Friday, December 9, 2016

Taking Back My Joy

This season, my joy is under attack.  Attack from many angles, and I’ve had enough.  I’m done feeling stressed.  I’m done feeling defeated.  I’m done feeling like I’m not enough.  Just DONE.

I’m taking back my joy.

This month I am making a conscious decision to not succumb to feeling overwhelmed.  If something is stressing me out, I’m going to find a way to walk away.  It won’t always be easy, but reaching my breaking point is just not going to work for me. 

I choose joy.

You see, you might not know this about me, but I have an inner warrior.  Divinely inspired, I like to think of her as a kind of warrior princess.  Most of the time, she is hidden away.  All most people can see when they look at me is normal, average, everyday me.  Nothing that would make most people look twice.  But I know she is there.

She’s arisen before.  When my dad died when I was just a teenager, she put on a brave face and pulled me through.  When I had to send my husband off to war as a young bride, she was there.  When I had to send him off again years later, this time with 4 kiddos needing EVERYTHING from me, she was there again. She got up everyday with a smile and did what needed to be done.  For a year.  When I had to help my mom fight through a messy divorce, she was there for both of us. She’s really something, this woman of strength.

Most days I don’t need her.  Most days I am good on my own.  Most days I will let her lie in wait- resting up for the times she is truly needed.  I know someday I will really need to call on her- when I face a real challenge.  When I or someone I love gets sick, or when I lose someone I love very, very much.  It happens.  It will happen.  And I will call on her strength then.

For right now, though, I need some of that strength to fight for my joy. It might seem small to some, but when your joy is under attack and you feel yourself getting discouraged or overwhelmed, it is a serious problem.  Especially when it is such a wonderful time of year and your family is depending on you.  My emotional tone sets the tone for my family, and I refuse to let anyone ruin their holiday, especially me.

Now that my inner warrior has risen and rallied, here is what we have decided to do:

Overwhelming to-do list?  I’m tearing it up.  I’m going to enjoy my time with my kids and hubby, and after everyone is asleep, I’m going to take a bath (maybe even with a glass of wine).  Ahhhh- that is just what the doctor ordered in this crazy, fun-filled holiday season. I’m taking care of me.

Too much dirty laundry?  Everyone pick out one or two things you desperately need for the next two days, and I’ll wash one load.  Just one.  Then another load tomorrow.  It will work itself out.  I promise.

A zillion assessments need to be done before break?  Ok.  We’ll take it one step at a time.  I’m not going to stress about it, and we are NOT going to stop enjoying each other’s company.  Sometimes we will even just stop, drop, and enjoy a good holiday story together. 

Christmas gifts for my students?  Let’s keep it simple. A book, a fleece scarf, and a candy cane.  Nothing fancy or inspired by Pinterest, but that’s ok.  My kiddos know I love them.  That’s what really matters. And anything wrapped in festive paper is some serious fun when you are six.

Personal holiday shopping needs to get done?  Amazon, here I come.  What can’t be ordered online will be lovingly hand-selected when I shop BY MYSELF on Saturday. I try to plan just one day and make it a marathon.  I love the hustle and bustle (and it is even better if we have snow!), but one day is the limit for my sanity.  Then I wrap all at once while watching my favorite Christmas movies.  Because that is what I like to do.  It fills my bucket, and I really need a full bucket right now.

When I put it like that, I am actually looking forward to this wonderful holiday season. 

Are you?

What steps can you take to take back your joy?


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