Yesterday, I started posting about the Chaos to Calm Christmas Challenge. You can read my thoughts on “The Dare” here. What’s the point of the challenge? Well, in Karen Ehman’s own words, it’s to provide you with “biblical encouragement and practical ideas to help make your holidays less about stressing and more about blessing!” I can sure use that! How about you?
On Day 2 of the challenge, we’re encouraged to think about our Expectations. What are our expectations for the holidays? She mentions various things that play a part in the origin of our expectations. I’m trying to think of some of the sources of mine . . .
I’m sure my childhood plays a part in my expectations. My first 14 Christmases were spent as an only child and an only grandchild (on my dad’s side). So, needless to say, I was a child who wanted for nothing. Looking back, I definitely don’t fault my parents, and I don’t consider myself necessarily “spoiled”. However, I find myself wanting something different for my own kids. I’ve posted recently how I’m really trying to take the commercialism out of Christmas. I just don’t want my kids to want. I want them to understand the difference between “want” and “need” and to be more aware of the needs of others. Those things need to come before our wants.
One thing that stands out in my memory of childhood Christmases is my mother’s perfectly decorated tree. It was all white lights and gold balls. And, to me, it was perfect. I’m sure it’s what instilled in me the desire to create the perfect tree each year.
Karen also mentions Keeping up with the Jones’. I think that, if we’re all honest, we all have a bit of a tendency to look at what those around us are doing, and compare. That’s part of the reason I haven’t really allowed myself to get too into Pinterest. There are so many wonderful ideas there, but it’s just not possible to put them all into practice, no matter how much we might want to. Sure, I’d love to have a nicer house, decorated with all those hand-made and repurposed things. But, in reality, I’m lucky if I can accomplish one or two crafts a year, let alone in a week, or even a day!
Karen’s encouragement is 3 fold:
- Avoid perfect.
- Embrace imperfect.
- Redefine perfect.
This is SUCH a great reminder. Because, you know what? Your perfect might look very different from mine, and that’s ok! If all our houses were decorated exactly the same way and our kids were all getting the same gifts under the tree, life would be beyond boring! Variety is the spice of life!
We need to stop worrying about what others are doing or thinking and start focusing on the internal – our families and our hearts.
It’s ok that my tree might not look perfect (though Gracie’s got it pretty darn close!) and our family pictures are less than magazine worthy (because those crazy little boy moments are what memories are made of).
Our assignment for today is to list 2 or 3 new measuring sticks for the holidays. Here are mine:
- Is my family focused on the real meaning for the season?
- Is my family happy? Are we all getting along?
- Is my family relaxed and comfortable (rather than uptight and feeling awkward)?
What about you? Can you let go of some of your unrealistic expectations this year and replace them with some new – more realistic and important – ones?
“Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” ~Isaiah 43:18-19 (HCSB)