Thursday, December 28, 2006

Setting Limits: The Stress-Free Christmas

I gave myself the best Christmas present of all this year. NO Stress! Usually, since this is such a "special" time of year, all rules and limits totally vanish in an orgy of hysterical co-dependency. Now I had a rough start for this season, but once I landed back on my emotional feet with God's help and prayers from friends, I was fine. But the actual Day, Christmas Eve, fell on a Sunday.

I set a limit with my Pastor, that the bulletin information had to be called into me by nine PM on Saturday. I wanted to avoid cranking out the bulletin at midnight. But, because of the holiday, I told Pastor to call me when he could. About ten PM I heard from a totally wiped-out Man Of God.

After stumbling through the bulletin, he told me NOT to stay up all night to get it done! I was overjoyed. I needed to sleep and he was giving me permission to take proper care of myself. Now do you all understand why I love this man and my church? I went to bed and set the alarm for an earlier-then-usual time.

I remembered a very sweet conversation with an old friend who has come back into my life. She and I are both telephone addicts. We can talk for hours. This is fun, but with my crazy work schedule, I had to make sure I only get late night calls from her on a Friday. Obviously, if its an emergency prayer request, that is different. But for general yack-yack, Friday night is my only good night to play.

She had praised me for this! Still being ever so prone to the guilt of co-dependency, I worried that she'd think I was being snobbish, or something. She respected my request and watching me set a limit, reminded her that its all right to set limits. A lovely conversation, all around.

At six AM my alarm went off and I attempted to jump-start my mind with coffee. Oh man, I needed like three more hours to put all the fancy stuff into the bulletin! It was now almost eight AM and in order to pick up the sheet cake for the church dinner, I'd be leaving in an hour. I made a decision to put out a one sheet bulletin with some of the words in color. I realized, I was getting all uptight over this bulletin thing. The world would not stop turning if I didn't manage to get the fancy-schmancy bulletin out. I made up my mind I was going to be late for Sunday School. I needed time to eat and dress without getting all wound up. I couldn't believe I was ignoring all that early training about being hysterical for the holidays.

Pastor then called and offered me a ride to pick up the cake, as he had to get food also. I accepted, but let him know I was going to be late for Sunday School. He told me it was fine and to relax and take my time!

After getting off the phone, I lapsed into a few thank-you prayers to God. I could actually eat a quiet meal, meaning I wouldn't have the heartburn monster to fight with for the rest of the day! I got enough sleep to actually enjoy our longer-then-usual church day and I didn't even feel guilty!

I'm learning to not only take control of my world, but to keep control of my world. Now, this is stunning mental health. A stress-free holiday. I hope everyone is able to stop hurting themselves in the name of making others happy.

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