Philippians 4:8 – And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.

Gratitude Day 798

Yesterday, the day began early. I planned on getting some work done before we began wrapping Christmas presents for some school students in need. Unfortunately, our internet was not working. Heavy, wet flakes of snow were coming down. After an hour of trying to email a large work project, it still had not been sent and I needed to get to get the present wrapping organized.

This is usually something I do in advance. It’s been a full week. The previous night, I was just ready to get home. I promised myself that I would arrive early and get things organized before the other volunteers showed up.

Who knew the internet would be so fickle.

I was already playing catch-up in getting organized when I realized the large pile of wrapping paper I had confirmed a few weeks ago had disappeared. Paint a picture of me trying to get a file emailed while sorting through a closet looking for Christmas wrapping paper and finding appropriate ways for patient volunteers to help get me organized.

I was just trying to hold it all together. It’s been a very full week with even more major projects coming up; personal and professional. It just wasn’t the missing Christmas wrapping or the uncooperative internet or the looming project that I needed to get to the printer that about put it more over the edge. All the accompanying brain chatter did not make things easier. Thinking about the many things that are sitting on the horizon also contributed. I am a person who likes to feel in control and can manage anything. But yesterday morning, I felt like an unorganized, shatter-brained hot mess.

Oh, and did I mention that I was snippy with Hubby Rick. Yep. That too.

Sometimes, a little humbleness reminds us that we are NOT in control. Amazingly, volunteers showed up to help today. And one of them brought a whole bunch of wrapping paper. We got the presents wrapped, sorted and delivered. Later, I was able to send the file and even finished the project today. I apologized to Hubby Rick and he said we were moving on.

Try as we might, there WILL be days when things feel so very much out of our control. Sometimes, it feels like the harder I try to hold everything together, the less control I actually have. A friend noticed that I was frazzled and took the time to ask what was really going on. She listened, asked helpful questions for me to rethink what was going on and provided me some much needed context in keeping things in perspective. I walked away from our conversation realizing that I could tackle what is living in my life, one little bit at a time.

What is preoccupying your thoughts these days? What feels overwhelming? Does the Christmas and holiday preparations overwhelm you? Are there other things going on in your life that feel like you are barely keeping up?

Begin by giving yourself a break. Lower your expectations. Pick the most important thing to do first and only do this until it is completed. Remember what really is important this Christmas season. Not the matching PJ’s or four-star ranking meal. No one will remember if you wear the same outfit as last Christmas or if all the Christmas decorations are just so.

No, what your friends and family will remember is if you were able to truly be present with them when you got together. Your time is more valuable than any present from a shop. The holidays should be enjoyable for everyone; including YOU. Everyone will remember whether you made them feel welcome, not how much you spent on presents.

Anytime of the year can feel a bit too much and overwhelming. The holidays only add to this. Throw in some work or family or personal things, and whew! Everything feels like it is spinning out of control.

If you see someone spiraling in the wrong direction, stop them and ask them what is going on, just like my friend did. If you are the one struggling, pour yourself a cup of coffee, jot down what is most important and in what order and commit to following this plan on a realistic timetable.

And then, breathe. Soak up a few minutes of something special that will center you and bring you back to what is important. Fix your thoughts on what is most important. Right. Good. Remember to find good in others and certainly celebrate where God is in your life. There are always things to be glad about. Let’s not forget to look for them. Everywhere and always.

For the encouragement to figure things out when feeling overwhelmed, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – While too often we say, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle,” I pray that we see how unhelpful this comment is. In fact, we often do find ourselves in situations where it feels completely impossible to handle it all. Because we aren’t. Instead, may we discover the peace of turning  towards You and Your willingness to be with us always. May this be the gift we discover today. Amen.

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