For my American readers this week marks Thanksgiving; for my Canadian ones sorry I know it was in October and for the other ones around the world humor me for a moment. I’m an American girl (grin). In the US, Thanksgiving kicks off a month of holiday fun and parties that leads into CHRISTmas (oh yes, I said it, grin) into the New Year. This means a month of twinkling lights, Church specials, indulging a tad too much, and a load of gatherings that most likely will at least make you want to smack a few people once or twice (I always say family can bring out the best and worst in people). I will only be writing one blog this week. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. However, I must add a couple disclaimers here before I proceed in this blog: 1) No we don’t celebrate Santa Clause in my house (ie the picture) it’s a personal choice and I really don’t need a dozen emails disagreeing with this picture that was very fitting to this topic, and 2) In talking about difficult family situations I am NOT talking about anyone specific in my family or my husbands, but making a lot of generalizations so no one is allowed to take a personal offense to anything I write….thank you. J
Dan and I have lived across the country for over 13 years from ALL our family. The holidays are one of the few times every year that we get to spend time with our extended families. I think the lack of family on a regular basis has helped teach me how to deal better in difficult situations. However it doesn’t stop the situations from occurring. There are always the situations that arise that are difficult. There always tends to someone on some side of the family that wants to make an off handed comment about someone’s weight, children, and career choices. Random comments can be hurtful. Holiday parties can turn into explosive events and it go from "decking the halls" to raging lunatics in about 2.2 seconds. Such small comments, irritations, and aggravations can steal the joy of the moment. I thought I’d give you some of our tips we’ve learned.
1) We pray. Before going into a situation that could turn difficult we pray. We thank God that He has given us such amazing people that love us, and we ask for peace and joy in the time we have with them. We ask God to guard us from offense.
2) Don’t sweat the small off handed comments. Seriously, for me to have family time is like a breath of fresh air. Sometimes I feel like a sponge trying to soak it all in to sustain me for the desert lack of family time when we’re away. So I try to guard my heart from those small comments. Sometimes even in the midst of the comment, if I can separate what was said from the intention I can realize the person meant to express their love they just said it an abrasive way. Try to separate the intention from the words.
3) Choose to show love. If you know that a certain individual is already defensive and guarded around you, then show them love. Sometimes I often joke that one can come up with an approved list of topics when the person is around and stay on script. I’m not saying you can’t disagree with someone. But, it’s the holidays. If you must disagree do it sweetly and in love.
A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
4) BITE Your Tongue. You don’t need to always be right. The Lord spoke to me years ago in the arena of marriage that a “Woman who always has to be right will be a divorced woman.” Harsh, I know, but true. You don’t always have to argue your point in public situations. I’m not saying to compromise. But learn how to look at potential explosive situations, and don’t let them become boiling over. Sometimes it’s okay to let things go, even when you know your right.
Psalm 34:13 (NKJV)
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit
And your lips from speaking deceit
Even though holiday functions can be a test of practicing the fruit of the spirit, they are the most amazing majestic time of the year in my opinion. Enjoy them, enjoy your family, and enjoy the people around you. Family is such a gift, and life is too precious to take those for granted around you. No matter how difficult and how abrasive someone might be around you, it’s not worth it to flesh out at a family function. Now I’m not saying sometimes people are so bad that you don’t need to separate yourself, but I think you get my point.
Enjoy this time of the year. Remember Jesus is the Reason for the season.
God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited.