Holiday Stress: Red Pens, To-do Lists and Personal Report Cards...

My Wisdom Figure taught me a lesson that I will never forget. She taught me, once you find one of your Gifts, you need to step out of the way and let the Divine teach you how to use it.

You don't control your Gifts, you channel them. Some of you may think that sounds like mumbo-jumbo, but honestly, it is quite simple.  Think about it this way: What is something you are really good at; maybe it's tennis or baking or playing the piano. Have you ever noticed that the days you are super focused on making the perfect cookie, sometimes they just don't turn out right? Other times when you just relax you play, bake, create in a way you never realized. That is exactly what I'm trying to explain... You get out of the way and let God and your Gifts do their stuff. Some call it being in the zone. For me it's simply allowing God to work through you.

I'm trying to do this with PilgrimageGal. Of late I have been trying too hard to find the next door to open. I have been pushing myself and my perfectionist tendencies. I seem unwilling to make the space to listen. I'm sure all of us have this at one time or another. That talent and ability to take out our own red pens (another wisdom figure lesson) and grade our performance. I grade myself unmercifully... I'm sure many of you do the same.  Women especially seem to have a built in self-critical gene.

The dreaded comparison. For women there is no better time of the year to score our own personal report cards than the holidays. The long list of the things we haven't accomplished is so much longer than the list of what we have. AND we are the first to provide ourselves with a failing report. I did that this morning. I slept poorly the last two nights, for a variety of reasons, Norah called me at one am to let me know she was hot! At nearly nine, she still lacks the ability to kick-off or pull on her covers. I will long for these calls when she is in college but; last night I was awake, running the list of my failings and lack of accomplishments; the details I just haven't gotten to; the worries. Who have I forgotten on the Christmas card list? Why can I not get a Christmas wreath on the door? Why haven't I decorated my window boxes? When will I get to shopping for those special little gifts for people? And God help me get them in the mail so they arrive before St. Patrick's Day!

I so long for this Christmas to be perfect.  To make this California Christmas one for the record books; but try as I may, I continue to fail. I also can't seem to keep in mind that we have been in this house for only 20 days! I'm looking for trashcans, my address book and Christmas decorations all at the same time. Still can't find my address book; why on earth did I pack that and not place it in my carry-on!?! Moving in November is a hot mess! But honestly, when is moving not a hot mess?!  I should let a couple of things go... But, I'm not built that way.

For some reason that escapes those who love me. I have a small (or some may say large) issue of focusing on the wrong details. I'm trying to control my Gifts, not using them in the way God has called me to do. I'm holding on to my control so tight, it has literally given me a migraine today.

One of my Gifts, is my home. No matter where Jeff and I have lived we have always been blessed to have guests, family, friends, friends of friends, and a whole cast of characters come through our door. Our home is always the way-station on the journey. You come as you are, put your feet up, eat or drink something and re-group. Sometimes our home is beautifully clean, other times not so much; but the response is always the same. People always find a way to re-charge and they have lovingly shared that story with us time and again. Friends have fallen asleep after dinner in a cozy chair by the fire, we have one special long blinker who can't make it through a movie ever! Others just stay and sit and visit because they are relaxed and happy just chatting. When you come you let go, recharge and renew. You find peace here.  Our home's uniqueness is simple; we long ago made room for the Divine. You know houses like this, I can think of one right off the top of my head, Camp. You may not see God, but you feel the Divine. Most of the time our house is just warm and happy. It's just HOME.  It's not Jeff or the Beauties; nope it's all of us, we have opened our hearts and are allowing God to do the work. We just made the room and got out of the way. 

So this morning, I met myself in bed, and realized I was doing it


again, the furrowed brow, the to-do list that was ridiculous, and scanned my moving box filled disaster of a bedroom. I took a huge breath and channeled my inner Elsa from Frozen, "LET IT GO". I adjusted my eyes and focused on the real stuff. I need to let my home re-charge me. I needed to let the Divine into my heart. I need to allow the space for the Divine to restore me, and then I can channel my energies into the important work of Hebrews 13:2.

"Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels."

Because each and every person who has come through our door has taught me about my journey. They always have given us more than we ever give them and they aren't coming into my home with a red pen to look at my wreath or check out the cleanliness of my fridge. Nope. They are coming to break some bread or a Christmas cookie that may have come from the grocery store! Have a glass of something refreshing, relax from the long journey that has brought them to our door. Each and every visitor is the mirror, to see the Divine working, moving and shinning in our daily life.

It's not about the decorations, dinner, or the presents. Its about making room for the LOVE of the season. That birth in a little town with the stable. That friends, is what this season is about.... Sharing that love. I buy presents to show that love, but the love people really want is the love of our time.

They need our presence... Not our presents. 

So think about your Gift. Maybe you are the piano player of the family or the chief tree decorator, family photographer, storyteller or the best cookie maker. Focus on the one thing that gives you and those who love you, joy this season. AND let the rest of it go.

One final little tip, no one knows what is on you list but you. So find the space and let the Divine restore you... And then let the rest of us delight in your Gifts too!

So as I hydrate, and eat a little soup for this stupid headache, I will sleep well tonight, because I will re-read this post to remind myself that it's not about the stuff.  It's about the people.

The people we are waiting to share our life with every single day.

And the amazing fact that 2,000 years later, we still celebrate the birth of a baby in a manger, and the unconditional love that it represents. 

Peace be with you,


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