Why is it that oftentimes the holidays are so stressful or draining? As families gather, bringing gifts and holiday cheer, they may also be carrying baskets full of expectations and unresolved issues. Or, consider the person, who is alone with no family connections, during the holidays. The hallways of their memories may be filled with echoes of missed opportunities and broken dreams.
Whether alone or with family, here are three ways* to help you not just survive, but actually thrive, during the coming holiday.
1. Live the moment! We must choose to live each moment, as it comes, trusting God and ourselves that we will know what needs to be done and said at the moment of our need. This is called present-moment living or walking in the Spirit. It is reality-based, not based on preconceptions or past behaviors.
It is trusting that God will give us what's needed at just the right time.
2. Be intentional! Be assured - buttons will be pushed, during the holidays! I have learned that decisions are best made in a peaceful state when we are centered in ourselves and God, not in what others may do or say. We have the freedom to choose how and when we will respond and our response does not have to conform to what others may have come to expect from us in the past.
Our response is based on what we need at that moment.
3. Remember you're changing! We are the ones changing and growing. It is not practical to expect others to know, understand, or even appreciate the change, which is taking place in our lives.
The Serenity Prayer speaks about this change, as something occurring within us, not others - God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Sure, it would be nice if everyone else around us were getting healthier, but we return to reality when we acknowledge that the only person that we're capable of changing is ourselves. In fact, the only person we have the right to change is ourselves!
If change is needed in someone else, we can trust that God will pursue them, just as He has us.