Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

Confessions of a Holiday Hypocrite

on January 15, 2014

Rewind a month and a half to the beginning of December last year.  The hope and joy of  the Christmas season lay spread before me as thoughts  of maximizing holiday fun and education swirled through my head.  On this blog, I shared with you our plans for the Christmas Adventure Box and other Christmas traditions.   I envisioned handmade gifts and peaceful evenings at home near the brightly lit tree. I had the best laid plans…and like many best laid plans, they went awry.

Yes, I fell prey to Pinterest Syndrome, quite deadly to a mama’s often already shaky confidence.  Pinterest Syndrome begins with a few deceptively simple ideas, really good ideas mind you, but it grows into a nasty and surprisingly strong anticipation of all things good and no things ordinary or, heaven forbid, even bad.  Expectations soar to incredible heights, destined to plummet at the first sign of potential failure.  And here I thought I was creating a “simple” Christmas this year… (I’ll forgive you if you snicker a little at this point.)

In my defense, the holiday season was progressing suspiciously well for our family.  Thanksgiving came and went with no major incidents, unlike years past.  Everyone was healthy for the moment, a rare winter treat in a family of six.  My husband and I even managed to put up the Christmas tree and lights with no arguing and minimal frustration, despite the circus of craziness that four enthusiastic children create when forced to wait.  We felt like champions!  We had conquered a pattern of holiday frustration for the first time in years!

Then somewhere along the line, life began to get very real.  Our youngest son, four years old,  decided the holiday season would be a good time to test our parental authority, especially at family gatherings and in other publicly humiliating places including the church Christmas play dress rehearsal.  Not exactly the peace I had anticipated.  Our budget grew tight.  I grew stressed about all of the things on my list.

On top of all of that, we became suddenly busy with all of the typical holiday concerts and gatherings.  So much for those quiet evenings at home listening to my favorite Christmas cds. Instead we hustled back and forth from our children’s school to the church, to  the store, to family gatherings, and so forth.  And it was all fun and good and mostly necessary, but it does make one a little weary. 🙂

bare tree, winter, disappointment

For the most part, I was able to maintain the joy and hope of the season, after all there was a lot of sweet memory-making sprinkled into the mix, but I held onto a dark secret.

After all of the praise and promise of the Christmas Adventure Box that I shared with you, we didn’t even manage to do it this year!  At all.  Nothing.  Nada. Zip.  It just didn’t happen.  In fact, the only traditions we managed to hang onto after the decorating of our tree were the reading of the Christmas story from the Bible and our Christmas Eve supper.  I didn’t even attempt to mail out Christmas cards and I had no pictures available for family members like I usually would.  I felt like a failure.

Add to that  a little family drama and my carefully planned and highly anticipated season of hope and joy crumbled before me.  The disappointment that followed was slightly bitter and came with a side dose of  viral illness, as well as over a foot of snow, that kept me and most of our children cooped up at home for weeks…. literally.

I could have blogged about it, but to be honest, I felt unworthy.  I struggled with the disappointment and the frustrations of life that were getting in my way.  And so like most hypocrites, especially those who succumb to Pinterest Syndrome on occasion, I hid from you all.   I quit writing.  I quit taking pictures.  I made excuses and planned to resume in the new year.  And when I was finally struck with the viral plague that entered our home, I wallowed in my misery.  For a few days, God and I were barely on speaking terms. 🙂

Honestly, I’m not sad that I took time away from writing here to spend on such a worthy cause as family time.  But I am disappointed in my hypocritical self, not so much for failing to get the Christmas Adventure Box done – after all, it’s not the most important thing in life and sometimes as mamas we have to pare life down to just the nitty gritty in order to survive with sanity (and with a family who still loves us and wants to be around us…). 🙂

My disappointment is more in my hiding away in blogger shame and silence.

The thing is that I believe in Grace, I really do.  I’m very aware that without Grace, I’d be a hopeless mess, truly I would.  With Grace I still have nothing to boast about except for a God who gives second chances, and third, and fourth, to infinity and eternity, a God who loves me deeply for who I am, not for who the world thinks I should be, a God who through the blood of Jesus, sees the best version of me even when I’m acting my worst.  But like many mamas, I have a hard time extending that grace to my own self.

So, I confess.  I’ve been a Holiday Hypocrite.  In fact, I could be called an everyday hypocrite, too,  because I’m far from perfect, so far.  I still lose my temper. I still forget important events. I still argue with my husband and become impatient with my children.  I’m still selfish with my time.  I’m still prideful.  I still say “no” to the Holy Spirit in so many ways.  I’m still learning who God made me to be.

But that’s the beauty of our journey, sisters, that we get chance after chance to do things differently.  Those failures we feel so deeply are not the end of the story.  We are given infinite opportunities to let our Father God change who we are, from the inside out.  And that good work He began in saving us from a life of sin, He promises to continue to the very end.  We can have complete confidence in that!

red berries, winter, hope

So, keep up the good work, my sisters in Christ, even if your holidays or your New Years failed to live up to your expectations. Fight the good fight.  Run the good race.  And when you fail or fall, let Him pick your hypocritical self  back up again and hold you for a while, heal your wounds if needed, and send you off on your way , but not alone for He runs alongside you.

Don’t let those fiery darts from the Enemy bog you down, not now, but put on the full armor of God so you will stand firm in your faith. No more hiding away, no more pretending to be something we are not, no more fearing what the world thinks.  Just being okay with the fact that we are sinners, helpless and hopeless sinners, but He loves us anyways.  And His work is not yet complete.

“Not to us, Lord, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.”

Psalm 115:1

Jen 🙂

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4 responses to “Confessions of a Holiday Hypocrite

  1. ardisanelson says:

    Jen, I’m glad you confessed being a holiday hypocrite. I didn’t have much of a holiday spirit this year, wanting to simplify, being frustrated with the outcome, and also transitioning to teens leaving the nest. Pastor’s wives are unfairly held to a higher standard than most women, so I found it particularly refreshing to read your vulnerability in this venue. BTW, I found your post through Missional Women. Ardis

    • Ardis,
      Thanks so much for stopping by to encourage me! And a big “Amen!” to your comment about pastor’s wives. I’m sure many can relate. 🙂 Come back for a visit again!
      Jen 🙂

  2. Laura says:

    Your honesty and vulnerability is so beautifully refreshing and encouraging!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

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