Growing up I had a hard time connecting with joy. I was happy, for sure, and I lived in a happy home with loving, supportive parents who believed my sister and I could do anything. The pressure to strive for perfection was internal, not external. Once, when I was a second-grader, my mother asked if I brought home a report card with my grades. I replied that I did, and she asked to see it. I was dumbfounded. Why did she want to see it? They were my grades, not hers! I had nothing to hide – I had all “E” for “excellent” scores – but I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why she cared about my grades. My grades were my responsibility, not hers. As a mother myself now, I laugh about the audacity of my little second-grader self.
I know now that this kind of internal pressure to be perfect often robbed me of joy, and I’m done with that. Paul’s counsel to be joyful and grow to maturity leads to peace, not pressure.
“Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13: 11
Find joy in the cracked ornament that reminds you of a special Christmas past. Laugh at the sunken casserole that tastes great anyway. If your house is the only one on the street without Christmas lights, thank the neighbors for sharing their festivity with you! Can’t find the perfect gift for someone? Write them a letter about why you love them and what their presence in your life means to you. Wrap it around a chocolate bar or a pretty bookmark and it will be declared the perfect gift.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let’s live in that joy, without all the pressure. May the God of love and peace be with you.
My sister’s name is Joyce. I will share this with her. She was the perfect oldest sibling. It seemed to be in her DNA unlike mine, the “dreamer”, middle child. She strived and accomplished but I feel like at times it weighed on her. She is still my perfect older sister because she still loves me perfectly, even now as I see her mind and communication skills are failing her. Thank you for the reminder that joy is in the love, not the performance.💕
Thank you Joyce
Thanks so much, Joyce. Spot on, as I find is usual with your honest insights. I love how you open up ideas which are so familiar to my thinking even when I haven't consciously considered them, if that makes any sense. You are a blessing.
So glad the words resonated with your heart. Hope you have a blessed Christmas.