Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Family Obligations

How many places do you have to visit over December 24th and 25th?

Are you fortunate enough to have a lot of family?  You know what I mean... your mom holds a celebration at a certain time... your husband's grandma has her time for people to come over... your Uncle Fred always hosts something or the other.. and you really want to spend some time at home or at a church service which conflicts with the annual tree trimming party at great-aunt Freda's.

 I don't care how many relatives are putting requirements on you....  the ONLY restrictions you really have are the ones YOU ACCEPT.

This is your life too.  Your feelings matter.  They might even be more important than you realize - because there are people in your life that will follow your lead.   If you are grumpy, everyone is grumpy.  If you are happy... they still might be grumpy but you are in charge of YOU :-)  How DO you want to do this?

Will grandma be mad for a whole year if you don't show up?  Maybe.... but it is still your choice!

Maybe it is more important to think about the fact that it MAY be her last Christmas and the few minutes you can drop in for.. matter far more to her than they inconvenience YOU.  OR conversely, maybe showing up provokes more family drama than you want to allow in your life...  YOUR situation.... YOUR CHOICE.   Think about it - pray about it - make your choice and go from there.

I never want to advocate ignoring other people's feelings or actively being mean.  But there is nothing productive about being a piece of driftwood and being tossed about on other people's emotions.  Do you think that God wants that for you, his child?  It is YOUR life... how do you want to spend it?

I have a friend who spent a Christmas Eve alone one year.... she listened to music, she drank some wine.... she took a bubble bath.  One of her relatives was horrified that she would spend that evening alone and tried to make her promise never to do it again.   My friend confessed to me that it was one of the best Christmas Eves that she had ever spent... SHE chose what she wanted to do, totally relaxed, and was prepared and even eager to spend the next day visiting and fulfilling social obligations.

My point is that these days ahead, important days.... are simply days nonetheless.... like any other.  Any day can be a celebration - and visits and presents can happen any time during the year.

You must think about YOU and take care of YOU.  You are the most important gift that God gave to YOU.... and, while you are devoted to taking care of others, it is your job to nourish, nurture and cultivate yourself.

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