The Advent/Christmas Season is a mixture of the best and worst time of year for me. This is the season of preparation for the coming of the Lord and of the celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. This is a time for family togetherness and for spreading Christmas cheer. However, it is also a stressful time for me personally and professionally. As an Administrative Assistant for a church, my workload increases significantly. Everyone in the church wants to plan and advertise their own special celebration and I sometimes feel like a contortionist trying to coordinate everything. Add to that the personal stress that comes from trying to find money in my tight budget to get everyone I love that one very special gift, the hollow pain of missing my son during the celebration of the season, and the attempt to fit even more gatherings and special activities into my already full life and it’s a wonder that I don’t give up celebrating Christmas all together.
I admit I can be a bit of a Type A personality. Okay, I am a Type A personality. My mind is constantly checking over a list of things I need to do and I’m compelled to check things off of that list as quickly as possible for fear of not getting them done in time. At Christmastime, there are so many things on that mental list that I lose focus trying to juggle them all. My struggle for control manifests itself through insomnia and in a sudden lack of patience which lead to exhaustion and depression leaving me in a state of confusion and with an inability to make even simple decisions. The more I try to organize the innumerable variables that Christmastime presents, the less control over everything I seem to have.
When I am so overwhelmed that I feel like I’m drowning in frenzy, I find myself crying out to God, as I did this week, to help me push all of it aside. I beg him to help me focus on celebrating Jesus instead of leaving me to wallow in the chaos. I implore him to help me get things organized and settled. That’s when he reminds me of one very important detail that I somehow forget too often. He reminds me that the control I’m seeking is not mine to have. Many years ago, I gave Jesus control of my life – every moment! In a previous blog (“Finding God’s Message in the Puzzle” - August 6, 2009) I concluded that I don't have control over what will happen. In fact, I never did and to embrace the kind of trust in God that he deserves, I need to stop clinging to the illusion of being able to obtain that control. I’m in such turmoil now because, once again, I’m trying to obtain something only God is wise and powerful enough to handle.
The peace and joy I’m lacking and desperately craving will come when I give up my foolish demand for control and seek to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance as he reveals his will to me. I need to trust that God’s perfect timing will prevail and that the things that must be done will get done as they should. I must let go of the stress, the micro-managing of every detail, and the fruitless pursuit of control so that I can grab hold of the peace, the joy, and the love of the Lord that are waiting for me. About the pictures: Pittsburgh, PA (Thanksgiving Day)