Sunday, December 1, 2013

Picture Perfect, and the struggle therein.

I have spent a good portion of our weekend fluffing the house, arranging decor, moving furniture and wall hangings, adding items, stepping back to squint and consider, and then a bit more adjusting and the like.  (Admittedly, one of my favorite housewifely pastimes.)  

I have purposed in my heart to keep most surfaces fairly simple this year, as opposed to many vignettes, and shelves laden with every holiday decor item we possess, but that's also a rather subjective opinion, as my "simple" is another person's "gaudy" or "barren." After it was all said and done, I was pleased with the fruits of my effort and my eyes had places to rest.  I think that is more important to me this year, than ever before.  The overstimulation of the season usually takes its toll on me by mid-December and I feel the need to change things- or rather, every THING.

I dislike that feeling and wonder if anyone else can relate.  I can allow myself to get so caught up in bedecking the halls that I forget the lofty end-goal in my mind- peace and rest and pressing in to Jesus.  Twinkle lights swim before my eyes and Pinterest boards swell with ideas as I strive to create the picture perfect house... not to mention the blog house tour reveal that so many of us share just for the fun of it.  Really, how silly I am, but I must keep it honest for my own sake.  I am always a work in progress... but ever pressing on to do better.  Not better in the ways of the world, but better in my heart.  Better with my finances.  Better with my intentional focusing on the ultimate Reason for this blessed season.  All around better, in a non-picture perfect way.  A behind-the-scenes kind of way.
(Image taken from my Instagram feed- @Lemonademakinmama)

I needed to write reminders on my chalkboards because my focus wanders somewhere between choosing the perfect gift wrap, and coming up with coordinating stripey straws for the annual hot cocoa station.  I hate to admit it, but it does.  It's this season, more than any other, where I feel the words so keenly, of Robert Robinson, in Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, penned in the year 1757.

"Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above."

I can only speak for myself, but there is a balance to be found in my own heart, as I delight in creating a warm and welcoming holiday environment, to what I let my heart focus on when it slides into holiday neutral.

It's always a choice, but it is one I must make every effort to be intentional about, as the hustle and bustle begin.  I will eventually share photos of my holiday home of course because that is so fun... but I'm trying to stake my claim squarely in the middle of what matters most, first and I know that for me, it begins like this.  

How about you?  Do you struggle with being intentional during this season?  Do you find that the season is over and done before you can blink?  Do you then beat yourself up with guilt because you didn't do what you hoped you would do?  Or have you found a way to navigate the holidays in ways that benefit your family and those around you?  How do you press in?  How do you make each day count during this busy season?  I'd love to hear your comments about what has worked or not worked for you in the past and support each other in this.

Cause ready or not... here we go!  (wink)


Lea said...

Oh, I think we all struggle with balance and keeping Jesus at the center of this awesome season. Thanks for a provoking post to remind us to "get it together" as the season begins and to prioritize on what really matters. Blessings!

Msmoozys Open House said...

Great post hun and I am sure just speaking this will help with that balance. As you know I am really still a new blogger and I am having a hard time the the balance thing on any given day so this holiday I will see what will happen. I think since this is the first year that the boys are "officially" ours that will take more attention. I am also hoping that the up and coming months my relationship with the Lord will also go even closer.

Thanks for bringing up some great thoughts and for sharing them with all of us. ~Hugs~

carissa @ lowercase letters said...

we sold all our decor so this year all we will have is a tiny advent calendar! it feels like a big relief! : )

Farmgirl Paints said...

I'm not doing so good. Started bawling like a baby today because a dress I loved got shrunk in the dryer. That's what chasing your tail and living in a giant mess will do. Feeling so behind.

Barbara said...

I work out of the house with a 2 hour commute five days a week so I can't do all that I would like so I choose carefully and spend the time with my family and friends. I also am not a huge decorator very minimalI think because my moms house had every wall and table shelf bursting with whatever. Keep on with the tea time and movie night they will remember these things more then the tinsel and garland.

Tiffini said...

boy girl DO i struggle. i think we always will while in these bodies...BUT i love that we can encourage one another press on and into jesus. our true calling.. there is nothing wrong with decorating our house to make our hearts joyful and others to feel welcome etc. nothing at all.
i think .. for is the priority we set on it. especially in today's cyber world where our lives hang in the precipice of comparing it to everyone else's. the pull of not being know all this. i for one, am right there with you. cheering for you. loving your realness...we all struggle. i love you in your struggle. always xo

Marty Ann said...

God is SO good! I woke this morning crying because my grown children don't want to spend any time together, not even for Christmas. We had a huge split in the family (grown children mind you) a few years ago. Time has healed a few hearts I thought and I tried to have 4 of the 6 come for Thanksgiving, (very strained) but the grandchildren had a ball playing with each other. So in my mind we would try again at Christmas. WRONG. Got a txt from one daughter all excited to get together and even planning Christmas pictures with the grandkids. Later I hear from another daughter that she wants to know when the other daughter is coming for Christmas with us so she can plan not to be here at that time. It took the spirit of Christmas right out of me, and I cried all morning (hiding my face from my grown sons and my husband) So, when I read your post it spoke volumes to me, keep it simple, focus on Jesus. I had made my list yesterday, outside decorations, the tree, the Christmas village, wrapping, researching blackboard ideas, etc. Now I think SEEK HIM like you have on yours will remind me to rein back and keep me focused. Because if I let it, I will be crushed this season, and I can't let that happen. Thank-you Sasha, God spoke to me through you and I now know that I have to stay simple and focused.

paige said...

i love you.
i do.
i love your heart
i love your desire to keep it real life
i love your how your spirit is wrapped inside HIM.
and yes. i struggle. struggle with spending too much. struggle with hurry & rush. and struggle with discontent. i do.
i wish i didn't.
i love you

Lorraine and Jessica said...

I'm in sitting behind you in that boat!!! In fact, the other day I annouced on FB that I would not be inviting holiday stress to my house at all and yet........ugh. Always a work in progress for sure!!! I feel that verse so deeply, prone to wander and wander and wander. Just when I start to eliminate one thing, something else takes its place. It does seem never ending! Thank you for the reminder that we must be intentional, especially in this season! I'm going to be fighting like a champ to resist the urge to hang out with stress, she may have shown up on my doorstep, but I don't have to let her in!!!

For the record, I can't wait to see all of your "simply perfect" holiday decor!!!

Christina said...

This is the first year in a long time (ever?) that I took "Fall" down the day after Thanksgiving, dusted and over the weekend slowly started pulling out Christmas. Really, pulling out Advent but some things overlap a little. With Thanksgiving being a little later this year and with me about to pop any day now with a new addition to our family, I felt like I needed a little head start. What we like to do though is slowly decorate our house first focusing on Advent and then moving into the Christmas decor as we get closer to Christmas. Since Advent was the 4000 years (4 weeks) waiting for Jesus this is how we keep the anticipation for Jesus' birthday. Our tree won't go up for another week or so, so we continue to have something to look forward to. So far I'm happy that our kiddos were extremely excited that Advent was starting instead of focusing on Christmas.

Kristie said...

Love this blog. It always helps me "Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing" Wishing everyone a very blessed Christmas.

Lee said...

My husband and I (just married in October) were talking yesterday about how we want our house to be for Christmas (and other holidays, but especially Christmas). Do we want it to be all decorated? Do we want to keep it minimal? We didn't come up with an answer, but one thing I was reminded of is that, however we do it, if we do it with our hearts in the right place, it will be awesome no matter what.

This year, keeping our hearts in the right place means honoring our limited finances to use what we have to make our home festive and welcoming - and more importantly, planning wisely to celebrate the season with joy and love.

Between You and Me said...

yes. i struggle to, which is why i'm keeping it simple, too.
just small touches here and there....
i'm mostly done with shopping...kept it simple, too.
simple feels good the older i get.

your home is know how to dress a home, that's for sure.

Between You and Me said...

yes. i struggle to, which is why i'm keeping it simple, too.
just small touches here and there....
i'm mostly done with shopping...kept it simple, too.
simple feels good the older i get.

your home is know how to dress a home, that's for sure.

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

Peace & Rest and Pressing into Jesus. I will never forget that saying now - so beautiful and appripro…
I LOVE your sign - Seek Him. I have a beautiful Christmas Ornament made of wood which says, "Wise Men Still Seek Him", it's my favorite. Blessed Advent to you and yours.

Serendipity Refined said...

I absolutely struggle with this...especially this year when I'm in a much smaller home with boxes still unpacked. Of course, I'm decorating...but it is much simpler than it has been in the past and for that, a part of me is thankful. It has allowed me to focus more on what is truly important: family and friends and faith. I haven't even begun to shop but I've decided that whatever I can get accomplished will be enough. Besides, the people that I love know it every day...not just at Christmas. Thanks for the gentle reminder. I love your sign.