Managing Monkeys

We were in DC over Thanksgiving visiting our daughter, son in law and 2 grandkids. Our granddaughter Jude is 19 months old and has the vocabulary of a 3 year old. She attempts saying and singing pretty much anything you throw her way. She has always loved monkeys. Who doesn’t love a monkey? She will lean her head to the side and scrunch up her face and say in a high tiny voice, “He’s so cute.” She sings 10 little monkeys jumping on the bed. I tell her that she and Sam are my little monkeys and they can always come to Nawny and Pops house and jump on our bed.

I wonder who the first person was that said, “Get that monkey off my back!” It makes me laugh when I hear that expression! What a fantastic word picture- “trying to get a monkey off my back.” Slap stick hilarious. I thought I was monkey free but today, the day after cyber Monday I could smell the stench of a wet monkey nearby. When did that happen? I left DC after having a relaxing wonderful Thanksgiving with our family.  Somewhere between DC and Elizabethtown that monkey had inched his way up on my back- I’m pretty sure it was in West Virginia. At the first sign of monkey you need to spring into action and grab him by the tail and start whirling. I’m whirling around trying to get this monkey off my back before he settles in for the holidays. I’m sure not buying him a gift.

I just haven’t been able to get my shopping going so far this season, even on cyber- Monday, I felt like I was spinning my wheels, couldn’t collect my thoughts; so frustrating.  The best deals of the day slipping away before my eyes… sold out … not available in that color or size…too many choices.  I seem to get a surge of panic when this happens.  The Holidays!!  So daunting. I start trying to do too much…too many lofty expectations of the holiday and myself. I want the best tree, the best music playlist, and the best family photo, to give the best gifts ever, and find the most spontaneous way to bless other families. In the beginning, my plans are inspired and large. I want to make all handmade cards and gifts, then to wrap each in a uniquely special way to fit each person’s personality. I want to write a Christmas story for each grandchild.  I plan on baking the whole neighborhood a homemade plate of cookies. I expect to lose 10 pounds during the holiday season.   All the intentions well placed but simply impossible to accomplish. It doesn’t happen. None of it. Too many monkeys jumping on my head. Why do I do this to myself?  Why do I set myself up for failure?

If memory serves me correctly towards the middle of December I start crossing off things right and left – substituting less creative inferior solutions. Forget the new homemade items I’ve saved on Pinterest to make. “If it can’t be bought, it won’t get got!” That becomes my driving motto!  Later my goal is simply to make it through to the end of it all without getting sick. A worthwhile goal.

Bill and I put our prelit tree up before we left for Thanksgiving.  We haven’t put the ornaments or any decorations on it yet. Just a tree with lights. I passed by it this evening and said to Bill, “I kind of like it just like that this year,”  he said, “me too.” Settled. High Five! One wreath on the front door with a spotlight, doable. Online shopping delivered to my door and wrapped please. Thank you. Use a family pic from the summer since we aren’t all together until after Christmas — good enough. Social media Christmas card instead of stamps and USPS. Done. Even as I write this blog, I can tell I’m floundering- but you know what? I’m posting this as is…..not my best work but it is something! Being able to admit I’m not perfect- relieved, showing my flaws to encourage others- welcomed. Taking the monkey off my back and keeping him off – not easy. Allowing Jesus to do it for me- priceless.

Isaiah 40:11- “He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”   Jesus is the creator and the good shepherd. He doesn’t give us more than we can handle! I press into Jesus giving him all my worries, burdens and fears. I rest in Him. I relax my shoulders and the monkey falls on his head. No more monkeys jumping on my head!  Instead of being overcome by the calendar and the monkeys waiting down the path , I’m letting go and asking Jesus to carry me around. I’m going to do the most important things first, hang out with Jesus and read his word. I will try and accomplish a reasonable amount of things each day. If I get some special creative touches done- I will rejoice. If I don’t- I will still rejoice. I’m just resting in the strength of the Lord for this season. Three things…time in God’s word, a good bit of sleep and a good cup of coffee –ready for the day trusting him to swat those monkeys away for me.

Let Jesus keep the monkeys off your back. Allow him to tend to you and carry you in his arms. Peace.




Just Jesus,

Sheri Langley


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