Tuesday, December 3, 2013

3 Wise Words for the Holiday Season

I was reminded of something yesterday through Lara Casey's Instagram that I had read before, but had completely forgotten about and NEEDED to read. It was a quote from Shauna Niequist's blog that is perfect for the holiday season.

Three Words:

Present Over Perfect.

With so many plans, distractions, and good intentions for Christmas we can become a little crazy. As in running around the house throwing dirty laundry into closets begging your husband to vacuum the pine needles on the floor and wrap his parents' gifts oh wait where are the the presents probably in the closet under the laundry well crap I accidentally bought a large oh there's the doorbell people are here I forgot to preheat the oven the lights on the tree just went out we forgot to do the last couple days of advent what are the visitors going to think and ceramic baby Jesus fell on the floor and broke and now I'm crying crazy. Sound a little familiar?

I was already stressing out before Christmas season even started about when we were going to decorate and get our tree. But Thanksgiving is so late this year! I said. It will be December 2nd when we're back from the Thanksgiving beach trip! I complained. Whatever shall we do! I cried.

Well, guess what? We got our Christmas tree December 2nd and it was magical and everything is just fine. Nothing happened because we didn't decorate early. If our Christmas party was tomorrow and the tree was still naked it would be just fine. 


I tend to get a little (okay a LOT) stressed and overwhelmed when lots of plans and parties and traditions and obligations are happening all at once (a.k.a. the holiday season for everyone). Just ask Jordan. Well, if you ask Jordan he'll probably just chuckle and not say anything bad about me because he's really sweet but in his head (and to me when we're alone) he'll be like yeah Ashley can be a crazy person.

And it's not like it's just with worldly things -- I can be like this with the good things. The "Jesus is the reason for the season" things. We can be so tired from having people over that our eyes are barely open and I'm like JORDAN WE HAVE TO DO THE JESSE TREE (our daily advent devotional) because I'm worried that we're not talking about Jesus' birth enough. Which defeats the purpose because then it's about me and not about Jesus anyway. So now that you know how ridiculous I can be and why these words from Shauna help me so much I will share them with you. :) You can read her whole blog post here, and please do, but I'll provide some quotes.

"You can show up with your perfectly wrapped grab bag gift & your perfectly baked cookies...and your perfectly resentful and frazzled self, ready to snap at the first family member you see. 
Or you can choose to rest your body & nourish your spirit, knowing that bringing a grounded, present self to each holiday gathering is more important than the gifts you bring."

"I co-hosted a party the next night, and one of the things I brought was...frozen meatballs. You know I love to cook, and I was planning, of course, to make them from scratch. But it was too much -- time and energy I don't have in this season. 
And, of course, no one cared. That's the lesson in this for people like me who sometimes get wound up about doing things perfectly...90% of the people in your life won't know the difference between, say, fresh and frozen, or handmade and storebought, and the 10% who do notice are just as stressed out as you are, and your willingness to choose simplicity just might set them free to do the same."

Wow. What a perfect example. It reminds me of when Jesus called Matthew to follow Him and Matthew is like YES and then has a feast for Jesus at his house with a bunch of other tax collectors. I bet Matthew didn't have time to make all of the food from scratch or fully clean his house! He just DID it - present over perfect - because he loved Jesus. 

Shauna then goes on to present her "guiding thoughts for this season":

"Present over perfect.

Quality over quantity.

Relationship over rushing.

People over pressure.

Meaning over mania."

This is going to be my mantra for the holiday season. For the glory of God. For the love of friends and family and anyone God wants to be in our home. Present over perfect. I'm so thankful the Lord sent me that reminder. I want to put it up on my wall somehow so I won't forget. I know I will forget in stressful moments, but I pray that I will quickly remember. 

With that said, tomorrow I'll be sharing some Holiday Season Date Ideas with you! Because one thing that should NEVER take a backseat during this season is marriage. :) 



  1. I love that!!! Especially quality of quantity! It is so perfect!

  2. I'll be chanting this for the next few weeks - "Present over perfect, present over perfect..." :)

  3. Ahhh I love this! With a newborn baby, preparing for the holidays is proving to be extra challenging this year! Present over Perfect is the exact mindset I need. Thank you! :)

  4. I definitely like the relationship over rushing. This is a time to spend with family and that is more important than trying to get all the decorations and trivial things perfect.



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