Christmas Reminders

Personal update at the top. If you’d like to skip it, then scroll down to the bold font :o)

I haven’t written in a while. Partly because I’ve been busy with other things, but mainly…I haven’t felt the need to write. I feel good. I am generally taking better care of myself, primarily through prayer, eating better, etc. My emotional health is better overall, and as much as I wish it were otherwise I do know that’s at least partly because my last relationship ended. My emotional health is also much better because I am applying what I’ve learned about needing time to myself and setting good boundaries, and most of all because I am focusing more on my relationship with God, returning to my first Love. I have a ways to go there, I think, but it’s good. My life feels good.

Not that everything is perfect by any means. I have some work frustrations that have been discouraging, but I am learning to trust God that He has it under control. There never seems to be enough time for everything I want to do. It is the perpetual frustration. I also am horribly behind on my thesis and it stresses me out to no end, and I keep avoiding working on it because it intimidates me. One of my former profs keeps telling me, gently and subtlety (he knows…I know he knows…he’s being polite and pretending he doesn’t, but I know he knows), that it is a monster that I need to kill before it kills me. And he’s right. I’m currently battling the flu (yay), which is also kind of a mini-crash course in self-love. I’ve been getting less than a good amount of sleep the last while, and now I have to sleep a lot. And it’s kind of frustrating because I had projects planned this weekend (although now I’m catching up on reading and prayer and stuff I can do from my cozy bed, so it`s more just a rearrangement that I need to get over). And lastly, I really miss being in a D/s relationship. In my last relationship, we never really got around to it. Scratched the surface, and then always ended up dialing it back for various reasons. I keep feeling like I am very over that relationship and I want so very, very much to list an ad and start looking…

But. I said it would be a while for a reason. Because while I feel good, and have felt good consistently for the last few weeks, free, hopeful, at peace, more myself, emotionally balanced, encouraged, strong, all things that apparently one is supposed to feel when they are ready to re-enter the seeking phase, I have some things I still need to do. Like think about the ex less. Not that I think about him often, nor that I think about him negatively, or even hoping we’d get back together. I don’t want to be in that relationship again. But I think about him, and I pray for him, and then I go about my day. I just think maybe it’d be good to get to a point where I don’t think about him every day. Maybe. My brain tends to think about certain things every day for years and years, so I’m not quite sure about that. I have stopped checking to see if he’s been active online at all. I worry about him, I want him to be okay, and sometimes I just want to make sure that he’s alive. But I’ve been convicted about that, and realise that he is not my responsibility anymore and I need to quit acting like he is. He’s in God’s hands, and my focus ought not be on my ex but on God.

Speaking of, thank God I made that list of things I wanted to work on, because reminding myself of that is the only thing that keeps my submissive trigger-happy fingers from finding their way to the ad section of certain websites. I need to return to my first Love. I think when I feel quite strongly, to the very core of my being, that I have done that well and consistently, then and only then will it be a good idea to look for a new relationship. Because these things need to be ordered properly in my life, or things go awry. I just struggle with patience and discipline. Which is, of course, why I keep having to deal with them :o)

But enough updating. I came across this lovely snippet in the book I’m reading that points out something regarding Christmas (and other holidays/religious festivals) which I absolutely love. I know a lot of people get rather fed up with Christmas (and other holidays) because it’s so commercialised and because the goodness, the generosity, the kindness, the love that so many express at that time of year seems fake. Like they’re trying to get on Santa’s good side. Or that they only remember to live like that at this particular time of year, and the rest of the time they’re generally self-centered, arrogant, narrow-minded, etc.

I’ve written a little on this before, I won’t rehash that. But I tend to view Christmas as a reminder of what we ought to be all year. Not to condemn us for falling short, not to be an opportunity for extra credit to balance out the rest of the year, and not to fake who we are; but as a refresher, a time to reorient ourselves to the things that truly matter, to being the people we ought to be, and (for those who believe) to God and His great love and mercy. This is precisely what so many of the festivals and feasts were meant to do in the Old Testament, which according to Scripture God Himself commanded His people celebrate. Because He knows we forget. We get distracted. We get busy. As grown-ups, we have 1000000000 things vying for our time and attention and energy and thought and money and effort and you know what? Sometimes I forget to be a nice person and I need someone to remind me of some very basic things like thinking before I speak. So we have these lovely little reminders throughout the year. 

“Christian holy days (holidays) like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter ought to be times of renewal. On these days and during the related seasons, place your focus on both celebration and renewal of relationship. These are days to remember all the love God has lavished on us by sending His Son. Rather than going through time-honored traditions as mere ritual, these can be times for remembering God’s love and responding to that love.” – Blackaby & King, Fresh Encounter

Now, I know not everyone reading this is Christian, but I think there is a general premise here that can be embraced regardless: purposeful celebration. Not that everything needs to become a chore, or character building like Calvin’s dad was always so freaking obsessed with, but rather that the things we spend our time and attention and energy and thought and money and effort on be purposeful. That we take some time to reflect at Christmas and Easter (and Thanksgiving, I guess, I was kind of…intrigued that they included that as a Christian holy day, perhaps I’m missing some history there), that we make time to evaluate and include the things in our lives that we actually want in our lives. That we perhaps, when necessary, flip the bird to the commercialised suggestions advertisers ply us with and shape our own holidays. If that means colouring eggs with family to reconnect and share some love, fantastic. If that means changing up the usual Christmas meal celebration and having a minimalist feast so the extra funds can be put toward meeting a need, lovely. If instead of buying presents we all donate to a charity that means something personal to everyone on our list, excellent. If doing every single classic, cliched, done it a million times holiday tradition brings you closer to God or your family or just makes your heart full and happy and genuinely impacts your life in a good way then gosh darn it you better do it

The point of Thanksgiving is to remind us to be thankful for what we have. So we should do what accomplishes that. And the point of Christmas is to remind us that even in the darkest times of the year (unless you live in Australia, in which case please stay cool) we still have hope and love is very, very real, and wonder still exists and can be experienced by us all, that life is wonderful, then let’s do the things that feed into that. And the point of Easter is the incredible hope of new life, of renewal, of joy after a long winter (or freaking hot summer for those who are still in Australia), so let’s dig into this however we can. I just think that some mindfulness could make the holidays a little more fulfilling for those who are frustrated with certain trends and habits. And I’d love to hear some thoughts on this. 

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