Overwhelmed in December

IMG_3584I am fairly certain I am not the only person who could relate to that word - "overwhelmed". Christmas, with all that the holiday entails, has a way of making our days a hustle and bustle of activity. While that seems like a good thing as opposed to being bored...sometimes it really does overwhelm us. That's the way I've been feeling these past few weeks. Normally, I do not write in December. I turn in my books early and then relax and enjoy the holidays. Of course, there are all the holiday things to do, but those are just part of December's normal busy-ness. This year appeared to be no different. I wrote the first draft of Deborah's story at record speed - 3000 words or more a day and had a first draft done in June. Seemed like everything was on track. I even did the normal six rewrites or so, read it aloud to myself and turned it in a month early.

My relief (don't you feel relief when you meet a deadline?) lasted a day. I hopped a plane to Nashville thinking all was well, but in my heart I knew it wasn't. So...long story short...I shared my angst with a couple of writer friends who graciously offered to read the book for me. After a three-hour conversation with one and nearly an hour with the other, I could finally pinpoint the problems.

My new officeSo, I pulled the book back from my editor and set to work rewriting it yet again. (Working in my new office - see picture on the right.) This time, however, I find myself doing what I vowed not to do. I'm writing in December in the middle of all of the Christmas rush.

My to-do list is rather long, and seemed like it would never stop growing. But I'm happy to say that much of what I found myself fretting over I can cross off the list. The house is decorated, the Christmas letters ready to mail, shopping is nearly done, and I'm over a third of the way through the rewrites.

Overwhelmed should no longer be in my vocabulary, right? Well....

I don't know about you, but I really wish I had more of a Mary spirit rather than a Martha personality, if you know what I mean. Jesus told Martha, "You are worried and troubled about many things." Boy can I relate! Do I really have good reason to worry? Not really. I allow myself to stress more than I need to stress. Does it really matter if the packages are a day late? Does it really matter whether the house is completely cleaned or the book is done a month ahead of my second deadline? Does it matter if I don't dot all the "i's" and cross all the "t's"?

I have some great friends praying for me - people I've gone to with these overwhelming feelings. And their prayers have reminded me that the stress I allow myself isn't worth the cost. Somewhere along the line I have to trust that God will help me complete every task that HE wants me to complete. He will help me remember the changes I'm making to the story. He will help me finish the work I actually need to finish each day.

Jesus came all those years ago at Christmas (or at least that's the date we pick to celebrate His first coming) to set us free from bondage. Bondage to sin and death, but also bondage to worry and angst and obsession and so much more. But that means taking time to listen to His voice. To be still and know that He is God. To trust Him with the details.

To be overwhelmed as I have been, means I'm not really giving the days to Him. Not giving the longings and fears and everything else to Him. I think it's time I let the deadlines move aside and just do the work. It will get done. He's never failed me yet.