Full disclosure: I really do think that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. I absolutely walk with a little spring in my step when the weather gets (a little bit) colder and Christmas music floats in through all the speakers. I’m a Christmas person. (I explain why here.)
However, this certainly does not make me immune to the monster of expectations and comparisons that springs up during this potentially-crazy-busy-season. As December began, I thought about lists and presents and money and all of a sudden was NOT full of the Christmas Spirit. I found myself fully absorbed, instead, in what Allison Vesterfelt calls a “scarcity mindset”:
A persistent feeling of not-enoughness—feelings of inadequacy, fear of going without, a lack of self-confidence—most often stemming from negative thought patterns around time, money and energy.
Her recommendation when this arises is to combat it with the opposing and truth-loving mindset, which is one of abundance:
An abundance mindset is, very simply, changing the story we tell ourselves surrounding our experiences of enough. It is taking the same desires, circumstances and experiences we’ve always had surrounding money, time and energy and changing the story we tell ourselves about it. Same experiences. Different story.
The difference is like NIGHT and DAY. Truly. And so much of this season and it’s joy rests on “the stories we choose to tell ourselves,” as Brene Brown would say. I need a pretty consistent reminder of this, as my own stories can spiral a bit when my emotions take over. I want to choose to slow down, be grateful, and enjoy this time of year.
For this season, here are some of the reminders I’m giving myself so that I can enjoy the season and combat those voices of scarcity…
Give people the gift of my attention – get enough sleep to be healthy and alert enough to offer my undivided focus.
Don’t stress about money or timeliness with gifts – buy what I can, when I can, and choose to be content, and to believe that others can be content, with that.
Attend every Christmas service possible. You can never say “thank you” to God too much in this season, nor can you worship with the church family enough.
Spend more time being thankful – exchange daily gratitude texts with Sean.
Be joyful without apology – the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!
Spend time instead of money – say “yes” to coffee dates and time together to catch up in this season.
Slow down – take a deep breath and say a prayer every hour, especially at work.
Be a cheerful and generous giver in this season. Focus on blessing others.
It doesn’t always come naturally or easily to fight back against that consumeristic, never-enough mindset, but it is the only hope for us to live in this season without being swept away by that scarcity tidal wave. How are you choosing to tell yourself the true stories in this season when it is so easy to feel like not enough…?