• Melissa Neeb

When the Holidays are Hard

Are you in a season of life that is just HARD?

Perhaps your child is struggling with depression. Or you're going through a break-up or divorce. Maybe you can't stop arguing with your spouse or a family member. Maybe you are reeling from the death of a loved one. Maybe your loved one died a long time ago and the holidays are just a painful reminder of their absence.

Maybe you have been trying so hard but you just can't give up that bad habit you've been to quit. Maybe you are dreading a move or you're discontent at your job or frustrated at being stuck in a seemingly changeless situation. Maybe you just got a diagnosis and you're terrified.

Maybe you're flat broke and can't afford to buy a single Christmas present. Maybe you just can't get into the holiday spirit this year.

Let's just all agree, sometimes the holidays are HARD.

I've had far too many of these holidays myself. Dealing with loved ones' relapses, fighting with relatives, feeling ashamed and guilty that I couldn't afford even the cheapest present to give. Trying to avoid people and/or play the peacemaker. Trying not to let my face flush when the presents were being handed out because I had none to contribute.

I've been there.

You know, just trying to stronghold the closet door shut to keep the clambering skeletons inside.

If this is one of those years for you, be gentle with yourself. Allow the tears to fall and don't apologize if you need to be alone. But don't be alone too long. Reach out to God, reach out to a friend, a loved one, a counselor, a pastor, anyone. Maybe you don't even have to talk. Maybe someone who understands you will just sit quietly and let you be.

Take care of yourself, dear friend. Listen to uplifting music. Write your feelings down in a journal. Do a random act of kindness. Pray for the person you are having a difficult time with. Read a good book. Sleep. Get some fresh air (even if it's cold outside)!

However you're feeling is okay. It's okay to set boundaries with toxic people. It's okay to sit in your sadness for a bit. It's okay to turn off your phone and avoid Facebook and decline social engagements. It's okay be angry or depressed or anxious or heartbroken or stressed or broken.

But remember, it's not okay to stay there.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-4

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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