The Christmas season is upon us. A time of delight and good cheer. A time overflowing with laughter, when we’re restored to carefree children filled with wonder. Right?
Um…not so much.
In fact, a number of folks have said how frustrated they are, how they’re behind on everything, and overwhelmed with all they should be doing. After all, it’s Christmas! And if they don’t get things done, Christmas will be ruined!!
Um…again, not so much.
Because—and you all know this, deep in your little over-achiever hearts—Christmas isn’t about decorations or shopping or baking or cards or any of the multitudes of things we have on our To-Do lists. It’s about the state of our hearts. It’s about keeping our focus on what truly matters this time of year:
…and so very much more. But what it’s NOT about are the expectations and “must-do” lists that we put on ourselves. Those things just end to steal our joy.
As I pondered all this today, it occurred to me that writers have a tendency to put expectations and “must-do” lists on themselves not just at Christmas, but year-round. We tell ourselves we’re not being faithful to the call if we’re not:
Building a platform
Meeting a word count
Attending writers’ conferences
Speaking Teaching Promoting Making money
…and countless other things we’re either being told or telling ourselves we HAVE to do.
But as with the expectations and lists of Christmas, these things have the tendency to steal a writer’s joy. Too often, we writers get so tangled in all the “must dos” that we lose sight of what’s really important:
Doing the task God has given us
Crafting words steeped in His truth and spirit
Sharing the message He’s given us with a weary, terrified world
…and so much more.
So this Christmas season, may I make a request? Will you set aside your lists and expectations, both of the season and of yourself as a writer? Will you set aside time to savor what is all around you…
The wonder in a child’s eyes
The warmth of home and family
The beauty of lives changed because of what God has asked you to write
…and, you guessed it, so much more.
There’s joy in the season, friends. And in the task of writing for the Master. Don’t let “stuff” keep you from taking that joy and embracing it. Instead, let it wash over you and restore you. Spend quiet time focusing on what matters, and let the other things go. Christmas—and writing—are not about doing it all. Not really. They’re about being present in the moments God brings us, savoring Him and all He’s given, letting grace overflow in our hearts and spirits, and then, when we’ve been filled by Him, sharing all that with others.
Merry Christmas—and happy writing!