Sigh of relief. It’s finally over.
The pendulum swung quite a bit this year and landed somewhere in the middle. This holiday season wasn’t as awful as two years ago, but it wasn’t nearly as idyllic as last year. It was…tolerable. We had fun. It’s over. And we are SO thankful to be home and have some down-time with the fam.
Now I’m going to get really vulnerable here and expose Ugly Jennifer in hopes for some empathy and knowledge that I’m not alone in this. Don’t you hate it when your deep down, ugly, selfish self rears its horrendous head?
Let’s talk gifts.
I really, truly was sincere when I told my family that there was nothing that I needed or wanted for Christmas. Or at least I thought I was. Both of our brothers and SILs made charitable donations in our name, which was wonderful and very appreciated and exactly what we wanted them to do. But for everyone else, I did have a small list of items that – let’s face it – I really hoped for and, being as it was a very short list, kind of expected to receive.
Ah, expectations. They’ll blast you every time.
So I was disappointed when my short little list went completely unfilled. The more I thought about how disappointed I was, the angrier I became. Then I was angry and disappointed with myself for being so angry and disappointed.
I told you it was ugly. Wretched woman that I am.
Michael and I had a very long discussion about expectations and contentment last night as we drove through The Middle of Nowhere on our way back home. (Let me just say for the record that I am extremely thankful to have a husband who can engage in such a conversation with such a stupid woman and still love me and think I’m All That and a Bag of Chips. He is amazing.) I told him that if we removed the entire gift-giving factor, I would have been as happy and content on December 24 as I was on December 26, but because there were those blasted expectations, I came out disappointed. As we talked, we reached a few conclusions:
- Low expectations save you from disappointment.
- Don’t ask for “nothing” unless you are honestly willing to receive it.
- Canceling all gift-giving to save you from disappointment and discontentment is unrealistic.
- Make a VERY SPECIFIC Christmas list, communicate it clearly, and make sure your spouse divvies up the list appropriately – including what you wish for him to get for you. No more hemming and hawing about how there’s nothing I really want. (though this is tricky because often the best gifts are the surprise gifts.)
Please know that I am fully aware of how ridiculous all this is and how I need a whopping dose of perspective…which makes me all the more deplorable. Confronted with all my wretchedness, I knew that my heart needed some cleaning up. I woke up in the middle of the night with these familiar words singing in my head:
All of You is more than enough for
All of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You
Is more than enough.
Oh, if only that were true. I want that to be true. I sing that not as a declaration of truth, but as a prayer that it will be true in my own life. I’m thankful for a morning of broken worship and God’s cleansing mercy and forgiveness. I’m thankful that He continues to chase after me, even with all my selfish, egocentric ugliness. I’m thankful my beloved husband does the same.
So there it is. I’m not as stunningly gorgeous as I appear. Shocking, I know. But I’m working on it.
Merry Christmas, y’all.