Everyday I feel as if I am rushing ten steps forward and twelve steps back. Between work, laundry, clutter, wedding plans, church, my non-profit launch, and then family mealtimes, sometimes my days end, and I simply ponder how the kids can be hungry again. For years, I’ve been a huge proponent of my tongue in cheek phrase: “The ministry of making you feel better about yourself.” Today’s disclosure is that I’ve worn the same cute (and still smelling fresh) outfit three days in a row because I knew that each day I’d encounter different people.
How has this happened? I idled in neutral for an entire year, and then suddenly I flipped into fast forward by doing exactly what I vowed not to. Instead of fighting for margin, I pack my calendar. Instead of pursing intentional time, I allow the mediocrity of my moments creep in and steal my joyful bandwidth. Amidst my multitasking, I wake up worried, wondering what items fell through the cracks. And that’s the last thing I desire as we step into these upcoming celebratory months.
My heart beats faster as I type, announcing that it’s time for me to push back, to reclaim more uncomplicated moments, to remember the beauty in a wise “no” and think through my whys with calendar decisions. Even though last year held stressors and struggles, I also stepped into a rhythm of simple pleasures that I hadn’t embraced in years. Baking scones and cinnamon rolls to share with others, slow candlelit morning devotions, learning about cut flower gardening, and lingering at the dinner table amidst powerful conversations topped a few of my favorite things.
Can you reminisce about last Thanksgiving and Christmas season? Knee deep in the unknown impacts of the pandemic, many of us still experienced the slowest, most simple holiday season in years. With parties canceled, guest lists scrunched, money saved, and evenings at home, we contemplated how to maintain this simple rhythm once mandates lifted.
So as the temptation looms to rush and ready ourselves for upcoming festivities, let’s push back against packed calendars filled with unnecessary stress and savor the celebratory moments we are creating.
Since November and December are months focused on feeding people well, let’s do more than feed tummies. Let’s remember to feed their souls, their hearts, their imagination, their creativity. I’ll start the list:
- Feed gratitude. As I nurture this quality, joy thrives and priories realign.
- Feed flexibility. Our best laid plans may not happen. Guests will be late. Food will get cold, but in the bigger scheme of things, it’s nothing. I open my hands and offer up my attempted control.
- Feed patience (lots of it). We live in a world of tension. Be the balm. “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel” (Proverbs 15:18).
- Feed laughter. There’s nothing better than cultivating an atmosphere of deep belly laughing after a satisfying meal. Laugh so hard that tears run down your legs — kidding but not.
- Feed contentment. With all the Black Friday sales, it’s difficult to remember the balance of need vs. want. We truly have everything we need.
- Feed compassion. Even though Old Aunt Sue has shared (probably rambled) the same story for the fifteenth time, make her feel as if it is the first. When we make her the star of the show for just one day, we uplift and encourage her in ways that no one has in a long time.
- Feed encouragement. We’re fragile. A blessed word makes hearts soar.
- Feed forgiveness. This is the year. Many of us have carried bitterness especially over disagreements about the last nineteen months. Lay our heaviness at His feet and let Him carry it. Extend forgiveness; experience freedom.
- Feed hospitality. Loneliness and isolation thrive. Be that solution for one person this month. Open your door, welcome the stranger, save a seat at your table, and extend the gift of your invitation. In doing so, you ease their burden as you share Christ’s love.
When the turkey is gone and the mashed potatoes are cold, all that is left are the shared moments and memories of doing life together. I want to make the most of them, don’t you?
My little note card on my fridge reminds me, Feed them. Won’t you join me and jot down the same?Leave a Comment
Ruth Mills says
We are in a season of extra responsibility on our plates so I am trying to be especially intentional what I put on our calendar. I love this encouragement to layer my creating-rest-nos with feeding gratitude, flexibility, patience, laughter, contentment, compassion, encouragement, forgiveness & hospitality when we do say yes! Thank you for sharing this wonderful insight.
Jen Schmidt says
Thank you, Ruth. It’s a constant layering of priorities, isn’t it?
Wonderful reminder of what is truly important. Thank you.
Jen Schmidt says
So glad it encouraged you, Madeline.
Beth Williams says
We definitely need to feed the souls of those around us. Holidays are festive times, but they can also be sad times for many. I have a friend who lost her mom suddenly this year & a co-worker about to lose her brother & dad at same time. I say a hearty yes to nourishing their souls & comforting them in this time.
My pastor & his wife have a tradition of inviting people over for Thanksgiving & Christmas meals. They ask people they come in contact with if they have plans for the day. If not then come over. We all bring a dish or two to share. A good time is had by all. For the first time this year my hubby will be going with me. We sit around the table, share stories, love & laughter. Mostly we enjoy each other’s company & everyone feels loved.
Jen Schmidt says
Beth – I love your pastor’s tradition. I bet so many people have such stories to tell of their hospitality.
I will be praying for your time ministering to your friend. I am so glad she has you.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Jen thank you for sharing you heart. What you said is so true. We need to feed our souls. Not just our bodies with food to keep them healthy especially if saved. As we need to feed our souls with prayer and the reading of God’s word. To do that. We if don’t feed our spiritual souls with the word of God and Prayer. We will end especially if saved. End up sliping and letting all the wrong stuff into our souls that is not of God. Kids see as well as people everything we do. If kids and people see we and know we are saved. Doing things that are wrong in our lives because we haven’t been staying close to God in prayer and his word. They will not want what we have. They will say if that person being us is meant to saved and is living like that not living the way God would want them to do. Why would I want if they are not saved get saved they will say. How true that is. We will not have spiritual souls that are healthy. We not hear from God. If I don’t have kids as not brave enough to give birth. Will end up feeding them of us that have been kids all the stuff that is not of God. Like me over my Niece’s and Nephews. God says in his word train a child up in the way he should go he will not part from it. How true that is. Children watch what there parents do. Like me when with my Niece’s and Nephews. They also watch I do. We want to be in the word of God and praying for your kids. Me my Niece’s and Nephews. Doing what it says when in front of our kids and me my Niece’s and Nephews. So they all see we are different. We are living our lives the way Jesus would want us to do. They see us feeding our spiritual souls. With the word of God and Prayer. As Children copy their elders. Especially kids there parents. I know she doesn’t smoke now. Someone who copied her Mum because she smoked. She tried it. See Children some of them copy their elders Especially kids their parents some of them. They say so if my parent’s do it something the kid could say Mum or Dad do it so ok for me to do it. If saved we have to live our lives in front of our kids as Jesus would want us to do. Me my Niece’s and Nephews. They will hopefully copy us if living right for Jesus and doing what his word says. By watching what we say watching what we watch on TV and do on the internet and on our Phones etc. What Jesus would want us to do is the following. Being kind caring loving to everyone and let them see we read or if they don’t see us letting them know we read the word of God and pray and our prayers include them our kids and me my Niece’s and Nephews. So by doing this we are feeding our spiritual souls and theirs to. If a parent pray if you can especially if your kids not saved over your kids or for them. Let them know you do that. Then they will not depart from the word of God. Hopefully if not saved at the moment. See Jesus in you and want what you have. Get saved one day. Because you have been feeding their spiritual souls. By living your life in front of them for Jesus. Thank you Jen for what you shared. Loved it. That is what I do. For my Niece’s and Nephews. I keep you all incourage in my prayers. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xx
Jen Schmidt says
Your nieces and nephews are so fortunate to have you.
“Because you have been feeding their spiritual souls. By living your life in front of them for Jesus. ” Yes to this.
Tracy Turner says
I love it. ❤ Yes to all of it. Thank you for the reminder. I hope you enjoy your holiday season and God Bless.
Jen Schmidt says
Thank you, Tracy. I pray you enjoy your holiday season too. Our son is getting married this coming weekend so we are so thrilled.
Jennifer Haynie says
Oh, so true! Thank you for those sweet reminders as we move into next week. I’m already feeling thankful. This week I’m at a conference I haven’t attended in person in two years. It’s sweet to see people face-to-face.