gift. Take care and thank you for posting a timely reminder to us all.x

Unknown said...

Hello Jenny,

Thank you for reminding me that we aren't 'Super Women'. I live in the USA and all the hype of Christmas just keeps me in panic mode. I have seen many Christmas's and it seems the older I get the more discouraged I am because I can't get things done as quickly. As my family is getting older too, we have decided not to exchange gifts for the adults but will for the children. It has relieved all of us. We get together Christmas Eve and share time so then they can be home for Christmas day. I too have a small business making custom doll clothes and selling them on Ebay so I understand you just can't do everything that our minds convince us we need to do. After your message, I just took a deep breath and realized it is the love of Jesus that is the most important thing for Christmas. Thank you again, and have a Merry Christmas. Your friend in Colorado. Blessings Janet

psv said...

You have no idea how this post spoke to me today, Jenny, because I too hit the wall this past week. Rest and prayer led me to some healthier decisions also, which I hope to implement in the upcoming year, and my attitude and temperament has improved measurably.

Again, this is another proof that we are never struggling alone. Have a peaceful Christmas holiday 'down under', and again, thank you.

Valerie said...

Amen, Amen Jenny! Jesus is our peace and we can have balance in life if we listen to and follow what He has to say about our "to do" list. I too have seen how hard it is to walk this out as you so well described. As psv said, what a blessing to be reminded we are not alone in this struggle. Thank you so much for sharing your life in a way that makes believers feel more connected with each other not only in our struggles, but also in the victory Jesus gives us over them.

Winifred said...

Take it easy Jenny. You're getting the message to do exactly that, it's the right thing to do. It's sad that you're getting so overwhelmed at Christmas & it happens to so many people. My daughter said the other night she hated the thought of it & that's so sad. Like you she has an overload of work & home responsibilities. Lukily your husband bless him helps where he can & that's another blessing for you.
I don't make stuff for people all the time just now & again usually birthdays which spreads the load. Mainly for the children, they love a customised blanket. You'll need more time to spend with another grandchild & that time as you know is precious as it slips by so quickly. Enjoy it! God bless Jenny!

Lin said...

Exactly! Lovely post Jenny. I intend to buy more next year although there will still be those that like a home made gift and I will enjoy making for them. Keeping you in my prayers and hoping that you will achieve the perfect!!! balance. With love. xx

Anonymous said...

Coucou de la France JEnny

N'ayez pas honte de ce que vous êtes , vous donnerez le meilleur de vous -même ainsi .
Non on ne peut pas tout faire et nous ne devons pas tout faire ...
On a tous une capacité de travail , il faut l'admettre sinon c'est notre corps qui souffre..
Bon Noël

Mochagrams said...

I have had a difficult time feeling in the Christmas mood. I too can make most gifts, but only my granddaughter will receive a gift she requested me to make. Even though I know emotionally and spiritually Christ's birth is what is important, I feel empty. This to shall pass and I intellectualy know the fullness of his spirit will return.

Susan said...

I'm sure this sounded a chord in so many of us. We can only spend our time once. There are good things to do, better things to do and the best things we need to do. I'm trying to sort this out in my mind, too. I walk a thin line between trying to do it all and giving up and doing nothing. I'm glad you found answers that work for you, Jenny, and I hope that your life will become more calm because of it - and less headachy!

Farm Quilter said...

Oh my dear Jenny. You remind us to "Be still and know that I am God" but, like us, climb right into that driver's seat and put the pedal down to the floor!! Nothing can survive going full-tilt all day, every man nor machine. Even the birds on the long migration flights know to stop and rest. I know I have been guilty of thinking that my timing is also the Lord's, only to find out just how easily things flow when they are done in His time. I think the hardest thing for us humans to deal with is waiting, and waiting on the Lord isn't easy but it is what we are called to do. He is applying the brakes for a very good reason, dear friend, listen to Him and let Him unfold the perfect plan He has for your life. As much as we love you and your creativity, He loves you more. Now is your time to discover your love for yourself and bathe yourself in the healing love of God.

Alicia Mae said...

I needed to read your words today, Jenny! Thank you 💖

Tammy said...

I am needing to cut back in regards to almost everything anymore. I decided to no longer purchase gifts for all the children and instead have a children's gingerbread house making party. Last years was a great success the beginning of an annual tradition. This will be the 2nd year. No longer to worry what to buy all the kids or where all the funds would come from. This year no longer buying for siblings. We will all go in on a large item for mother instead of all of us doing gift exchanges. Less expense and more time for us all. I will be baking some treats to share with everyone on Christmas day. I am glad you are gonna cut back Jenny. You have way too much on you. You all will hopefully have a great holiday break . You both need that.

Buttonchief7 said...

Am feeling overwhelmed with projects to complete for customers. And finally was able to say no to any more orders at this time. The stress was keeping me from enjoying the true spirit of the season. Your words spoke to me quite clearly. Thank you. God bless.

Anita said...

Thanks for the reminder of who’s in charge and that we are not superwoman. I always try to do “everything” and wear myself thin only to fail at getting “everything” done. God bless you Jenny. I love reading your Christian ramblings and musings. I appreciate your gifts and talents. Slow down- we’ll be here waiting for you.

Joyce said...

It seems that we often expect more from ourselves than others do. This year I decided to only make the doll PJs and mini quilts for my great nieces and everything else would be from the store. When I spoke with family and friends they didn’t expect homemade things, it was my expectations. So dear Jenny, I pray for peace for you. Jesus will guide us and he never gives us more than we can handle. He is a gracious. Loving God. Take care of yourself and enjoy this loving season.

Unknown said...

I remember one Christmas years ago when I was overwhelmed with all that I had to do and the expense involved and I rang my sisters and suggested, with great trepidation, that we not buy presents for each other and each others children. Rather, we just spend the day together if possible, share a meal and enjoy each others company. I don't know what I was worried about - I was thanked heartfeltly as I had just obliterated their present lists and the pressure that went with them. I didn't need anything and neither did they. I love your patterns and ideas. So many things I want to do and so little little time. Relax and know that we don't have to be superwomen. We are loved no matter what. Julie

Anonymous said...

Going to Dr. tomorrow to find out what is problem with my neck, both sides, both shoulders and hip pain ? Siatica. Suppose this is normal when you are 75. However, the past few years I have fallen quite a bit, in home outside, on cenment and pavement and no broken bones. I am blessed. Unable to get myself up, so I am going after first of year to do treadmill for legs. Not sure about arms. I do have a trio of scars on upper for
ehead. One on each side and one in middle. Middle one was when someone hit my father's car when I was riding with him at age 2. Taken to hosp. by ambulance and when surgery was finish and I was awake, I said to the DR. "Thank you man. "Right side, fell on ice in our apt. complex parking lot, winter 2009. The last one, On pavement trying to get into shuttle bus to take me to my rental car about 4 yrs. ago at Christmas time.
Anyway Seven stitches in one and 8 in the other.

I want you to take care of your self. Know this is a busy time of year. So take care dear lady. Have a blessed Christmas.



Tania said...

As a family we agreed to not buy gifts this year for the adults. Just the children are going to receive a well thought out gift to which everyone contributes a little. There are only three children (my grandies) so this has lifted a great deal of pressure off everyone! I am a lot more calm and the stress is not there like other years. May we continue on this path in the future years.

The best outcome for doing this is that I get more time to think about Jesus, the real reason of Christmas and for this I am truly thankful.

A lovely honest post Jenny xx

God Bless,


Cindy M said...

Jenny, thank you for your honesty, transparency and reminders of how we all feel at this time of year. Money, family and other obligations make it seem like we just can't muster through the season and a lot of times are thankful when it is over and that is so very sad. The commercialism of Christmas has taken its toll on so many of us and when we try to do all our Christmas by hand, that also takes its toll. Remember, that lonely night when Mary birthed that little baby boy, it was quiet, still and so simplified. The next day after Christmas all goes back to normal and those kids and grandkids grow up so quickly. No matter who we are, a lot of us don't have real needs, we are fed, clothed and loved. Christmas used to be for those things we had to wait for to only get on birthdays or holidays. Please do yourself good and be minimalistic, even the littlest of gifts are good, as the birth of our savior was nothing short of that. Quiet, still and small, but the greatest of gifts has already been given. The birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Merry Christmas to you, and may you enjoy, relax and even get to partake in the very beautiful sounds and stillness of Christmas. Thank you for your beautiful post today.

Annie said...

My husband is a Pastor and Christmas became an incredibly busy and stressful time for us. I almost hated it and it was that realisation which pulled me up short. So the past few years we, as a family, have worked on simplifying Christmas so we could focus on and experience the JOY not the craziness....! My daughters and their husbands all contribute something to the meal. And we don't do lots of 'naughty' food just a few extra treats. Each adult buys for one other which changes by rotation every year. We all gift the children but it is usually something that is a long lasting gift like Lego, books or things for creative play. I used to try to super clean the house before the the celebration and, like you,had an enormous list of "TO DO" Now I pick the absolute essentials (like making sure there are beds for all) and ignore the rest. Oh and like your plan, I buy things during the year so it is all done slow and steady. When we all get together we enjoy each others company and can focus on the Love we have been given from our Lord and our family. I think its great that we can encourage each other in the walk to re-discover the Joy and Peace of a true Christmas. Blessings to you and yours

Ondrea said...

You are not rambling, just speaking your truth which others are probably agreeing with. I only make gifts for those who are crafters themselves as I find they truly appreciate the time , energy and love put in to create their gift. Others often don't appreciate home made items. Throughout the year if I see something I think a specific person would like I buy it and put it away. However, this year saw me scrambling to the sewing room on Sunday afternoon to complete Christmas gifts I had started months ago . I was a perspiring mess by the time I had finished LOL.Phew! Posted them all yesterday. I have only just completed Christmas gift shopping today . I tend to buy gift vouchers for the men in my family as they love to shop at particular places like Bunnings and JB HiFi. Thankyou for your words of wisdom.

Unknown said...

Jenny, I just want to say, when life got on top of me earlier in the year, I searched the internet for some solice, and I found your website and your blogs.Now who directed me, I have ideas!!!

You have been an inspiration to me and have allowed me to follow my faith in a more pronounced but relaxed way, discover talents for stitching in a way I had never done before.

Just a huge thanks from me.

Createology said...

Thank you Jenny Dear for always sharing your honest open heart with us. So many of us women feel we must do everything all the time and as life gets more complicated we need to be true to our feelings and step back to take care of ourselves. No...this is not selfish behavior! Instead it is wise and we can be there for our family and friends when they need us. Please take good care of YOU. Blessings for all of 2018 Sweet Jenny...XO <3

Angela said...

Hi Jenny,
It is time, end of the year and Christmas so close, to thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas with all of us in the run of the year. Having paced down already it was a kind of wake-up call to read your thoughts and the consequences out of these. Once in a while one needs to be reminded of our own good resolutions. Thank you.

I wish you and your familiy a wonderful Christmas and a very happy and creative 2018.

Angela from Melaka

thewarmfireplace said...

Keeping you in prayer, I think so many of us feel overwhelmed at this time of the year, I feel I have git a crossroads in my life and know our dear Lord will help me find my new path.
Have a lovely blessed Christmas. Sue

Dolly said...

ok Jenny, hear is some well worn, used multi times a day, learned the hard way....Be still and know that I am God. From my lessons learned, when ever Something in my life knocks me to the ground , I have found that God is usually making a better plan than I could never think of myself. You are going to be surprised at what new home he is going to find for you, you are going to be surprised how peaceful, contented, happier than ever before in this new phase! It’s always better when it’s His, remember He is our just follow. Lean on His understanding of what He’s up too! Be amazed when you find out what He has planned for you! Just think, your going to be amazed at what He does!