Raise your hand if you feel pressure to accomplish the following tasks in the next month: serve a beautiful and delicious Thanksgiving feast, have an immaculate house for your guests, eat healthily in spite of the temptations, provide your children with meaningful and rich traditions, decorate your home for Christmas as if it belongs on the cover of a magazine, host several warm evenings with friends, put lights on your house, lose a few pounds, go to the gym, start and continue meaningful Christmas traditions, have an intentional quiet time everyday with God, participate in some sort of volunteer activity, get gorgeous Christmas cards in the mail, remember everyone’s birthday, purchase and beautifully wrap personal and special Christmas gifts for your entire extended family, give sweet gifts to your neighbors, friends and coworkers, cook healthy meals for your family, exercise regularly, keep up with facebook, reply to all emails, try all the holiday crafts you love on Pinterest, read the books on your nightstand, have lengthy phone conversations with your friends and family who are far away, purchase a stylish new outfit for that Christmas event, go on a date with your husband, and I could go on. Am I right?
If you’re anything like me, you want to do it all and have a hard time understanding that you can’t. I feel less-than when I don’t get all of the above done really well. Shiny magazines, storefront displays, and TV commercials make me think that all women can do all these things all the time and that if I don’t, I just won’t fit in with the rest of them, my children will suffer, and my neighbors will be horrified. But let’s be honest with each other for just a second--we can’t keep up.
At least we can’t keep up AND maintain our sanity and healthy relationships with our husbands, kids, and friends. We cannot stay in the rat race while at the same time abiding in the Lord and being filled by Him. As my friend Jen told me when I had three young kids at home, “You can either have an immaculate house or thriving kids, but not both.” We could use the same equation for any number of things.
We gotta plan to fail. If our highest priorities are communing with the Lord, ministering to our family, and pouring into the lives of others, we will not be able to do all the rest all the time. We gotta lower our standards. The emails can wait. The dishes will still be there. We’ll get back to the gym eventually. Some things have gotta give.
Let’s take the pressure off ourselves. Whose priorities are we living out, anyway? Let’s plan to fail by letting things go. Let’s enjoy the freedom of planned failure this holiday season!