Hope for a Simpler Season

I sit in my bathrobe and write, ignoring cooking breakfast and little voices, if only for a minute. Because writing helps bring me back to myself, tells me who I am and what I’m good at. And it’s good to have something that is just yours. Something you can tuck into the pocket of your day and pull it out as needed.

The reminders to pay bills pop up on my phone, but I ignore them. My eyelids are still heavy from the lack of sleep as I wait for coffee to revive me. And I’m realizing that I’m turning to all sorts of things to give me life, except the one thing I know that will restore my soul.

Because it’s so much easier to reach for coffee, or sugar, or sleep, or a workout, or healthy foods to give me life. They promise as much. Or I reach out for a listening ear, a caring husband, a night out. All very good things, but not things that bring living water to my parched self.

Hope for a Simpler Season | Circling the Story

 

So this Advent, I’m promising to lean in to the daily hard, to not numb it. The hard of not being seen or appreciated like I think I should be. Not reaching for validation in food, or friends, or the shopping and Christmas lights that promise to bring magic to my dailyness.

Honestly, I have this perfect image of what Advent should look like. Crafts and coloring and hot cocoa and the scent of pine trees. The family gathered around the Bible and singing carols. Hot cooked breakfasts and cozy blankets and books and tea and togetherness. But when I begin to focus on these things as the goal, we end up in tears and frustration and we don’t really see each other.ย I end up collapsing under the weight of perfection and I feel like a failure because I’m not creating the proper “memories,” whatever that’s supposed to mean.

Hope for a Simpler Season | Circling the Story

Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you, too, feel the weight of the season without the joy. Maybe you’re also collapsing under the weight of perfection. Maybe you just see a mounting to-do list of all the ways that you should be creating something magical for your kids. Maybe you’re burdened by the Elf on the Shelf or the Jesse Tree or something which just seems like too much work. And resentment and fear and failure builds up.

I’m hear to tell you that I get it. Join the club, sister.

Hope for a Simpler Season | Circling the Story

But the beauty of Advent is that God comes near. He’s near to the girl who is maligned because she’s pregnant out of wedlock. He’s near to poor, blue-collar workers who work on the edges of the city, tending sheep. He’s near even in the backwoods town of Bethlehem. And if he’s near to those people and in those places, He’s near to you now. He’s near when you’re overwhelmed. Stressed out. Anxious about everything that needs doing.

The trees, the lights, the cocoa — they’re great, but ultimately they’re just things. Just things to point us to the ultimate reality of God coming near to our brokenness. This Advent I’m planning to really deal with the hard bits and to make it a practice to bring those hard things where I’ll finally be satisfied. To a God who showers us with mercy andย walks with us, and so can say, “Yeah, I get it.” This Advent, I hope you, too, will lean in with me. Will you?

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16 Comments

    1. Thanks so much Katha for commenting. It’s so true, isn’t it — how easy it is to get distracted by the obvious? I think it’s maybe because we’re now so used to documenting everything that it’s a sacrifice to do the work for the hidden things.

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  1. Yeah-that cut a little… But the wounds of a friend are faithful. So thank you, friend for this message. Too often, I pursue other paths of fulfillment, when Christ extends His hands ask pleads, “Find the fulfillment you seekin ME”… Great linkin up with you! ๐Ÿ˜Š @christylouhoo

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  2. It’s so easy to convince ourselves that because we are doing all the good things, that we are doing the RIGHT things. But if we push through all the good and don’t go the one Life Giver, none of it does its good work in us. That has been a hard lesson for me this Advent. Even in my simplified life in missions, there has been too much striving and too little abiding. Hope we both find our way back to the one true Good Thing.

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    1. Yes, so very very true. No matter the “stuff,” our hearts are so easily distracted. And I love how you put it — finding our way back to the one true Good Thing. So very apt and true! Thanks friend.

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  3. I love how you highlight those who the Lord comes near. It is not who we would expect. That is where the beauty lies – and you highlighted that so well. Thank you for blessing me this morning with the heart of our Lord. Cheering you on! You are bringing the truth we all crave so badly!

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