Christmas Came Just the Same–Imperfections and All!

First, I wish everyone a blessed and happy 2018.

Last month I wrote about how doing less could make for a better holiday. I truly believe that, but this year I pushed the cutting back on the holiday production to the limits.

It was one of those years when my dear hubby and I couldn’t get our act together. It started with our tree, but continued all the way through New Year’s Day. Normally, we decorate the tree the day after Thanksgiving, but this year everyone had other activities. Hubby and I kept saying we’d get it done, but three days before Christmas, there we were, still without a tree. While we did put one up and had lights, we never did put on the ornaments. But you know what? To paraphrase Dr. Seuss and my husband, “Christmas was just fine.”

I’ve spent years working to overcome my perfectionist nature. In the past I became upset when little things went wrong or didn’t get done because I felt everything had to be perfect. I missed opportunities to be present in the moment because I believed I had to be perfect.

This year I realized I do write what I know. My characters, especially my heroines, often struggle with trying to please everyone. They wrestle with the idea that their self-worth is tied to their accomplishments and others’ approval. They’re trying to be perfect. Those characters learn the journey can be as important as the destination.

Over the years while I’ve learned that lesson, I do backslide. (I felt guilty about cutting so many holiday corners, but not too guilty.) So, I’ve decided this year I’m making changes regarding New Year’s resolutions. My BFF Lori quotes a blog written by Jen Hatmaker on January 5, 2015 entitled “The Thing About Being More Awesome.” (If you want to read the blog go to http://www.Jenhatmaker.com.) She claims many resolutions set us up for failure and revolve around trying to be “more awesome.” We think we need to be the best author, mother, friend, spouse, and the list goes on. She insists, “The finish line to this particular rat race is THE GRAVE.” Lori and I joke about making a sign with the resolution Try To Be Less Awesome. Translation—quit trying to be perfect. So that’s what I’m going to do in 2018.

The best I can do is good enough, and I’m going to celebrate it. I’m giving myself permission to say yes to what gives me joy, no to what doesn’t, and to feel less guilty about both. Life is too short to live it any other way.

When my perfectionist starts nagging me, I plan to tell myself to quit trying to be more awesome. Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment about what helps you when you find yourself trying to do too much, and be entered for a chance to win the ornament and a Leather and Lace scented candle from my favorite shop Rustic Ranch!

Julie Benson
Julie Benson has written five novels for Harlequin American, and her Wishing, Texas series is available from Tule Publishing. Now that her three sons have left the nest in Dallas, when she isn't writing, Julie spends her time working on home improvement projects, rescuing dogs, and visiting Texas wineries with her husband. Visit her at www.juliebenson.net.
Updated: January 3, 2018 — 9:00 am

22 Comments

  1. Good Morning, Julie! Thank you for this encouraging post. I also struggle in this area. I ask for His Grace and rely on Him.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Caryl. I continually ask God to help me remember what’s important. As the saying goes, He’s still working on me. Thank goodness!

  2. This is a post that everyone needs to read. I had my trees up this year on time, but hadn’t gotten to doing the ornaments a week later yet. My daughter looked at me and said “can we not put ornaments on this year, please? I love how simple they look with just lights” How humbling and happy that request was to me. She was right – Christmas isn’t about the exact decorations, it is about the simple pleasures. This was a most relaxing year to me. I now wonder if it was because I didn’t feel rushed to do ornaments or didn’t feel like Christmas wasn’t complete here. Who knew my kids would love something more simple? We do need to Try To Be Less Awesome. 🙂

    1. Susan, I’m so glad you stopped by today. You can’t imagine how much your post meant to me. I almost didn’t add the fact that we didn’t put ornaments on the tree! I thought people are going to think I’m horrible. I’m working on the guilt factor, but taking baby steps!

  3. I remind myself that I only have one life—enjoy it.

    1. Estella, I love your saying. I’m going to tell myself that when I start doing too much and ask myself, is this how I want to spend my one life.

  4. I think I’m a lot like you, Julie. I consider myself a “Martha”–the one who is always working when most times I’d rather be like “Mary” who took the time to sit at Jesus’ feet and enjoy His presence. As usual, one night of our Christmas festivities, there I was in the kitchen cleaning up (I hate a messy kitchen, even if it’s not my own) when most of the family was in the family room watching (and enjoying) a slick new electronic video game my nephew got. Afterward, I really regretted not taking the time to just sit on the couch and watch with the rest of the family.

    Wonderful post, Julie.

  5. Yup, Pam, I’ve been a Martha all my life, but am working on becoming a Mary. I don’t want to miss out anymore!

  6. I enjoyed your uplifting post. I try to accomplish as much as possible within reason.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Ellie. I hope one day to find the balance.

    2. Ellie, thank you for yr kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  7. When I am feeling well and strong I can do more, but if my ills persist I wait until I am strong enough to attain my goal.

    1. Pearl, I know what you mean. I’ve learned to listen to my body. I pray 2018 is a good year for you health wise.

  8. It is important to know when to relax and let someone else take over. Unfortunately most women overdo it and think that it is vital to continually help, and this is upsetting. Do what you feel is sufficient and then gather your loved ones close and talk.

  9. I have learned over the years how much is enough and do not push myself beyond the limit. Is it necessary to always be on the go? How can we feel that our lives are fulfilled with simple and enjoyable activities which don’t require non-stop input. It is not appreciated nor necessary.

    1. Sharon, you bring up some good question to ask when trying to decide whether or not to say yes to something. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. I like to sit back close my eyes and say “ok God, I’m giving this to you now!”

  11. Teresa, your advice is great, too. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  12. When it all starts getting crazy, I like to treat myself to a nice cup of coffee and a little sweet. It makes me happy and at peace.

    1. Melanie, I think taking time for yourself is a great idea!

  13. I hear ya, Julie. I tend to be a perfectionist with slight OCD tendencies. For instance, I don’t like my husband to fold the laundry because he “doesn’t do it right.” But I’ve been trying to be more chill and easier on myself, too, because being more chill leads to less anxiety. And I hate anxiety.

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