going deeper

Llama llama holiday drama

By: KumarD

Are you dreading spending Christmas with your extended family this holiday? There is probably a good reason you are feeling this way. Perhaps you are reminded of previous holidays that didn’t turn out so well. Those memories can cause anyone to feel anxious. How can you manage your expectations without losing your mind, and recreating a Jerry Springer episode?

As you begin spending extra time with your families this holiday season, remember there are strategies you can use in order to get through this season.

Give yourself a timeout. Even though you may be home for an extended amount of time, it doesn’t mean you have to spend all of your time with your family members. Set some time to spend alone or away from family members that agitate you. Make appointments to admire the Christmas lights, watch a movie, or connect with an old friend– something that will get you out of the house and allow for some separation.

Be contagious. If you have been the victim of bullying or the butt of the family jokes, you may want to create a new persona. Remember, you are a child of God who deserves personal respect. If you don’t feel like your family respects you, remember that you matter to God and you should respect yourself. When your little brother hurts your feelings, instead of snapping back, and continuing the cycle of insults, speak up for yourself. Be honest and direct and say, “Wow, that hurts my feelings.” Paul reminds us, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29. Try to set the example by speaking positively about others. You may be surprised how your contagious attitude can change the environment around you.

Set the temperature. Are you a thermostat or a thermometer? Sometimes we let people set our temperature by letting them influence how we are feeling. We allow them to turn us up to a boiling point. You don’t have to be a thermometer, instead, be a thermostat who remains calm and in control of your feelings. Remember what the wise man once said, “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end” Proverbs 29:11.

Be mindful. There are going to be times during the holiday when you feel especially peaceful and happy. Take a deep breathe a savor those moments. There will be other moments, that you feel yourself getting agitated that things aren’t perfect. It is inappropriate to be snappy or create a scene. What can you do to remain sane, especially when you are feeling agitated? Take ten intentional breaths. You may have heard this recommendation many times. The reason is because it actually works. When you breathe deeply, your heart rate will slow down and your mind will be renewed. In conjunction with this idea, try praying silently or reciting scripture – you can do this simultaneously as you take intentional breaths. Ask God to give you a pure heart and take control of the situation. You just may be surprised how quickly God will come to your rescue.

Kumar Dixit, WGTS 91.9 Chaplain