Yes, I know that’s kind of a heavy title for a Tuesday right?? Well, sometimes I just feel led to share my feelings and my story. Just in case someone else out there is struggling with something similar. So….if you stopped by hoping to see some pretty Christmas decor then scroll on through and enjoy the pictures that I added just for you. Really, it won’t hurt my feelings at all. 😉 But, if the holidays have got you feeling like you’re at the end of your rope, then maybe some of these words will be helpful.
Lately my anxiety has flared back up. Maybe you don’t know that I suffer from anxiety, as I don’t talk about it much, but I do. I’ve been mostly anxiety and panic free for the last sixth months, but in the past week it has reared it’s ugly head again. In so many forms but the worst has been the panic in the middle of the night. Last night, as I was trying my best to pray it away (usually works), I thought to myself “what in the world is the problem? why am I feeling this way?” Many times I can’t answer that question, although I always ask it. But, last night I was able to put a finger on it. The Christmas comparison struggle.
Surely you know what I mean. As a matter of fact we just talked about this in Sunday school. As one woman shared her struggle with staying positive and joyful and wondering if she was the only one. Ha! And then, we all chimed in with our own experiences and feelings. In this media driven world, we somehow have the idea that everyone’s life is perfect. Because all we see is the good stuff. But, that’s not the whole truth all of the time is it? Everyone has their own struggles during the holidays. Whether big or small they are real to each person. Maybe you are struggling to provide Christmas gifts for your family. Maybe you are struggling with the idea of getting together with disgruntled relatives. Maybe you’re struggling with grief, loss, or sadness over missing someone. Maybe you are feeling alone because you can’t be with family. Or maybe you just feel like your Christmas isn’t measuring up with everyone else’s.
Well, if any of these resonate with you, or maybe you have some other situation that is stealing your joy, I hope you will join me in saying “not today Satan!” I believe Satan is real and working each and every day to derail us from the path God has put us on. Of course he would do anything to steal our joy at Christmas. The celebration of the birth of the Savior, the one who defeated him. Why are we surprised that they are difficulties?? Why are we surprised that it’s not always the picture perfect season?
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We make plans and bucket lists. We shop for the perfect presents. We have advent calendars to help us countdown to the day. As mamas we try to pack in as many memories as possible during this month. And, to be honest, many times it turns out to be complete madness. Everyone is exhausted and grumpy. Christmas spirit and JOY are hard pressed to be found. And we are left feeling disappointed, and often times like we failed. We do that to ourselves don’t we?? We create the overwhelm, the anxiety, the pressure. What do you think your family would appreciate more?? All the great activities and gifts, or a JOYful mama?? I’m not saying that any of the things are bad. Most of them are very good. But the trouble comes when we try to pack in ALL the things. Stick with the traditions that bring you and your family JOY, but don’t feel bad for letting go of the ones that don’t. There was a time when I was adding activities and traditions to our bucket lists every year. Why? Again, there are so many good things out there, we just have to remember that we don’t have to do all of them. 😳 My family needs a whole and a JOYful mama more than it needs all of the things.
So, how do we deal with all this??? I said this was
Tips for Keeping the JOY in Christmas
so where are the tips??
I keep hearing it said that gratitude and anxiety cannot coexist. So, if we are actively counting our blessings, then we can’t be anxious. So, I’m putting this to the test, and I would love for you to join me. Yes, I know, last month was all about being thankful. But, why is it that as soon as December rolls around we tend to throw out the gratitude?? Shouldn’t we be thankful 24/7 365?? I’m just as guilty as the next person of getting completely wrapped up in my to-do list that I forget about worshiping the King. Try a good advent devotional like this one. (yes I know you’ve missed several days, but it’s never too late to start and besides, at you’ll have it for next year)
Speaking of to-do lists, I love this from Jenna Kutcher. I first saw it on Instagram, and found it as a print here. She put on paper what my heart was longing for.
These are the best tips I have for you. – Stay in an attitude of gratitude, and re-evaluate your to-do list and make it more about the people in your life, than the things in your life. Oh, and, if you’re really stuck in the comparison trap, you might need to take a few days break from social media. Ya, I know, that means you might miss a few of my posts, but I’m happy to sacrifice a little traffic for the greater good. Because breaks are good for all of us now and then. 😉
May your season be filled with the JOY and the wonder that was present on that first Christmas!!