Last night I was sitting in my favorite chair, staring at my Christmas tree. It’s chaotic, with the bottom branches half empty and the top packed with mismatched ornaments. But something about its haggard charm is thought-provoking.
I was thinking about the last week and let my thoughts be honest.
Was Christmas special enough?
Did we stay too long at this party, but not long enough at that party?
Did we emphasize the presents too much and not pay enough attention to Jesus Himself?
Did I look too frumpy in church on Christmas morning because my Amazon-ordered dress was way uglier in person than it was online?
Did I do a good enough job waiting and praying in Advent?
Remember when we forgot about St. Nick's day a few weeks ago and made a late-night stop to grab goodies? Oops!
Was Christmas ruined because I didn't bake a birthday cake for Jesus because I was so sugared out?
And I continued to spiral. I feel like I do this every holiday, secular or religious.
I wear the red, white, and blue on the 4th of July, go to fireworks, and even have a hotdog or two, but I feel like I’m not doing enough to celebrate.
I spend hours on my Thanksgiving turkey, but was I thankful enough when it’s all said and done?
Every Easter morning, I fear that I didn’t do a good enough job during Lent with my penances and sacrifices, and am paying way too much attention to the chocolate-covered bunnies.
Even my kid’s birthdays induce anxiety! I go to bed that night and worry that they don’t feel loved and special enough.
I really didn’t know that I even struggled with anxiety until the last half a dozen years or so. I always considered myself to be laid back and very much go with the flow.
Maybe it was the wake-up call of having kids and wanting to make sure that they get to experience the magic and joy of celebrating. But you can’t force people to experience joy.
I’ve never admitted these anxieties before, but saying it out loud is so freeing.
It’s kind of funny, now that I think about it! I usually do a party re-cap with my husband, and often my closest sister. I need their affirmation that yes, we did celebrate properly.
I noticed in my short reflection just now that I seem to use the word “enough” quite frequently.
If I sit with that word for a second or two, it makes me uncomfortable. It makes me realize that I have no concept of enough.
Feel free to laugh, but I know that the Holy Spirit speaks to me through Google. So, I just googled that bad boy… I literally typed “anxiety about having enough” into a Google search.
My results? “The anxiety of not being “enough” can emerge when you lack a solid, realistic definition about who you're trying to be as a human on this planet.” Well ok then.
Today is the last day of 2023. As I look to the promise of a new year, I want to have more purpose.
Who, as a Catholic, am I trying to be as a human on this planet?
That is the easiest thing in this world to answer, and the hardest thing to do.
In the great words of Patrick Coffin, “Be a saint- what else is there?”
So what is my game plan heading into 2024? Confidence. I want to be confident that I DID do enough. I want to quiet that voice in my head that is feeding me with all of the lies.
I want to show up filled with joy so that those around me can’t help but feel something magical. And that something magical has a name, and His name is Jesus.
Until next time, your sister in Christ,