But then Christmas comes, and if I’m not careful, I’ll slip right back into my old ways of trying to create the perfect Christmas. This year, I’d like to leave the farce to the Griswolds, so I’m taking my own advice.
In Mythical Me, I tell a story that I’m remembering this Christmas. One week I was rushing around like crazy, trying to pack too many activities into too little time. In the middle of one of the busiest days, a friend asked how I was doing, and I answered honestly: “Frantic.”
My friend pressed for details, and I shared them: in addition to the normal activities and responsibilities of the week, my son was celebrating a milestone birthday, I was hosting a dinner party for an important client, and I was preparing for a business trip that would keep me away from home for a week. With a haircut and a dentist’s appointment thrown in for good measure, I had way too many things to do and not enough time to do them, at least not the way I wanted to do them.
And how did I want to do them? Well, I had great examples. One of my friends makes each family celebration unforgettable. Another is an ace hostess. Yet another glides through business trips with apparent ease. I wanted to perform at least as well as the people I was comparing myself to, if not better than anyone else could.
Had I stopped to think about how privileged I was? Did I pause to consider how rich my life was? Not one bit. Instead, I let myself be frazzled by trying to be the best at everything.
My friend prayed for me, and I heard God’s voice speak to me. Simply and clearly, God said, “I made you to bless, not to impress.”
Tears sprang to my eyes as I realized that truth. The reason I was working through my long list was to bless people. When I got stuck in comparing myself to others, I lost sight of that purpose. My talented friends had inspired me and taught me, blessing me with their examples. But when I started comparing myself to them, I twisted that blessing into a kind of contest that no one could win.
This is the trap I’m especially susceptible to at Christmastime. Maybe you struggle with it too? Then maybe you’d like to join me.
This year I’m choosing to remember God’s words to me: “I made you to bless, not to impress.”
When freed from the burden of wanting to impress people, we are able to bless them and be blessed by them. That’s the way God designed us to be, at Christmas and all other times.
This piece originally appeared at ImpartingGrace.com, published with permission.