The Confessional Lines of a Recovering Over-Achiever

One day when I was shopping, I came across this t-shirt.

Sacred Line WordPress blog

After reading the words, my heart sank.  Now before I start sounding like a lecture, I do think that is the trouble with society these days.  We somehow have bought the lie that the more we do, the better we are.  The more we contribute, the more we are liked.  The buzz word on the internet seems to be “hustle.”  Somehow scrambling and going beyond our limits has become a good thing.

For the past several months, God has been making it clear to me that I have been one of these people.  I like to help.  I like to make a difference.  I like to achieve.  But the problem has been that it has come at the expense of myself and even my family at times.  So I am trying to take a step back.

One thing I have done well for the past year or two is try to take a definite break on Sundays.  I try to avoid (or at least limit) social media.  Generally I read a book or take a nap.  I also try to limit our family’s activities for all of our sakes.  We need a breather.  Now sometimes activities cannot be help.  I am not all-powerful when it comes to rescheduling weddings or graduation open houses or even my son’s baseball schedule – that is not my place obviously.  But if we do have a crowded Sunday, I try to make sure that there is space in our schedule on another day.  With 4 kids, sometimes that can be challenging.  But I want my kids to know that one cannot be busy all of the time and still remain sane.

I want to rest.  I do not want to be in a hurry all of the time.  And my podcast playlist has been filled with recordings that remind me that I do not need to do it all.  That slowing down is possible.  Becoming less of an over achiever will take some time.  But I think I am finally on the right path.  And I am trusting God to teach me a better rhythm to my schedule.

By the way, did you notice that I have not written on this blog in over 5 months? I thought not.  And I am not apologizing.  Although I have had post ideas in my head, I have not found the time to write them.  I finally am convinced that is perfectly fine.  My time to have more of a platform might come at a later day.  Or it might not.  Either way is fine.  Now if you will excuse me, I need to go finish up a few things before I spend most of the afternoon at the pool with my kids!

P.S. I do hope to write several posts about favorite Christian authors again this summer.  That is definitely one of my goals – to read more!  Probably I will not share about as many authors as last year or be quite as scheduled.  But I do enjoy sharing about different books that have made a positive impact on my life.

 

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Seven Songs for my Savior: Song 7: “Birth of Love”

Perhaps today’s song does not exactly qualify as a traditional one.  But if you ever are feeling the “Christmas blues,” this song is definitely one that lift your heart.  This time of year can be a bit overwhelming.  In fact, I feel like we fall into traps of expectation early on.  I already am having to teach my daughter to how to not overwhelm herself during the Christmas season.  (She would like to make numerous gifts for everyone she loves.  A very sweet gesture but a bit difficult to pull off!)  I keep trying to encourage her that her family will just appreciate that she made an effort.  Christmas is supposed to be a celebration!  So crank up this song and rejoice that your Savior is born!

Happy birthday Jesus
Let’s celebrate the birth of Love

She was only 13
Young with a big dream
Then, unexpectedly, things would never be the same
Love was born, and she held a gift God made
Born for redemption’s sake
Earth was void ‘til He came
Love was born a, love was born a King

Now we all sing
L-o-v-e, L-o-v-e, L-o-v-e
Everybody sing
L-o-v-e, L-o-v-e, L-o-v-e
Love, love, love, love, love, la, la, love
Let’s celebrate, let’s celebrate,
Let’s celebrate the birth of love
Love, love, love, love, love, la, la, love
It’s Your birthday, it’s a new day, it’s the true way, in His love

Rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum
Let’s follow the beat of the drum
Doesn’t matter where you come from
Let’s come together as one and celebrate, let’s celebrate
Let’s take this love, and let’s elevate
To a place where we can conversate
And share our New Year’s dreams over grandma’s hot plates
Hey, hey, hey, hey everybody
Let’s celebrate that beautiful love
Hey, hey, everybody
Let’s celebrate that beautiful love
No silent night, no jingle bells
We gonna rock tonight
We gonna rock this love

Rock the love
L-o-v-e, L-o-v-e, L-o-v-e
Rock the love
L-o-v-e, L-o-v-e, L-o-v-e
Love, love, love, love, love, la, la, love
Let’s celebrate, let’s celebrate,
Let’s celebrate the birth of love
Love, love, love, love, love, la, la, love
It’s Your birthday, it’s a new day, it’s the true way, in His love

Now we welcome everybody to this beautiful celebration
We’re celebrating the birth of love
Yo Sarai, Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas, B!
Merry Christmas, Ben!
And Merry Christmas to all the SUPERHEROSE!
Feliz Navidad!
TobyMac, Diverse City, Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas to all the boys and girls across the world!
Merry Christmas!
And from the SUPERHEROSE galaxy – Happy birthday, Jesus!

Hey, hey throw your hands up!
Hey, hey throw your hands up!
Hey, hey throw your hands up!
Hey, hey throw your hands up!

Come on sing with me!

Love, love, love, love, love, la, la, love
Let’s celebrate, let’s celebrate,
Let’s celebrate the birth of love
Love, love, love, love, love, la, la, love
It’s Your birthday, it’s a new day, it’s the true way, in His love
[x2]

Have a good night
Merry Christmas

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Seven Songs for My Savior: Song Six: “No Eye Had Seen” by Michael W. Smith & Amy Grant

Michael W. Smith’s “Christmas” might have been one of the very first cd’s that I owned.    Since then he has created several albums, but I think his first one will always be one of my very favorites.  I think because the album seems to flow together naturally from one song to the next.

Song number six on the disc actually ranks up there as one of my very favorite Christmas songs.  (And that is saying a lot!)  Michael W. Smith wrote this song with Amy Grant.  They sing this song as a duet, and the lyrics literally echo in my heart.

No eye had seen
No ear had heard
‘Til hosts on high
Proclaimed the birth
And heaven brought down
(Quietly with no one watching)
Its only child
(From the womb of perfect peace)
The son of man
(Wellspring of our joy delivered)
The world reconciled
(Into earthly destiny)

And song broke forth
Angelic strain
And none could help
But sing the name

Emmanuel
(Kyrie eleison we sing)
Emmanuel
(Glory to the newborn King)
Emmanuel
(Mortal and immortal voices)
Emmanuel
(Endless praises echoing)

Kyrie eleison means “Lord, have mercy!”  (Yes, that is in fact what they are singing in that long 1980’s song too!)  Couldn’t we all use a bit more mercy?  More undeserved favor?  Thankful yet again that Christ came to dwell with us.  Glory to the newborn King!

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Seven Songs for my Savior: Song Five: “Nations that Long in Darkness Walked” by Jill Phillips & Andy Gullahorn

Hymns of faith are gradually being lost in perpetuity.  (Sorry for the big word.  When else can I use that? 🙂  )  Anyway, I do like worship songs.  But there is something to be said about the classic songs faith.

That is why I always appreciate when artists bring new life to the old songs.  Andy Gullahorn and Jill Phillips added the song “Nations that Long in Darkness Walked.”  Reading through the lyrics penned by John Barnard is a lesson in theology.  I do think you will enjoy their rendition as much I do.

Nations that long in darkness walked
Have now beheld a glorious light;
On them who dwelt in shades of death
The light hath shinèd heav’nly bright.

For lo! the virgin’s Child is born;
To us the Son of God is giv’n.
Upon His shoulders shall be laid
The government of earth and Heav’n.

His Name is callèd Wonderful,
The Counselor, the mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace,
Peace dearly purchased with His blood.

His government shall know no bounds,
But far and wide o’er all extend;
And happy peace, the glorious fruits
Of His just reign, shall know no end.

O’er David’s kingdom, on His throne
To rule, and ’stablish it secure
With judgment clear, and justice right;
His reign forever shall endure.

 

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Seven Songs for my Savior: Song Four “Angels We Have Heard on High”

Tonight I was privileged to see some of my extended family.  Growing up, we saw each other frequently.  Now our times together are few and far between.  During childhood, a few cousin fights might have taken place over toys.  Getting to be together is what matters now.

Since I was a child, I have loved to sing.  Especially Christmas carols.  One of my very favorites was “Angels We Have Heard On High.”  I would always try to sing the “Gloria” part without taking breaths.  Funny how certain memories like that never leave.

The first known performance of “Angels We Have Heard on High” happened in 19th century France.  As the verses were written in French, perhaps the song was written there.  Many song experts thing that this song has been around for quite awhile.  Possibly this song was penned by a Middle Ages monk.  The Latin chorus hints at the author being a religious scholar.  Whoever the author, this carol has been a blessing for a few centuries.

Tonight I want to feature an updated version of this classic Christmas song.  This song is honor of my younger days.

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Come to Bethlehem and see
Him Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

See Him in a manger laid
Jesus Lord of heaven and earth;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
With us sing our Savior’s birth.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

(P.S. My Gustafson family, I certainly do love you.)

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Seven Songs for my Savior: Song Three: “Leaving Heaven” by Matthew West

With all of the craziness that seems to continue to happen in this world, there can be no doubt that we are all in need of a Savior.  But we certainly do not deserve one, as we continue to make mess after mess.  I am so grateful that God did leave the perfect place to come down in the form of a baby.  Jesus was born for us.  Could there be more of an overwhelming thought than that short statement?

I finally listened to the lyrics of this song by Matthew West this morning.  The fact that Vince Gill joins him makes this a beautiful one.  Enjoy the song and especially read the lyrics.

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Seven Songs for My Savior: Song Two: “Child of Love” by Sara Groves

Last night, our two little nieces and nephews came over to “play.”  Adding four kids three and under to an already active household certainly made for a lively evening.  Thankfully my husband was home as well as our kids.  All of us kept pretty busy with two toddlers, a brand new walker who is into everything and a four month old baby.

My husband teased me about taking charge of the easiest one.  Not sure either of us would have claimed the baby was the easiest when we were going through that state. While I did have to feed Eden her bottle,  I do confess that I happily held her a bit longer.  She is just a happy, smiley girl when she is around people.  Children are a gift.

Having a baby around at Christmas definitely reminds me of how overwhelmed Mary must have felt being in Bethlehem all by herself.  Without her family or especially her Mom.  The emotions attached with being a mom can overwhelm you with love, gratitude and a sense of intense responsibility.

Of course, I am not sure if Mary fully understood Jesus’ purpose at that time or what the fact that he was going to be the Savior meant.  Yet I have to wonder if a tiny part of her knew that His ultimate mission was initially going to break her heart.  This song “Child of Love” sung by Sara Groves expresses beautifully how Mary must have felt.

Child of wonder, close Your eyes
Rest here in my arms tonight
Someday You will save the world
But tonight I’ll hold You right here in my arms

Precious miracle of life, child of love
Gift of hope, the gift of light from the Father above
And You were made for all mankind
You will always be mine, child of love

Gabriel’s promise has come true
God has blessed this world with You
And as I humbly hold You now
In my heart I know I’m holding Heaven’s child

Precious miracle of life, child of love
Gift of hope, the gift of light from the Father above
And You were made for all mankind
But You will always be mine, child of love

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