Get Thee Behind Me, Elf on the Shelf!

8:42 AMHeather

Listen.  I've tried to bite my tongue.  I've tried to overlook it.  I've tried to ignore how it makes me feel.  How I really, truly, honestly feel about it.  But, I simply cannot suppress it anymore.  Not one minute longer.  Or I will explode.

Dear Mr. Elf on the shelf,
We must break up.  Forever.  For good.  It's not you.  Really.  It's me.  It's truly all about me--the reason we must not meet.  Ever ever again.  We can't even be friends.  Sorry.  It's best you just keep your distance.  Have a great life.  Somewhere else.

Yep.  There you have it.  Being totally transparent here.  Funny thing is--I do not (nor will I ever) own an Elf on the Shelf.  Oh, I know lots of you do.  I know this for an absolute fact.  Because I see it on Facebook.  And Pinterest.  And sometimes in my nightmares.  It makes me want to rock in the corner, in fetal position, moaning and sucking my thumb to a vain effort to self-soothe.  And I haven't done that in 31 years a very long time.  

Listen, for you dear and darling friends whom I absolutely adore and treasure who are bona fide Elfies--more power to you.  Believe me.  This is not a blog about the evils of Elf on the Shelf.  Okay.  Actually, it is.  But NOT like you may be thinking.  It's not that I think that Elf on the Shelf is contrary to Biblical standards or is the epitome of the antichrist at a time when we celebrate the birth of our Savior.  It's not that I think less of you if you choose to partake in the Elf on the Shelf.  Or the Christmas Angel.  Or the Kindness Elf.  Or whatever.

Nope.  The problem is that Elf on the Shelf and all the clever and witty ideas that come with him actually make me think less of ME.  There.  I said it.  I scroll through social media and I'm all, "Oh, how cute and clever and time consuming.  Look, I can't even find time to put up my Christmas tree.  See me?  Over here in yoga pants?  And I haven't even worked out today. I'm sorta barely holding it together.  These plates I'm spinning are about to all fall over--and there is not a single Elf on the Shelf in sight!"   

For me, Elf on the Shelf screams at my incompetence.  How I don't measure up.  I'm not a fun enough mom.  Cause we are slugging it out to just keep up with the day to day.  This past Sunday, for instance.  I got up.  Got dressed.  Got to church.  And choked back tears as I begged my man to drive me home.  The darn herniated disc had caught up with me.  So I limped my sorry self into pajamas, took a pain med and did not leave my bed for the rest of the day.  My Christmas-loving girl was heart broken that the Christmas tree wasn't going up yet.  While I moaned and groaned, she dug through all the Christmas boxes and set up every last nativity we own.  All over the house.  In her own precious nine-year-old way.  Oh?  You think that's a "win" for the mom?  The baby-Jesus-loving daughter shows off my mad Christian mothering skills?

Um, how about the mom who was biting my perfectionist tongue the entire time as my girl bounced in and out of the room announcing where she put the nativity she had just found.  "NO!  Not there.  That's NOT where it belongs!"  That was my silent narrative, playing through my head.  Mom. Of. The. Year.

There is a vast God conspiracy these days, flashing a heavenly neon sign to my issues with insecurity.  It's sorta surrounding me.  Like a little whimsical doll dressed in red and white.  I look through Pinterest.  ELF!  See that amazing healthy meal of organic vegetables and lean meat?  Your kids are eating pizza bagels tonight.  
ELF!  As I look through Facebook.  That kid is starting on his high school basketball team while scoring a perfect SAT score and feeding hungry children in Africa during his summer break.  YOUR kid complains about being hungry and mentions their sad sorry existence without the latest xBox gaming system in the house.  

ELF!  She ran a half-marathon.  ELF!  They went away for a romantic weekend get-away that their children planned for them.  ELF!  She home schools her five children with a husband who travels.  Your kids go to (said in a whisper of a voice) public school.  ELF!  She works full-time AND manages her household.  ELF!  She always looks perfect and stylish.  ELF!  She enjoys every moment with her perfect children and laughs through every day of amazing post-worthy memories she's making.

You see the problem?  It's me, alright.  Because right now, where I am living, Elf on the Shelf is the representation of all that I don't do.  Can't do.  Won't do.  It's a plumb line with which I don't line up.  It's one more notch in the belt of cultural pressure.  

I will never be an Elfie.  

Apparently, I am not alone.  I am not the only one who approaches my news feed with fear and trepidation, lest I see ANOTHER Elf posting.  (Again--love my Elfie moms.  You rock!  I'm just not you).  A very dear friend admitted today, in our hushed tones at the coffee house, that she, too, has come to despise what the Elf on the Shelf represents.  It screams of incompetence to her too.

What's a modern Pinterest, Facebook, Elf on the Shelf era mom to do?  

How about THIS?  Call a spade a spade.  Admit it.  Find comfort in this status from Biblical Homemaking, yesterday on Facebook:

"For me, Satan attacks my heart and mind through 
negative self-talk.  When I'm tired, or sick, or 
feeling down, he loves to sneak up on me and 
plant thoughts in my head that completely
contradict God's Word.  I cried out to God and
told Him I was feeling low, and He answered in a way
I didn't expect...."

The unexpected answer?  Remembering 2 Corinthians 10:5--our call to destroy every argument and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

Not try out the power of positive thinking, on our own accord.  But, instead--ask God to take these negative self-talks and thoughts captive and remove them.  

How?  Biblical homemaking suggests we make a list.  Of things that satan tells us, lies and deceits that taunt us about our incompetence.  In other words--our Elves.  Make a corresponding list next to it.  What does God tell you?  Consider a God inspired answer for every lie.   Then, make a list of the truth of God's Word.  What does the Word have to say?  Meditate on it.  Write it out.  Memorize it.  Repeat it every time an Elf shows up.  Scream out--ELF!  And then recall God's Word instead.   

Yesterday, under the weight of the perfectionist, "yes, you can have it all" cultural pressure, I thought about having an insecurity fast.  Taking mental note of anything that makes me feel less than.  And removing its influence as much as possible.  Replacing it with Godly truths, time with friends who press me in my walk with the Lord, prayer, and praise music.  

Thus, get thee behind me, Elf on the Shelf!

I love Pintrosity.  If you haven't discovered it yet, it's a website with pinterest fails.  A place to be real.  Show your shortcomings.  Have a good laugh.  Realize the reality of our human frailty.  We can't all eat 1000 days of real food while wearing incredibly fashionable clothes doing our fitness and wellness work-outs while completing the top 100 things to teach your child, as well as the top 50 ways to show your husband you love him.  

Heck.  These days, my day is starting well if I wake up before my kids do.  

I want an Elf on the Shelf alternative.  Akin to Pintrosity.  I'm not sure what that is.  But, something that declares to the world, "I am not able.  I can only do so much.  And God's grace is what I count on to make up for my shortcomings!  I pray my kids don't need too much therapy when they leave my house.  And that, by some miracle, they have no recollection of my mommy failure moments!"

I don't think an elaborate plotted out scene involving a darling little doll quite makes that declaration of humanness.  

ELF!  I'm shouting it loud.  I'm calling it out.  I'm keeping it real.  ELF!  I just can't keep up.  Maybe, just maybe, I can remember the wise words of a dear elf whom I actually adore.  As Buddy once said, "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!"  Off key.  Forgetting the words.  Standing out from the tiny elf crowd around you.  It just doesn't matter.  I'm going to start singing a new song.  Of my authentic, transparent inability to keep up with that dreaded Elf on the Shelf.   

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