Giving the Perfect Gift – To You

Maybe it’s just because I live in a smallish house with nine mammals. But I just don’t want anything for Christmas this year. I’m constantly purging the house of junk my kids collect and find in their adventures, and the thought of even one more thing – even if it’s for me – is just too much.

But I’ll tell you what I would love for Christmas, or really just about any time of the year: compact, useful stuff that fits anywhere.

Things like:
love
honesty
a sense of value
relationship
meaning
hope

They’re probably not on your official Christmas list. But they’re written somewhere on your heart and mind, and you’re as eager to get those gifts this year as you were for those front teeth in years past!

The good news is that they can be easier to acquire than that illusive Pillow Pet is for your 4 year old.

Here are a few ways to give yourself the perfect gifts this year:

Write out 100 things you accomplished this year and decide to celebrate them. There’s nothing more disheartening for a mom than to feel we’re not doing anything of value. Of course we know raising our children well is the most valuable thing we can give our families. But we also want to feel we’re making a contribution we can see today – not just over the next 20 years. A friend challenged me to write down 100 things I’d accomplished this year and I balked at the idea. But as I started to write, I realized that things like changing the toilet paper (while your kids are fighting and your toddler is having a potty training accident in the dining room!) is actually quite an accomplishment. So start writing – the big and small stuff you’ve done this year. You’ll be surprised how many you’ll find!

Spend a moment imagining a day with yourself as a younger adult, telling her what she needs to get through the hard time she’s in back then. We feel helpless in the moment with some of the challenges we face as women, wives and moms. But we’re not at all helpless. If you doubt this, spend a few minutes having a chat with you from 10 years ago. Enjoy her spontaneity. Her youthful appearance. And the fact that she didn’t have a clue, but somehow figured it out back then… that she became the you of today – a wonderful woman, friend, mother. She (you!) didn’t fall apart. Revisiting that history gives confidence for what we’re facing today.

Decide not to look at the scale until you are ready to honestly do something about it. Or better yet, throw out the scale entirely. Julie Barnhill, in her book Scandalous Grace, asks in the last chapter, “What if you woke up in the morning and never thought about your weight?” Well, what if?? The thing is, it isn’t doing most of us any good. It’s making us feel ugly when we might still feel just fine in our clothes and our husbands love us just as much as when we were 10 pounds lighter. If it’s not a medical issue, hide the scale this holiday. And decide you’ll give yourself the gift of being who you are today, and enjoying it.

Write a letter to someone who hurt you this year (or someone you hurt). Give the gift of repentance and release.

call your parents

focus on your strengths – every time you think “darn it, I just did that again!” spend a moment figuring out just exactly what “that” is. Do you talk a lot? You probably have strengths in communication. Think of how to use your strengths to be a blessing to others instead of spending energy making yourself feel bad for how you’re wired.

set up triggers for the changes you want to make

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