So if you know me at all you know I love to bake and every single Christmas I bake. A LOT! From Frosted sugar cookies to fudge, Santa surprises to chocolate covered pretzels. Probably about a dozen various special treats and gift them to my family, friends and neighbors (and help my husband need gift exchange because he gained another pant size.) This past holiday season I did not bake. Nope. Not one single treat and let me tell you, you would have thought I committed the unpardonable sin.
Let me explain.
The last quarter of 2015 I realized something I have never grasped before (or maybe held so loosely too I let it slip away). Everything that is good is not profitable. Everything that I like to do and want to do is not always what is best. I can’t do everything. Not everything is meant for me to do.
I tried to go full steam ahead, do all the things I think are expected of me and all the things I need to do, all the things other people should be doing and find time for the things I love then I burn myself out. Add to that being in a desert place spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally and you have a recipe for a meltdown. I was at capacity and on empty and realized very clearly that if I added one more thing I would be in trouble.
So I choose wisely.
I realized that the things I had no control over were out of control and the things I could control I needed to reevaluate for importance. The cookies, a few parties, decorating, projects around the house, extra activities I hoped to do- all made the cut.
The cookies was the biggest thing. I found myself apologizing. I cried. I felt like I was letting everyone down in falling to make this holiday tradition happen. I mean as silly as it is now because everyone did survive without Christmas cookies (to hear my husband you would think he lost a limb and was starved to death). The moment at which I came to the realization that to make the cookies meant sacrificing being able to stand up without excruciating pain in my knee, meant giving up sleep my frazzled mind and body desperately needed, meant letting down my kids and my husband and my poor neighbor who starts asking at Thanksgiving when I will start baking, I realized something. In that moment I realized growth. Growth in that I put what was best for me before what was good and everyone made it out alive. I put what was needed before what was wanted.
May not sound like a big deal but to me this is huge. I live in the place of making everyone else happy. Not because they require it but because I do. I have always been a Martha and I needed a Mary moment. I need to be still (well as still as I could be) and I needed to catch my breath, to eat someone else’s cookies, to be quiet and boring and rest and miss those parties. I needed to not second guess my saying No and rest in my right to choose.
Too often I get lost in the “must’s” and the “think I should’s”. Simple answer as to why: because I lost perspective and peace. I stopped seeking the plan for my day in a quiet and still moment with my maker. I started borrowing from what could happen and what should happen instead of living in what was happening and allowing it to. I filled my time with stuff- necessary or not.
Now in setting limits, expressing your needs and making clear boundaries, in choosing, sometimes others are offended. Sometimes they see it as your feelings are more important than theirs. For me that is not what it was about at all. It was for me and continues to be because I have been to the bottom and I know what it feels like to not choose and loose myself, almost completely and finally.
What a freedom there is in living IN today. Taking moment by moment. I am sure I sound like a broken record but there is peace and taking it as it comes and trusting and resting that my steps are order, when I have HIS perspective on my day.
Mary and Martha
38-40 As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”
41-42 The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”
*Disclaimer: No innocent husbands were hurt in the process. My sister saved the day and made sure his waist line didn’t miss out on cookies and that there was a plate for Santa*