I'm sharing this story even though it makes me sound like a hypocrite.
I'm grocery shopping at Costco, just having finished facilitating a Saturday morning retreat on "Keeping the Holidays Holy" and I see the most beautiful Christmas wreath. You should see this wreath. Just looking at it makes me feel warm and cozy and I know it will make my family feel warm and cozy too. I just know if I buy this wreath my family will enjoy it while we're sitting by the fireplace drinking hot chocolate, laughing, playing games, and enjoying a peaceful family evening. I just know it. This wreath will give me a peaceful family. This wreath will make my family like board games.
Did I mention I had just facilitated a retreat on "Keeping the Holidays Holy"? Did I mention it was all about not getting overwhelmed by the season's commercialism and unrealistic expectations? Oh... and about feeling grateful for what you already have?
As we enter into November, I find myself bracing myself for the busy two months ahead. Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's seem to unfold faster and faster every year. The busy-ness, the stores, and the TV commercials bring out my "I need more" gremlins. I need more to decorate my house and make it warm and cozy. I need my family to be happy and getting along in every moment. I need to help more. I need to give move. I need to be more. And the list goes on and on until I collapse onto the couch in exhaustion.
MOMENTS OF I NEED MORE!
The "I need to have more, do more, be more" frenzy never ends well. I never feel good when I have those moments when I realize I spent too much time and money on things I didn't need. I never feel good in those moments when I'm shopping for others and get sidetracked into shopping for myself. I never feel good about those moments when I'm blowing up at my family because no one's acting the way I feel they should be acting according to a perfect family image stuck in my mind.
MOMENTS OF ENOUGH!
Maybe you can relate to the "not enough syndrome". You can spend a whole day in it. You wake up and you didn't get enough sleep, you get the kids off to school and you should have fed them a healthier breakfast, you get to work and look at your list of what you need to do and realize there won't be enough time in the day, you go home and pay bills and you don't have enough money for everything you need. This is a toxic place to be. When you become overwhelmed in the "not enough syndrome" you can feel powerless ("this is impossible!"), inadequate ("who am I to say anything?"), and guilty ("I should have done something"). It's a vicious cycle. But you do have a choice.
MOMENTS TO MAKE A CHOICE.
Next time you find yourself in that "not enough syndrome" make a choice to practice gratitude. That's what I'm going to be focusing on this season. Gratitude really is a choice. It's not an attitude. It's the intentional decision to look at things differently and begin a practice. Start by recognizing how much you have and how much you are in God's name. Start by saying, because of God, I have enough, I do enough, and I am enough.
Gratitude will invite joy into your life and bring you closer to God. Gratitude will remind you God is right there for you to help you through life and provide you with all that you truly need. Practicing gratitude can change your life. Research shows that practicing gratitude helps marriages, improves health, helps with mild depression, and increases well-being and happiness.
There is a section in my prayer, "A Prayer for Balance" in my journal that says everything I continue to work on day in and day out.
When I am attached to material things, remind me only You can fill the hole in my heart. When I am scared to let go old habits and behaviors, remind me Your way is more fulfilling. When I'm scared to make choices, grant me the courage to say "no" so I can live Your "yes".
What about you? Is there a commitment to reflect on gratitude in a deeper way this Thanksgiving?
Is there a gratitude practice you'd like to share?
Can you relate to any of this?
I'd love to hear from you.