Anybody struggle with this? I admitt to struggling to stay on the positive side of things during the holidays. It's funny...OK...not soooo funny to read all the giddy-happy blogs out there when some of us are faced with real challenges in our finances or other issues~like family loss, loneliness or isolation. Some have lost loved ones in various ways: death, family discord, distance, and more. . . Some have money issues: like WHO doesn't in this economy, where we want to do more, but simply can't and even MORE~shouldn't! Some are struggling with health issues: illness and disease and aging are things that can compound holiday blues!
HOLIDAY BLUES are because we have EXPECTATIONS that cannont be met~for whatever reason!
Expectations are fueled by several factors. Our own thinking along with what is put out there EVERYWHERE this time of year urges our expectations to soar~think about it this way: When we go into the malls, stores or just drive down the street, what do we see? Lights, decor, sounds, smells in some cases~all these elicit emotion. IF we are bound with limits in our lives, limits like wanting to visit family that are miles and hours away with NO POSSIBLE way to go home or perhaps has passed away these will pose a HUGE ISSUE in our feelings of being OK, being happy and being satisfied. More people deal in depression this time of year. It's not just family things either, it's money. Do you or your children want things you can't give them? Do you have financial needs that you can fix? When expectations exceed limits of what CAN be done~there is a huge problem that arises. Depression can creep in~sadness and despair.
I offer these suggestions for the Holiday Blues.
1. Focus on someone else besides ourselves. Looking to the needs of others will bring untold blessings in satisfaction and joy. What can we do? Can we share our time, energy, goods? We ALL no matter our situations in life are in the US so fortunate. We are a wealthy people, and just because some don't live the HGTV life doesn't mean it's not a worthy one! SPEAKING OF HGTV~NIX it if it's causing pain. Are you unhappy with what you don't have? CHANGE FOCUS: look around for an elderly person, a person who is ill, isolated or down. They are the unexpected. Sometimes the ones who look "all together" are the ones coming unglued. REMEMBER everyone has issues no matter how "well off" they may appear!
2. Become a giver rather than a receiver! I know in a thrift blog, this has got to be an oxymoron. But truth is, we all have something to give. Give time and energy. Give hope, encouragement and love. Notes of encouragement, homemade items, loan a book, spend time, listen, share, reciprocate, BE THERE in the life of someone else~Make it a priority to give always~and give humbly. Don't give because "so and so" is poor. Oh, HOW I HATE to see this ! Charity is not founded in selfishness, but in love, and when we give if it's with a wrong motivation~TO MAKE ME feel better, is this not more selfishness? Yes, giving will bring satisfaction, but the receiver KNOWS when this attitude is present. Anonymous gifts are wonderful. I have given this way and received this way. Actually for me it's frustrating to receive this way as I want to express gratitude, but can't! But for the giver, when I have given this way is richer and fuller~a real blessing inside between God and me~no one else! AND WHO'S watching anyway? We must become givers even if it's small things!
3. Consider humility and pride for a moment. Are we living in expectations and ideals that really are not our own? Who am I or who are WE that we should EXPECT to have it all! I know this is a novel and unpopular idea, but there is no great rule that says SistaT is going to have_______! YOU CAN PUT WHATEVER you'd like in that spot! I may NEVER have or get or become...humility says I am satisfied and have a sense of being OK in the world whatever condition I find myself in~oh another novel idea! But humility verses pride will carry us to a joyous Christmas and take the blues outside our doors!
4. On the heels of pride is arrogance. Ever considered that pride is a part of arrogance? When we consider our needs and wants above what has been given us so that we feel we are somehow, inherently "deserving" OH BOY! We are set up for the blues! A correct view of ourselves before the Lord is essential here. We are all given uniqueness by God. But He did not promise utopia here on earth. In fact, Jesus said, "the poor will always be with you." Was He talking about ME?? He might have been! AND who am I to throw it back at Him the situations and "place" He has placed me! Dangerous ground that will lend itself to blues, but if we remember that we are His children, and He will do according to His will for our lives, we can feel secure in our circumstances.
5. Faith~I don't want to discuss chasing the blues without the power of faith in our lives. While all the negatives are against humanity, God has given us a gift of faith to believe in the impossible. To believe that He can and will take care of us~to HOPE! Hope not meaning some wishy-washy reality, b ut in asurance of God's goodness in our lives! Faith lends itself naturally to HOPE~there's got to be a reason Faith, Hope, Charity will lend themselves to JOY! The reason is simple, they are hinged upon each other in a supernatural way that God does His work! By FAITH...the patriarch did God's will! We can lean on faith during the Christmas season to have more joy and get those blues right out of our life!
6. While focusing on others, focus on God. This is the birthday of the Savior. It's not just the holidays, by HOLYDAYS! I suspect the origins of the word mean just this, but our culture has secularized it~but NO! This season is the time to remember the Lord and His goodness! Some suggest particular Bible studies that are marketed. I suggest a good Bible read! I think that the book of Psalms and the Christmas historical account are essential to study during this time of year. Who can be down when we realize that God sent His only Son to earth to bring peace and goodwill to mankind~no sort of holly-jolly feel good accounts for this!! NONE! And we can be part of bringing this as His followers~by showing love, joy and peace from within, having cultivated it in our own lives to others who without Him are lost. God~the wonderful Creator of this universe! Do we really believe?
CHASE those holiday blues right way from your heart and life! Recognize them, but push them OUT!
Merry truly MERRY Christmas!