By Nancy Virden (c) 2019
Cathy’s two children and singing in the church choir are her priorities this holiday season. Financially strapped, she accepts her limits and gives her family of origin the opportunity to understand why the three of them will not be making the cross-country trip to see them this Christmas.
Her decision is not selfish, it is realistic.
Cathy concludes that she is not in charge of anyone else’s happiness. Her mom and dad will feel disappointed and possibly hurt. Just as each one of us is responsible for how we choose to view situations and others, Cathy’s parents are also.
Step one to holiday calm is about allowing change to work for you. Now, for step two.
2. Before you scream or pull your hair out, consider your motives
Are you over-involved in any situation, be it entertaining, church-related, relational, financial, or anything else, out of a need to “make sure all goes well”? Be honest now. Do you think you are the only one who can make “it” right?
Taking on a role that does not have to be yours puts unnecessary pressure on yourself (and probably feels thankless afterward). As my son recently told me, “Do what you can do, and let the rest go.” I will add, allow others to do what they can do, and let your ideas of perfection go.
Are you signing up for too much out of fear? A common fear is that of rejection (perceived public failure, not ‘earning’ family respect, etc.). When people get caught up in it they may sign up for too much or go to extremes to make everything perfect.
How other people feel is actually none of our business. We may fear reprisal or someone’s disappointment when we assume to know what another will think. Do you mindread or assume?
Do only what satisfies your values, not trying to guess at anyone else’s values. Cathy may be surprised at her parents’ reaction. Her mom and dad may be pleased she is not adding to her debt. What if they are proud of her mature decision?
Either way, their reaction is not her problem – she and you and I must act on what we know is best if we want to experience holiday calm and freedom.
Today’s Helpful Word
Proverbs 16:1-3 (NIV)
To humans belong the plans of the heart,
but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.
All a person’s ways seem pure to them,
but motives are weighed by the Lord.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM, and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. (c)2019 Nancy Virden
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NOTE: I, Nancy, am not a doctor or mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
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