Is this you? Are you crying out to God right now as others begin to shift their focus to "the most beautiful time of the year? Are you wondering what is so wonderful about spending this Christmas without a loved one who died this year, or without gathering with family, or watching the COVID diagnoses and deaths rise in your area? Just know that you are not the only one who asks such questions. The truth is that sometimes, what feels wonderful to others at the moment doe not feel the same for you. I get it. The joy that the world says we are to have can be a true challenge for so many at this time of the year. If you are having difficulty this season dealing with shifts that have taken place this year in your life, here are three encouragement strategies:
Stay in touch. Though you may want to crawl up by yourself (and it is perfectly OK to do that in moderation), use the time to connect via telephone, social media, or virtually with supportive family and friends. Send out encouraging texts or emails to others and let them know how you are doing as well. Give yourself the gift of connection.
Plan a personal activity. Even if you have to work, plan something special for yourself every day, even if it is an extra-long shower/bath or just a quiet moment to work on that box of stuff that you have wanted to sort through. Make the plan manageable so that you can see a finished product. Try reading my newest devotional Unfinished Business, to be sure that you are making headway on those things that still need completing in your life. Give yourself a moment to yourself.
Share a good memory. You always have your memories. Enjoy them. Take time to review a photo album or create one. Moving on does not mean forgetting when it comes to loved ones. There is nothing wrong with taking a moment to reflect. You may even want to journal about some of the wonderful times that you have had. Give yourself a moment to reflect.
Stretch beyond the moment. Often we can make decisions for later based on present emotions. Be sure that you are stretching beyond what you feel in the moment. Ther is a time for everything, so know that there will be times that you will not feel isolated from others
No matter what strategy you use to navigate the holidays, be unapologetically true to yourself. I am praying for those who are finding this season difficult.