As I started to write a new blog post about the holiday blues, I remembered this one from last year.  It still applies, and I can not add anything this year that makes more sense.  Some great new things happened in 2021 like the opening of Hope Is The Anchor Healing Studio. Also,  I believe I did leave fear, in general, back in 2020.  Unfortunately, some things have remained the same in this world, Covid topping the list.  The holidays are rolling around again and I feel a little anxiety creeping in; however, I will not allow fear to steal my joy.  I hope the next few paragraphs bring you encouragement and joy as we run the downhill slide into 2022.

The holidays bring great joy; spending special time with family and friend, plus awesome goodies. There is so much excitement between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  However, for many, the holidays bring forth sadness and anxiety.  When you allow the events in your life to bring you to this place, getting out is a hard uphill climb. I personally keep looking for a place where I can hit a plateau, but as the holidays roll around each year it becomes all too obvious that I am still climbing the hill.  Why can’t I hit that plateau?  Honestly, I just do not know.

Each year I think this is my year to let go of the past, the hurts, the disappointment, but the remnant feelings linger like a veil.  My feelings, like so many others, are unhealthy habits.  We will never get well if we continue living unhealthy habits.  So, what can we do to turn unhealthy to healthy?  As I work on turning unhealthy to healthy I am making two changes this year, and by the way, 2020 seems like an apropos year to leave the past in the past and get to higher ground.

First step:  Stop being afraid the past might repeat itself.  So many times I have told someone else that fear is not of the Lord;  all the while allowing fear to steal my joy — to take from me my favorite time of the year.  This has been going on for years now.  In my defense, I have made several menial attempts to move on, honestly to no avail.  So….fear stays in 2020.

Second step: Stop setting expectations that you know will not be met.  This one has been a staple in my life.  However, once I started to realize that my expectations where the catapult to things going wrong, I stopped setting them.  We live our life hoping to not be disappointed, in ourself and/or people that we love.  Sometimes we do not know if the disappointment is in ourself or someone else.   There comes a point were we have to be willing to say, “this is all I can do right now”.  We also have to live with our faults, some of which we are working to correct, and others that we are not ready to address, yet. Most importantly we have to forgive the faults of others, just as we hope they will forgive ours. Remember, you reap what you sow.   So…sow some grace.

I am making a commitment to myself as I write these words to abandon fear and give more grace.  We can make life really complicated being controlled by our fears, coupled with an unwillingness to just let things flow naturally.  It’s okay to say, “cooking all the food for Christmas dinner takes all of the fun out of the day and wears me out to boot”.  The healthy part of it is being willing to say it. It’s unhealthy, when your expectation is for everyone to figure it out on their own.  If your greatest fear this season is that it will turn out just like last year; or like me, 15 years ago, that’s living unhealthy.  The healthy holiday comes with open communication, honesty, grace, and maybe even new traditions.  Whoop, whoop…I think I’m ordering takeout.

One last thought from the standpoint of lingering fear and unmet expectations…so often today, I hear this, “this may be our last holiday together”. It occurs to me that maybe we should work on being more intentional about spending time together with family and friends through out the year instead of letting the pressures of life confine us to shoving everything into a few days one time a year.  Not to take anything away from the holidays and their meaning, but the blessings of life come 365 days a year, let’s enjoy them all.