The joy and excitement of holidays!
Laughter, joy, beautiful memories and words of love, wisdom and grace … but what if your experience is more of a season filled with complaining, bitterness, anger, frustration and hurt?
Painful events have a way of stacking on top of each other squashing out the ‘wonder-years’, and the warm fuzzy feelings along with them. Throughout the years, events and emotions are sprinkled in our lives that can bring a great deal of joy and wonder … as well as pain and sorrow. The holidays have an almost magical way of bringing every one of them to surface! The music … the smells of delicious food … blinking lights and festivities at every turn ignite feelings of warmth and love, or grief, sorrow and anger. No doubt about it – emotions are all over the place during the holiday seasons!
Does the thought of seeing relatives over the holidays set your teeth on edge or fill your heart full of dread? Unresolved issues, assumptions about others, and unresolved childhood memories and beliefs easily undermine many family gatherings. Have you asked yourself “Where are the magic moments of love filled with precious memories and loving words?” First of all … they aren’t magic … they are a choice to be given, and to be received.
Resist the toxic “white elephant” party that is played at too many households; where the pale pachyderm sits in the center of the room, watching … glaring … waiting … and silent.
Give Thanks! Emotions are a sign of life! They are also signals to pay attention to the condition of your heart and our mind.
To fix anything, it first has to be noticed. Your thoughts are conscious, unconscious, intentional, and automatic. Reactions to emotions become habitual and unquestioned when not noticed. So, the first step is to ask yourself a few questions when you experience an emotional flush. Here’s a few questions to get you started:
- Was it anger, shame, frustration or embarrassment that just rose up and made your face flush red?
- What was the thought that came with that emotion?
- What conclusion did that thought bring? Is that true? How do you know that it is true?
- Could this be overwhelming grief that just blindsided you when you should be laughing and singing holiday hymns? What are you grieving? Allow yourself to grieve. Grief is a process and takes time to resolve. Seek help if you feel that you are being hindered in anyway, by your grief. (No matter what it is that you are grieving.)
- Did you just experience a moment of hysterical laughter that threw you into convulsions of mirth when no one else in the room joined in? Your laughter could be a red flag. One such moment hit me in a hotel lobby with several women from our church. We were waiting to be picked up to go to a conference and were chatting. Something someone said and how she gestured with her hands, struck me funny. I never laughed so hard … and I couldn’t stop. At first the women laughed with me, then became uncomfortable. People turned, stopped talking and looked at me. All of this was striking me hysterically funny and only made me laugh more. The more I laughed the more uncomfortable the women became until finally I stopped laughing out of sheer exhaustion. And exhausted I was … beyond normal, and stressed in every way I could be stressed. My emotional outlet was that hysterical laughter (which really felt great, I have to tell you). But I was dangerously close to
Rather than being carried away by unusual and overwhelming emotions, pay attention to them. Listen to the Holy Spirit teach you about your emotion. Take it as an opportunity to deal with hidden and potentially dangerous issues that you’ve not wanted to face.
The holidays are for celebration! Reward yourself with a friend who will listen and ask questions to help you pin-point the roots of wayward emotions. And, if you are not experiencing unusual emotions during the holidays, rejoice! Do someone else a favor. Rather than reacting to someone else’s painful outbursts, quickly respond in love by listening to the Holy Spirit instruct you on how to minister love and mercy to the one who is hurting.
YOU be the friend that gives another person the reason to be thankful as you help them find their way through hidden issues that haven’t been dealt with. No, you don’t have to be a counselor. Just a friend. The greatest gift anyone can give is to listen without condemnation, in an unconditional and loving way. Show mercy, and you will receive mercy. Some day it may be
you who will need to be listened to, and not condemned.
Always pause and look at what’s behind an emotion. Ask God to show you how to respond properly and with the best timing. To hug or not to hug, that is
the question. Whether to ask questions, leave, or cry with them it will go better with you if you don’t react but act – in love.
Act on the wisdom that God gives you, for what you sow, you will reap, and this is a harvest that you will definitely want to sow towards, for one of these days, it may not go so well with you and it will be your turn to be listened to and loved through to healing.
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
______________________________James 5:16Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.