Having It Altogether…It’s An Illusion
A friend of mine once came up to me and gave me a compliment. She commented on how I always looked so nice and my girls looked so nice. It was a kind compliment, but my response was…well don’t look too close because there are pieces of sucker stuck in my daughter’s hair. Isn’t that the way it goes, what someone sees as altogether is an illusion. It’s not true. Now I am type A, unfortunately that is not an illusion, so it comes very natural for me to try and stay organized. It is not to look like I have it altogether, it’s for my sanity. I struggle more on a daily basis to relax and respond to my kids the correct way. Yes, I need to remind myself that the world didn’t end just because yogurt went flying onto the curtains.
I have a few friends that are definitely not type A. I make them be my friends just so I can see what a relaxed mom looks like! Just kidding…but I think it is important to realize how easy it is to go down the path of comparison. And at the end of that path is an illusion, our conclusions are normally based on perception and not truth. No one has it altogether.
When Reality Doesn’t Match Our Desire
Let me share a little story with you. Two years ago, in December the Lord showed me the ugliness of trying to have it altogether. My son was scheduled for surgery on December 21. It was his 15th surgery and yes, right before Christmas. I tried to plan everything ahead of time. I shopped and shopped all month long to make sure everything was done and wrapped before his surgery. The decorations were set, the house was clean, I worked tirelessly to make sure everything was completed. The day of Grady’s surgery came and went. The next few days we found ourselves laying low around the house.
At this point, I was tired, but everything had gone smoothly up until Christmas Eve. On the afternoon of Christmas Eve our power went out. Not the neighbors behind us, but just ours and a couple houses next to us. As I (un)patiently waited, we received word that the power might not come back on for two days. I was beginning to get frustrated. Our tradition of watching a Christmas movie on Christmas Eve with the kids was in jeopardy. Not to mention my love of Christmas lights. I wasn’t thrilled about the missing glow of string lights in my living room.
My husband sweetly offered to locate a generator. First of all, to make sure the food in the refrigerator didn’t go bad; but also to get the Christmas tree lit for me. In the meantime, we gave the girls showers and had them sit by the fireplace to dry their hair. I began getting more sarcastic as the night went on, I was not happy. This is not what I wanted. It was not the picturesque Christmas I had envisioned.
I Didn’t Like The Fix
My husband was able to find a generator. However, the sound of a generator humming and the dirty bright orange extension cords everywhere in my house…wasn’t exactly what I pictured either. Of course, I used my complaining to point out our son was on crutches and I didn’t want him to trip on something (which was true), but there was more behind it.
That night we ended up sitting in front of the fireplace and reading Luke 2, the story of Jesus’s birth. I have told my children their entire lives that Christmas was about Jesus and truly believed that, then why was I so angry that the power was out. Why was I so mad that it wasn’t the perfect Christmas I had planned?
After the kids were in bed, my husband was able to locate another generator (since the first one we borrowed wasn’t very big) and went to get it from a friend. So I sat at home, on Christmas eve, in the pitch dark, with one of my kids Elsa head lamps on, and painted my nails. I was so grumpy towards my husband for that entire day, even though he tried everything in his power to “fix it”. The next morning we woke up without power. It came to a head when my husband and I were outside in the driveway and I basically threw a temper tantrum. Everything was out of my control and I did not like what was going on. I couldn’t make my Christmas morning casserole, all the decorations that I had worked so hard to put up, weren’t lit up…nothing was magical like I wanted.
Realizing The Truth
I wanted so badly to have everything altogether for Christmas, for who, I don’t know. Then God showed me my heart, and it was so ugly. I wanted everything to go so perfectly, and it came at the expense of my husband and my children. Not to mention my poor example of the true meaning of Christmas.
Ever since that day I have tried much harder at letting things go and focusing on what is important. My children are more important than my things and my husband is way more important than a perfect party. It doesn’t mean that planning and being organized is a bad thing. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put a lot of effort into something, but it’s all about the heart behind it. If things don’t go as planned, or something gets ruined, will it be OK? HINT: The answer should be yes.
To help remind me that my kids and husband are more important than the circumstance, I bought a bracelet. The bracelet has my children’s birthstones on it and engraved inside is the saying, ” I Choose Us.” It helps me focus on what is important.
Illusions Do Not Have Flaws
One thing I actually dislike about blogging is that perception. The illusion that everything is perfect. Blogs show you all the pretty pictures and sometimes it can be intimidating…but I truly hope you never think that about mine. I love what I do and I love improving and organizing things, but I promise you I am a typical mom shuffling more plates than I can handle.
We deceive ourselves when we think everyone else does it better.
Finding balance is the key. Trying to stay on top of schedules, cleaning, groceries and laundry is part of life. However, stopping to spend time with your kids or asking for help if your overwhelmed is important also. Take the pressure off yourself and connect with friends that can laugh about burning dinner or forgetting your daughter’s show and tell. Life is too short for perfection.
Just remember, whenever you see someone who looks like they have it altogether…they probably have pieces of sucker in their hair!! I hope this encourages you to give yourself a break and enjoy every moment. Life happens, sometimes our houses can wait!
Thanks for checking out my post!
3 thoughts on “Having It Altogether…It’s An Illusion”
Thanks for your transparency, Amy! It is amazing how God lovingly brings those things that we need to address smack dab right in front of our face! Its nice to know that we are not alone in that!
So well said Amy! How those idols we hang on to can turn our focus away from that which is the most important!
Thanks Aunt Patty!