I thought a lot about the words I’m about to share and how to do them justice as you quickly scroll by. I’m not the most eloquent writer but he speaks and prompts me to share so I do…
‘Tis the season to be jolly! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard those lyrics and cringed.
What happeneds when you don’t feel so jolly? When you’re hanging on by a thread? Taking hit after hit. Pay cuts, car troubles, job loss, health scares, injuries, family drama, sick kids, broken relationships, cancelled plans, death of a loved one, unmet expectations.
Fa la la la la la la la la.
2020 has been painfully hard and it has little to do with Covid. I have been asked a few times lately how I’m coping this holiday season. Last month was the one year anniversary of my Dad’s sudden death that left us stunned and broken-hearted.
I have learned this year that perspective is paramount. The longer you dwell on all that is going wrong- the unanswered questions, the unfairness of life- the easier you spiral into an inevitable darkness. Anxiety and depression. That’s exactly what the enemy wants. He (Satan) comes to kill, steal and destroy- it’s literally his purpose. It’s who he is. A thief and liar. Thankfully Jesus’ purpose is to give us life.
I heard recently that an antidote to anxiety is gratitude and that being grateful is scientifically proven to alter your brain in positive ways. I knew I had to respond when I heard that message several times in the last month or so. Ok God, I hear you.
Always give thanks.
So I chose to be mindful of my focus. I found that verbalizing all of my many blessings and reasons to give thanks (instead of complaining) really does bring me joy when I’m feeling low.
Remembering His goodness isn’t hard, the evidence is all around us. There’s always something to be thankful for even in the hard stuff. This doesn’t mean ignoring my hardships or faking it and it doesn’t diminish the depth of my grief or struggles.
This looks like crying out to God with real raw emotions about those struggles and then letting him meet you right where you’re at. Sitting quietly and talking to him or getting a journal and just pouring out on paper everything you’re feeling. Lament. And then be still and sit for a minute, or hour, however long it takes. This isn’t normal practice in our busy lives but it is important to do.
He sees you.
In my experience, after getting all the junk off my chest and being still, I am renewed. Why? Because in his presence I remember that His ways are not my ways (Isaiah 55:8), I can trust Him and lean not on my understanding (Proverbs 3:5), He has good plans and sees the future I can’t see (Jeremiah 29:11) My hope is in Him for He is my rock and my salvation (Psalm 62:6). That fills me with gratitude.
He is always with you-closer than the air you breathe. His abiding presence is a precious gift.
Through it all he is still good.
Shifting my focus off of what has happened (or is happening) and onto who He is and what He promises, brings comfort and joy. I am so thankful to know Jesus. That is how I’m coping.
There is a reason we are commanded to rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.) He knows what we need. He is our living hope.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices. These are the Christmas lyrics I can embrace.