The Christmas holidays are hard.
As long as I can remember, people have always said that “Christmas is one of the most challenging times of the year.” It is really ringing true this year. I have heard a lot of stories from people this year who are dealing with financial stress, relationship issues, and the loss of a loved one as they are working through the holidays. Whereas these things all happen during the year, it seems to be accentuated during the holidays when we are supposed to be of “good cheer.”
What do you do? Here is not what I am not going to do…tell you to get over it.
Pain is there for a reason. It causes us to put our focus on something in our life that needs to be healed. And like a physical cut or wound, things that are close to us do not heal quickly. But they do heal and we can’t just sit and watch the hurt consume us. I remember when I went white water rafting in Wyoming with my son. The guide told us some profound advice for when we fell out of the boat (and he knew we would fall out.) He said, “It is your responsibility to get back to the boat and once you are there we will pull you out but you have to help us by kicking up with all you got.” I love that advice. We have to keep swimming to “the boat” and we have to keep “kicking” and working through our hurts.
As a minister, you know that I am referring to God. Here is what I would say to all the “eye-rollers” who say “Why does every answer have to be God.” Colossians 1:27 says, “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” No matter what you choose to put your hope in, it will never match the infinite ability of God to do more. Programs, classes and life coaches are no match for God who knows you and desires the best for you. I know, then why did God let this happen or why does God let bad people and circumstances into your life? The straight answer to any of life’s challenges is “I don’t know.” I have endured many challenges in my life as well and I ask the same questions. In the end, I choose to put my hope in a God whose word says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
What are some concrete things you can do that might help? Here are the steps I take and continue to walk through when I am challenged.
Acknowledge the pain and concern is real
Surrender my Expectations For God’s Will and Purposes (not an easy thing for me)
Repent of anything that I did to contribute to this
Forgive anyone in the situation that has hurt me
Remember the promises found in God’s word
Ask God to heal me and help me move forward
Sounds so simple…remember it is a journey and every path consists of taking the next step. If this is you today, I pray for you to have the strength needed to take another step and begin your healing journey.