I hope your Christmas was beautiful. I hope you were surrounded by light and His glory. I hope that you are filled with peace, that your soul is at rest, and your heart looks to the hope that is Him in this coming new year.
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I've been thinking a lot about balance lately. About the scales that exist in my mind. Scales that I constantly use to measure how much I have done, how much I have given, how much I have received. While I believe that I should have a well-balanced life, there are times when the scale would be better discarded. It is difficult to embrace the fullness of something, to revel in the gift, if I have to stop and put it on the scale first. It's a sort of guarded receiving that ends up not really being receiving at all if I'm just using it to measure myself. What is the fun in that?
I have a plethora of examples that I could share with you, but they all boil down to this -- if someone gives me more than I give them, I am heart-broken. I take their gift, put it on the scale, and think that I did not measure up. I didn't spend enough, I didn't think hard enough, I didn't _________ enough. I feel consumed by guilt and find it difficult to revel in the joy of the moment. I immediately find myself apologizing -- so sorry that my gift did not measure up to theirs. I make excuses, my words falter, I issue an enormous thank you, and then sit. In guilt. On my scale. Off-balance.
My friend, Jenny (many of you know her through SDG), has a mission to show me that it is okay to receive and to not always give back in the exact same way, in the exact same amount, at the exact same time. During this Christmas season, she's been giving me little unexpected gifts that catch me totally off-guard. And she tells me that she expects nothing in return. Nothing. She lovingly teaches me how to find joy in the imbalanced. She lovingly teaches me how to let myself be loved just because I am, not because of what I have done or what I can do.
I love to give gifts, but I have to say that this Christmas I didn't have the inspiration that I normally have. If you've read my blog before you might have seen the post about how my mission is to make my husband cry every year -- to bowl him over with a gift that touches his very soul. On the way home from church this Christmas Eve, I started apologizing. There is nothing under the tree that will make you cry this year, Craig. I just couldn't pull anything together. I'm sure you'll like your presents, but there is just nothing...astounding. I'm so sorry.
His response, as we drove along the cold, wet road? Maybe this is my year to step it up for you.
Two choices: Allow myself to feel loved or allow myself to feel guilty. Although it looks like an easy choice on paper, the first choice actually takes a lot more work, even though it feels better (and is better) in the end. After all the presents had been opened, and he made me cry not once, but twice, I started apologizing. And then, I stopped. And in that moment, I allowed myself to feel loved. Then this love inside me just overflowed into him. Random kisses in the hallway. Words of praise. Holding his hand. Natural expression of being filled, or rather allowing myself to be filled, with unconditional, no-strings-attached, love.
Such a better choice, that first one is. Even though I received more than I gave in the realm of tangible gifts -- even though if you put all the gifts on the scale, their worth wouldn't quite balance out --somehow, in the end, what we gave each other was love. And love has a way of bringing even the most unbalanced back to center. Back to Him.