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Is there an essential oil for that?

At 5:15am, I received the dreaded phone call: Another snow day. My kids have been out of school for the last five Mondays. And next Monday is a holiday.
Winter makes me grumpy. Believe it or not, it’s not the cold–it’s the lack of routine.
The school holidays I can plan for, but the sick days and snow days get me every year.
I’m a planner and a creature of routine. I thrive on habits, schedules, structure, and knowing what to expect. No one has ever described me as flexible.
These days I work from home–grading, writing, and editing. I work best in silence, and at home I have complete control of my environment.
Did you catch that? Silence? Complete control?
And there’s the rub with winter. Snow days and sick days remind me that I’m not in control. My plan for six hours of silent focus vanishes with a couple of hours’ notice. And because my work does not require driving to an office, the deadlines don’t change just because the roads outside my door are icy.
Instead of enjoying unexpected time at home with my enthusiastic (and certainly not quiet) kids, I am often irritable and stressed about what won’t be done. Instead of receiving the gifts of snowmen and sledding and hot cocoa with my little ones, I see the day as an interruption of my plans.
If only there were a quick fix–Is there an essential oil I could diffuse that might morph me into a calmer, more laid-back person? A pill to pop? Ten steps to a more flexible me?
Alas, there’s no quick fix to help me roll with the punches. But there is hope. Snow days remind me once again that I’m not in control. I’m not able to plan out perfectly my days, weeks, months, and years.
The good news is that God is in control. Because of this reality, I can relax and let go of the tight grip I have on my plans. I can stop feeling responsible for things outside of my control (like the weather!). Becoming more like Jesus will not erase my personality. I’ll never be completely carefree. But learning to hold my plans lightly for both big things and small will help me rejoice over unexpected gifts, like snowmen.
Now it’s time to close my computer and go make some hot cocoa.


Anna Moseley Gissing

Anna Moseley Gissing is Associate Academic Editor of InterVarsity Press. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild, and her writing has been published in Let us Keep the Feast and Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two kids, and she aspires to more reading, more writing, and more patience.

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