"Either I can be here, fully here, my imperfect, messy, tired but wholly present self, or I can miss it--this moment, this conversation, this time around the table, whatever it is--because I'm trying, and failing, to be perfect, keep the house perfect, make the meal perfect, ensure the gift is perfect.
But this season, I'm not trying for perfect. I'm just trying to show up, every time, with honesty and attentiveness.
The irony, of course, must not be lost on us: a season that is, at its heart, a love story--a story about faith and fragility, angels, a baby, a star--that sweet, simply beautiful story that gets lost so easily in a jarring, toxic tangle of sugar and shopping bags and rushing and parking lots and expectations.
In our lowest, most fragmented moments, we feel out of control--controlled, in fact, by the expectations and to-dos and commitments and traditions. It's that time of year, we shrug, when things get a little crazy. No avoiding it.
But that's not true. We have, each one of us, been entrusted one life, made up of days and hours and minutes. And we're spending them according to our values, whether or not we admit it.
When things are too crazy, the only voices I hear are the voices of fear and shame. I stop hearing the voice of God, the voice of rest, the voice of hope and healing and restoration, the voice that gives new life to dry old bones.
And instead I hear that old song I've heard all my life: You're not good enough. You're not good enough.
But that voice is a lie and a terrible guide. When I listen to it, I burn the candle at both ends and try to light the middle while I'm at it.
The voice of God invites us to full, whole living--to rest, to abundance, to enough. To say no. To say no more. To say I'm going to choose to live wholly and completely in the present, even though this ragged, run-down person I am right now is so far from perfect.
So, let's be courageous these days. Let's choose love and rest and grace. Let's use our minutes and hours to create memories with the people we love instead of dragging them on one more errand or shushing them while we accomplish one more seemingly necessary thing.
Let's honor the story--the silent night, the angels, the miracle child, the simple birth, with each choice that we make.
My prayer is that we'll find ourselves drawn closer and closer to the heart of the story, the beautiful, beating heart of it all, that the chaos around us and within us will recede, and the most important things will be clear and lovely at every turn.
I pray that we'll understand the transforming power that lies in saying no, because it's an act of faith, a tangible demonstration of the belief that you are so much more than what you do.
I pray that we'll live with intentions and hope and love in this wild season and in every season, and that the God who loves us will bring new life to our worn-out hearts this year and every year, that we'll live, truly and deeply, in the present, instead of waiting, waiting, waiting for perfect."
--from Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table, by Shauna Niequist (Thank you Sharon!!!)