Are you beginning to feel slightly overwhelmed with the upcoming holidays and gatherings and shindigs that all need hosting? Especially for the perfectionists among us, it can be a cornucopia of stress, work, worry, and sleeplessness that threatens to suck us dry before we even begin. Oh, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING! 🙂 Here in Canada, our Thanksgiving is THIS WEEKEND, which is crazy as I’m fairly certain it was summer like an hour ago. Anyway, ‘tis the season for all things food and party and hosting and toasting, and there is a real danger that some of us may become unhinged if we don’t take a deep breath right now…
I am a huge fan of Thanksgiving. We’ve been in Canada for 22 years, but it still feels new and shiny when we talk about pumpkin pie and turkey and gratitude in October. Britain is surely missing out! And this year is a doozy as it’s the first time in EIGHT YEARS that we’ll have all our kids at home to celebrate together. That, in and of itself is something to give thanks for!
I know my American friends have a few weeks until their Thanksgiving (umm how ON EARTH do you do pull it off so close to Christmas? Gives me palpitations just thinking about it…) but I believe it’s worthwhile taking a moment to think this thing through. Firstly, isn’t it all supposed to be about gratitude?
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34
If I have any overwhelm at Thanksgiving, I wish I could be simply overwhelmed with the goodness of God! Overwhelmed with His grace and mercy and love. Somehow, we’ve managed to overcomplicate and over-decorate, until perfection and comparison— those nasty thieves of joy, have got us stressed instead of blessed.
Don’t you long to simply enjoy your family, your friends, and partake in some delicious food whilst humbly acknowledging how much we have to be thankful for? Perfection is not required. God alone is perfect, and we are not God. Clearly.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24
Doing our best is good enough? You bet. When we are doing our “thing” whatever that might be (insert hosting, cooking, writing, teaching, baking, cleaning, accounting, nursing etc) as to the Lord, serving Him in our everyday and in every way, that is enough. He is enough. Boom.
So I have four (slightly manipulated) “P’s” to help you relax into the upcoming season, friends:
- Be prepared—if you are hosting gatherings and feeling frantic at the mere thought of pulling it all together, give yourself the gift of prep time! It sounds simple enough, right? Yet how often we find ourselves running around the kitchen last-minute like headless chickens, possibly rescuing the cooked headless chicken, when much of the stress could have been prevented with a little planning. Make lists (bullet journal anyone?), accept help from ANYONE who offers, and do as much as you can ahead of time. You know all this, but sometimes we need a sweet reminder!
- Be present—there is nothing worse than wearing yourself ragged hosting a gathering, only to realize you missed it. Like seriously, you were too preoccupied to fully engage in any meaningful conversations, sick of the sight of your own food to enjoy it, and pretend-laughed at all the jokes because you were actually focussed on the mammoth clear-up you would need to do after your lovely guests leave. Be there. All in. Your people want you, they need you to be present.
- Be pleased—yeah, lame I know, but I needed a third “p” and “pleased” was the closest I could get to joyful, grateful, happy, satisfied. Be all these things during and after the event. There is nothing worse than sensing the stress and seeing the steam pouring from the hostess’ ears as she huffs about the kitchen with her knickers in a knot. Enjoy the experience and bask in the afterglow, know you’ve done your best and you’ve nourished your people. That’s huge.
- Be perfection-less— also known as imperfect! This is killer for some of us as we strive to be the hostess with the most-ess, and lash our own backs with damp dishtowels for anything resulting in less than pure perfection. We know it’s a pride thing, but it’s also a desire to give our very best and that comes from a place of generosity and kindness. Put that damp dishtowel down, and take a moment. Your guests are coming to spend time with you and yours, to sit around your table and eat whatever you put in front of them. If they don’t have to cook that night, they’ll be thankful for whatever grub you set before them, whether it’s a gastronomic delight of epic proportions or take-out pizza.
To help you further, I have two books I highly recommend! I’ve included my Amazon affiliate links (full disclosure here) which means I get a tiny, weeny commission while you pay the regular price:
PRESENT OVER PERFECT by Shauna Niequist
“The ache for perfection keeps us isolated and exhausted—we keep people at arm’s length, if that, and we keep hustling, trying trying trying to reach some sort of ideal that never comes.” If the thought of “leaving behind frantic for a simpler, more soulful way of living” is appealing to you, then this book might have to be added to your to-be-read list. Shauna gently takes the reader by the hand and guides us through her own journey, allowing us all to pinpoint areas where we are missing connections and starving our souls. Who doesn’t want to be present over perfect?
The second book is a beauty. I love cookbooks, and this one is especially for hosting gatherings (well hello Thanksgiving and Christmas, I see you looming right there!)
THE FOREST FEAST GATHERINGS by Erin Gleeson
I can’t begin to tell you how gorgeous this book is— the photography is stunning! (Nip over to the Amazon link—there’s a whole bunch of pics so you can see for yourself.) It’s simple vegetarian menus making entertainment approachable and fun, with everything from squash lasagne to blueberry pecan salad (my fave) to breakfast taco bar. It’s a feast for the eyes as well as the belly—plus with its complete menu for different occasions, it makes hosting a gathering thoroughly doable.
I hope this has been of some help. Hospitality was never meant to be a nightmare— think joy, warmth, nourishment, laughter… and giving thanks. Be overwhelmed with the love of God, and nothing else.
**Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours!**
P.S. Want some Proverbs 31 wisdom to help prevent overwhelm? Sign up for my free ebook devotional, DIAMOND DEVOS 31 HERE
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers. Check them out: