I get easily overwhelmed. I noticed it in college first, how I couldn't take as many classes, and hold down a job, and be in a play, and have a roommate who stayed up late talking on the phone... I needed lots of white noise, plenty of peace and quiet and stillness to feel centered and calm.
I still do.
Today, amidst homeschooling and meal planning and speaking to women's groups, I still get overwhelmed. But it's not as easy as dropping a class, because now I'm a mom and I can't drop a kid. I used to break down and have a good cry session in my dorm room, burying my face into my fluffy peach comforter until I felt all poured out and better. But a quiet afternoon to wail and reboot isn't realistic now, and the "all poured out" feelings hold new meaning as I give and serve and care.
All poured out.
I've got all these people who make noise and get hungry and want clean clothes and a ride to flag football and karate and music lessons. And it's my privilege to listen and feed and clean and drive. But I get all stressed out in the loving.
And I've got a twitch in my left eye.
But here's what I've learned about sensitive moms, moms who are easily overwhelmed by the busyness of life... we can be terribly quick to nag and yell and even explode at those we love most. It's so convoluted! Because, you see, we're all worn out from LOVING... so we don't act loving. We're all worn out from the giving, so we don't give the best part of ourselves. Our intentions are wonderful; to provide fun and good food and a clean home and parties and help in their classes and host play dates... then we get all out-of-sorts from the constant giving and then we lack love.
Love is an action, I've heard is said and so have you, but that doesn't mean going all the time. The deepest loving is communicated through gentle whispers, in a game of catch, in movie night snuggles, in simply listening to what our children have to tell us in the safe quiet places of our home life.
It's hard to sit and listen when we're too busy loving.
And now it's Christmas and there are presents to wrap and cookies to bake, which means more tape to buy and a kitchen to clean, and "are all the kids stockings about the same size?" So you run back to the store again for another bottle of bubble bath. Add to the load a Christmas Kitchen Remodel, so there's dust everywhere and no food, and our guests will be here tomorrow night! And I'm worn out from the going and doing and decorating... so I snap at the kid who keeps asking the same question.
I'm worn out from all the busyness of loving, that's my excuse to act unloving.
This is simple. SO SIMPLE. Yet hard. SO HARD.
Are you shortest on patience when your intentions are most loving. You give and you give, during the holidays and everyday! And then, all spent, you lack tenderness, gentleness, and self-control. But the goal was to give and to love! The goal was love.
Loading the kids in the car you run back to the house for the thermos full of cocoa and Santa hats for everyone. But by the time you get to the street that's covered in Christmas lights, the sound of your children singing "Joy to the world" one more time makes you lose your head... lose your heart... and crush theirs.
If this is you, then choose with me to simplify this Christmas. Forgo the hot cocoa and the hats, leave the dishes in the sink, grab hold of their daddy's hand as you drive to see Christmas lights... and sing along.
Buy fewer gifts, so you can be the gift.
Make fewer sweets, so you can be sweet.
Light fewer candles, so you have the energy to let your own light shine.
Make it a simple Christmas, Mamas. The goal is love.
Just a couple of weeks ago I offered you a pass to simplify Thanksgiving, and one sweet reader asked me to remind her again at Christmas. Consider this my reminder...
The goal is love.
And so today I bid y'all a very Merry (simple) Christmas and the happiest of New Years. I will be closing down the blog for these special days, so that I can LOVE, simply love, my most cherished husband and children this Christmas.