“Balance. It’s like a unicorn; we’ve heard about it, everyone talks about it and makes airbrushed T-shirts celebrating it, it seems super rad, but we haven’t actually seen one. I’m beginning to think it isn’t a thing.”
Jen Hatmaker, For the Love
I hope I have never given the impression that I balance it all. I don’t. I think that’s why I am so moved by the first chapter of this book the above quote is from, “For the Love.” Christmas cards are a great example of this. I had written this post in my head but was so thankful to read this chapter before I had a chance to type it.
IF I was sending a Christmas card, it would include this picture. And I would use that cute template that says, “All is not calm, but all is bright.”
(Photography: Robb Davidson Photography)
First, I love mail. I love sending real cards with stamps. I love receiving mail. I love cards and letters and stationary. I love getting Christmas cards. I love a picture I can hold and put up on my wall and connections with people and a mailbox full of joy.
Here is the background on the Christmas cards
(skip to “Where I’m At Now” if you’d like).
I longingly waited until we had a cute little face to put on Christmas cards. I had special pictures taken and addressed and stamped lovingly all my Christmas cards. I did this for one year. In 2011 we moved into a new house in December and then had my sister’s wedding. I sent New Year’s cards. Then in 2012 we had a baby in the fall and because I had just sent birth announcements, I thought, ‘I’ll skip Christmas cards this year.’ That’s not really true. My husband said, “Are you crazy? You have a new baby, a growing business, a toddler and you just sent out birth announcements that had a family picture on it. Let’s skip them this year.” I said, “But of course!” No, not true again. But, I did thankfully (eventually and begrudgingly) follow the wisdom of my husband and said to myself, ‘Well, years we have babies and send birth announcements I just won’t send Christmas cards.’
Then in 2013, I just couldn’t get it together. I know that I’ve been taken off other people’s card lists because I have not sent one. I know. I’m okay with that. But something had to give. In 2014, we had another baby. And guess what? I didn’t even send a birth announcement. And now it’s 2015 and I’m here again, but this year, I have come to grips with my life.
Where I’m At Now
Some things have to give. I just can’t do it all. And I have to be okay with that.
I am choosing to be wise with my time and my energy. This year I am sadly putting aside this time-honored tradition that I love and focusing on the things that God has put front and center. We have a lot going on with ministry, business, and of course, three little wonderful people.
This is sad for me, but I know that I will be less stressed, less busy, and more focused this season if I let this one go.
I hope you still do a Christmas card this year (but it’s okay if your policy is to only send one to those who send one too). I don’t share this to say anything negative about how you spend your time or energy. I love getting your cards and I am thankful that you can still do this (I hope to again one day). We all have to have different stories and a different balancing act.
I only share this to say that this is something that I, sadly, am giving up. I am freeing myself from feeling like I have failed because I can’t do it all. I am sharing that I am not letting myself feel judged because I didn’t send one again this year. I am freeing myself from the “well I will next year” lie and just letting it go.
If you want the other lists of things I have had to let go, I’m happy to share. I often sing “If I had a million hours…” to the tune of BNL’s “If I had a million dollars..” But I don’t. God generously gave me 24 hours (and a need for sleep) and seven days in a week. Learning to let things go that I feel I “should” do is a process of trusting Him and His plan for me. I don’t know what you need freedom from this year, but I hope there is some encouragement in this.
And this is the pile of personal, specific notes still on my to-do pile—some of which have been sitting there for eight weeks, one is my very best friend’s birthday card (three weeks ago). I have some other things I need to get to first.
And I love you all and Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah and thank you and everything else.
December 8, 2015 at 11:11 pm
I love this post for so many reasons!
I, too, have years of backlogged correspondence (and guilt). I love your sense of purpose, and the way you submit to the limits of your loving and wise husband and Heavenly Father.
And I love your precious children’s pictures and presence in your life.
Blessings on you and yours this season!
December 9, 2015 at 8:19 am
This is soooo me! Only my 1st child got a birth announcement (3 or 4 months later), and it’s been 5 years (read “pre–kids”) since we’ve sent out Christmas cards. I had good intentions of sending one this year, but I’m hosting a baby shower for my sister-in-law in January with over 40 invitations still waiting to be addressed. So, needless-to-say, that will be the extent of my envelope addressing this month, in between keeping my kids focused on Christ this season (well, every season), and working nights at the hospital. It’s only because of Facebook that my extended family knows what my kids look like!