Monday, December 8, 2008

Full Plates

I am sure I cannot be the only one who suffers with the struggle to eat reasonably during this Christmas season. We are inundated with tasty treats and savory snacks, with parties at home and dinners out, with late-night cookies and cocoa. I often find myself with a plastic cup full of punch, a cute red and green paper plate in hand, and too many yummy choices on the heavy laden table before me. Have you been there? Do you have favorite holiday food for which you have been longing? I have made some lists on the right of some of my favorite things. I'm sure at least some will strike a chord with you.

Do you find yourself with a figurative full plate as well? As evidenced by the chaos of my kitchen, the mayhem in my mudroom and the craziness of my crammed closets, when I say I have a lot on my plate, I'm not just talking Pita Chips and Crab and Artichoke Dip!

My favorite holiday treats tend to be hors d'oeuvres. I just love all those little bite sized morsels and the opportunity they give me to taste lots of different things in one sitting. Unfortunately, my plate gets just as full from all those little snacks as it would with a few choices of real food. I sure can make a meal out of dips and spreads and little weenies! The problem often comes when I realize that I have so many different little things on my plate that I am still overwhelmed my the shear quantity of bites before me! Each individual yummy seems harmless enough on its own. En mass, however, the last three things to land on my plate inevitably become my downfall.

The same is true about my figurative plate. I have a tendency to look at the individual tasks or commitments and think, "That won't take long," and the little tongs in my brain tell my tongue to say that dangerous little three letter word, "yes!" What inevitably happens is that the list of little bite sized morsels, otherwise known as service, commitment, responsibility, obligation, chores, plans, opportunity, and even fun, fill my plate to overflowing and the real food can find no room at all.

If I were to first fill my plate with raw veggies, a piece of fruit and a half a sandwich, the snacks would not have so much room to overtake and I would be forced to choose my absolute favorites. If I fill my figurative plate with the good stuff first, then there will only be room for a few extras, and I will choose them more carefully. The real meat and potatoes of my life are my daily personal relationship with my Heavenly Father, my daily purposeful relationship with my sweet husband, and my daily precious relationship with my four children. Commitments to friends and family, faithfulness to serving at church, and helping out at the school are a few of the extras that vie for room on the plate, so I need to prayerfully consider them before I reach out and grab with both hands that which may tip the scale.

I don't want to regret holiday eating because I can't get into my jeans in January, and I don't want to see the important contents of my figurative plate in a mess on the floor because I didn't choose carefully the things that would occupy space in my days.

As we look ahead to the weeks of December, I know we all see things like family get-togethers, office parties, choir concerts, school programs, shopping trips, caroling excursions, road trips and much much more. I wonder if you will join me (and I invite you to ask keep me accountable) in my effort to carefully choose what goes on my plate. Maybe together we can stay trim!

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