Monday, November 24, 2014

How to Slow Your Roll This Thanksgiving

"When I set my life to the rhythm of rush, I just quite honestly don't like who I am."
Lysa TerKeurst, The Best Yes

Think about when you are the most short-tempered, snappy, critical, or down-hearted.  For me, it's almost always when I am in a rush.  When I am trying to accomplish something within a period of time, and time feels like it is mocking me as it runs away.  When I've spent way too long trying to produce or complete or perfect and everything feels like an interruption.

As Thanksgiving charges us this week, and Christmas trails not far behind, I challenge us all (myself most included) to take a closer look at the way we navigate these holidays.  Too often, my rhythm is set to rush as we hurry to start the turkey, hurry to sit at the table, and hurry to clean up, so that we can hurry to bed at the end of an exhausting day.

Today, I have two days to pack for five people with a mountain of dirty laundry and three children under the age of four to work with.  I have Black Friday to plan, sales to map out, and a Christmas list to finish.  Blog post due, book cram shouting, a Sunday service plan begging for attention.

Not to mention, who will keep the dog while we are away, I should have had those bills in the mail last week, and I feel guilty about bringing nothing to my mother's table for the feast.

With all of the To-Do's snatching at my apron strings and ringing in my brain, I snap when a small little voice asks to be pushed on the swing.  I roll my eyes when he asks to paint at the kitchen table that I just finished cleaning.  I react with little to no grace when a major spill sets me back 20 minutes from my plan.

"She is a child," the Father whispers.

And then their tears break my heart.

So, how do I slow my roll during these busy holidays so that I don't miss out on the joy and the gratitude?  How do I soak in intention and purpose?  Here are a few things I'm going to try this year:

1.  Grace

When you overcook the turkey or forget the rolls entirely.  When you are the only seated guest who contributed nothing to the meal at all.  When your children don't have adorable matching outfits with turkeys and pilgrims and monograms.  Give yourself grace instead of wallowing in self-deprecation.

When they fight throughout the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade so that you can't hear all of the Broadway hits.  When their spills and lost socks and refusals to get buckled up cause you to be late to the big dinner.  When they complain about your cooking (or worse, your mother-in-law's).  Give them grace instead of harsh tones and threats.  Should we withhold what we are so freely given?

2.  Leave Room

I understand just as well as anyone that this can be a tall order.  Those "Leave it to Beaver" days when you're all set to go with time to spare and everyone is packed and prepared with a smile on their face are rare.  I get it.  If it were that easy, you would make every day so.

But this year, give special effort to leave yourself a little extra time in the day.  Lay out some outfits the night before, get up just a touch earlier if you can, or delegate a few more jobs to the hubs.  Whatever it takes to allow yourself to stop and smell the turkey every once in a while.

It is the minutes that make up the day and when you leave yourself space to tie a shoe with a smile or give praise for a handprint turkey, you leave space for the Father to love on His children.  You make room for His presence to fill the room instead of the traditional tension.

3.  Stop and Soak

Deep breaths are hard to come by on busy days.  Who has time for breathing?  This year, I will force myself to stop and soak it in.  I believe five minutes is all it takes.

You've heard it said that sometimes it is hard to see the forrest because of all the trees.  In a jam-packed room of family and friends and rush, it is more valuable than time to step back and count your blessings.  Sneak out to the porch and peek in the window at the abundance of life going on inside.  Give silent thanks if your grandmother is still alive and making her famous gravy.  Gobble up the picture of your father sneaking a piece of pie for your toddler.

These are things you might miss when you are set to the rhythm of rush.  Five minutes out of twelve or more hours is all that it could take to stir a sense of gratitude and proper perspective in your heart.  Five minutes could make all the difference for your day.

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all.  From the Laydens to you. :)

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