‘Tis the Season

The day before Thanksgiving I went to Trader Joe’s, one might say this was a decision rooted in pure stupidity. The parking lot was full…of crazy people who were just as crazy as me for going to the grocery store that Wednesday. The store itself was packed with people scurrying around and blocking aisles. Others were running back and forth from the checkout line grabbing things they forgot on their list. “Tis the season,” the cashier stated.

Then it dawned on me. Everyone is in the store running circles around each other all for the purpose of practicing and celebrating gratitude with family and friends the following day.

This thought occurs to me every year…and a lot of other people too. It certainly isn’t new under the sun. Putting it into practice; however, is a whole different scenario.

What is even more humorous and amusing, I had just had conversations with friends and family about how content and at peace I was, celebrating God’s faithfulness and His provision of hope-filled moments; choosing a joyful heart and contentment over disgruntled bitterness and stress of things to come.

I hate to admit that I didn’t learn my lesson from that Trader Joe’s outing.

During the Thanksgiving break I started updating my planner…and in shear panic, beads of sweat gathered around my forehead, as I looked at all that the next months had in store for me. December- holiday hustle and bustle; January – new semester with practically every week jammed to the max, February – no less crammed for responsibilities and activity. I experienced something similar to “syllabus shock” the first week of classes in college. That stomach-knotting, overwhelming view of all that has to get done. Why do we do this to ourselves? I find that so often, I allow stressors, frustrations, and the busyness of life to erode my joy and contentment. I can’t help but believe that I am not alone.

Contentment is a precious gift, arguably one of the most rare gifts experienced by humanity. If this is so, I don’t want to lose it.

I want to be the joyful, content me wherever I am. Wherever God has placed me today, I want to be the best me and actually enjoy it! Enjoy the moment and enjoy the people…not arrive haggard and not-so present. As we move deeper into this holiday season, inching our way toward Christmas, the calendar is no less full, but I am taking the words of Jim Elliot to heart, “wherever you are be all there.” I encourage you to do the same, be present and enjoy where you are….even those long lines at Trader Joe’s.

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