Continuing with thoughts about things I'm learning when it comes to entertaining, doing the holidays, etc.
~ Let go of control. I have a problem with control freaks. Unfortunately, I am one. I didn't realize it until a few years ago, though. Oh, I knew that I was bossy, and that I had a good idea of how things should be. But I didn't think I was controlling. I sure got stressed when things didn't go the way I envisioned, though!
It became clear to me the year my sister came for Thanksgiving. I had a perfect dinner planned. A great natural, fresh turkey and all the fixings. And mom says, "Julie wants ham, so I'm gonna bring a ham." Ham?!! Ham was not in the Plan. The Plan was that everyone would eat and love my turkey. I got so upset about it that I decided I needed to figure out why. Turns out, I wanted all the control. I had Expectations and no one oughta mess with my Expectations.
So, God talked to me a bit. Made me see that truly blessing people means making it enjoyable for them. If Julie wants me to serve Brats with the turkey... if that's what would really make her happy, then I need to provide Brats. Those fit nowhere in my idea of a perfect Thanksgiving, but so what?
~Let go of perfect. There is no such thing. I have been striving for a perfect Christmas since I was about two. The more I strive, the more I expect, the more disappointing reality turns out to be. What makes a perfect Christmas - or Thanksgiving, or Easter, whatever- is spending time with the people you care about. Ministering to them. Spending time with God in Thanksgiving, or worshipping His son, or rejoicing in His resurrection, etc. It's about letting go of ourselves and relaxing and just taking it in. If the turkey explodes in the oven, the dog steals all the rolls, the sister expects ham... whatever. It can still be perfect.
~Let go of obligations. If it isn't fun-- DON'T DO IT. The lady at the talk that I mentioned yesterday said that we should only fix four types of Christmas cookies. Well, shoot. I don't fix any. Ok, I make some for my party, but that's it. One year as I was making cookies and grumping around I thought why am I doing this? I don't enjoy it. I don't like making cookies. Some of you do. Go for it!! (And send me some) If it's fun, do it! If it is just because it is something that you are "supposed" to do, let it go. That goes for attending parties, hosting a dinner, going to Christmas Eve service, making a Christmas breakfast, etc. Do what you enjoy. Make it a fun time, not a time of obligation.
~ Hang on to your family. One year I suddenly heard the way I was talking to my family. Whoa! Snarl, snap, gripe and boss boss boss. Awful! I was so stressed out about impressing other families that I was mistreating my own. They are the most important part. If I am so stressed that I can't be nice, then I need to re-evaluate. Something else needs to go. There is always going to be a little tension when getting ready for a party or what-not, but there are things that can make it easier. We'll talk about some of those tomorrow.
Please share some things you've learned. How do you make this time of year more relaxed and pleasurable for all involved?