I’ve been thinking about something the last week or so. My mind wandered over the last 7 years since I was first diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and it made me sad. Mostly sad because I’ve never known motherhood without my thyroid disease, and it’s side effects. This morning my feelings about this came to a head as I broke down mourning the loss of all the moments that I wish I had given or could give my children. In particular about Christmas, but all the moments came rushing to mind like a roaring river from over the years about all the ways I had “failed” my kids.
Comparison can be a raging wildfire. When we stare at others, and what they have, or at their talents, and feel subpar because we aren’t doing or accomplishing the same, or in this instance, I was becoming a victim of not meeting my own expectations about what I should or should not be doing during the Christmas season with my children. There have been times when comparison snuck in because I was watching what others did with their children, and felt like a failure for not having done the same.
In the past few years, I have simplified Christmas. We pick a few favorite activities to do outside of the home, but mostly I try to do a few simple things at home to keep us focused on Jesus this season so we don’t get too focused on toys, Santa, and all the delicious treats that typically accompany the holiday. But even with how much I have simplified things, sometimes it’s still too much, and that’s where I found myself this morning. The expectations of my “normal” December list of To-Dos, and how fatigued and irritable I have felt with my thyroid levels being off became too much, even if in previous years the list was fine…this year it’s still just too much, and I sat in that for awhile, and I battled those thoughts…
“Come on Bridget! You seriously hardly do anything compared to other families, get your crap together!”
“You already missed the first Advent reading, looks like you are off to a great start!”(obviously in a sarcastic tone- then I proceeded to gather my children around the table last night at bedtime in order to redeem myself which only ended in disobedient, distracted children that left me really frustrated and even more like a failure than before I started!)
As I sat down, and thought about all of these things this morning, and had a little time with Jesus, I remembered what I know from previous experience….that sometimes when I feel this way….when I’m too tired but to just exist, or my hormones are all out of whack, and my anxiety is like a ticking time bomb….sometimes the only strength I can muster up is to literally just be. Not even to make the craft with my kids, or engage in the fun Christmas activity, it’s just to show up, and be. And that breaks my heart, because I see so many amazingly, wonderful things that I could be doing to engage with my kids especially at Christmas time, and in my lack, all I have the strength to do somedays is just be.
As I cried out to God this morning, frustrated at my lack….me…the Type A, always able to get it done reliable girl who probably in a different life would have helped create Pinterest, can hardly even muster up the strength to do any of it without breaking…I was reminded of what His word says in Psalm 46:10
“Be still and know that I am God!”
I opened my bible to read the rest of that chapter, and just felt relief wash over me as I read the words….
VS 1-5 “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come, and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! A river brings joy to the city of our God the sacred home of the Most High. God dwells in that city. It cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day GOD WILL PROTECT IT.
He is ALWAYS ready to HELP IN TIMES OF TROUBLE!
DON’T FEAR– let the earthquakes come! Let the mountains crumble! Let the oceans roar and waters surge because WE CANNOT BE DESTROYED! HE WILL PROTECT US!
And just like that…peace. Peace to know that it’s ok to “Just Be” sometimes. To just lean in, and rest in Him. To allow Him to be my source, and strength instead of me trying to muster up the strength on my own to do things that I just can’t do right now.
So I wanted to share this with you today too friends. Permission to just be…..in whatever way that looks for you and your family in this season and always. Go be that! Not be who others are…be you! Who God created you to be! Now I don’t say this as an excuse to be lazy. We can get stuck there too, but permission to not put stress on yourself to do things that don’t matter. Press into Him, and see what He really wants for you and your family. Maybe this Christmas that is to dominate at all the Pinterest crafts you can get your hands on, or visit every Christmas festival within driving distance, or maybe like me, it’s a season of feeling overwhelmed, and stressed, and that you too need to know it’s ok to Just Be.
Sending love to you friends! May Jesus alone fill your cup this holiday season!