The holidays are here! Grand celebrations and togetherness, generational recipes, and table time arrive alongside personal pain, heartbreak, and age-old grievances (not to mention that crazy uncle who can turn any conversation into a political debate).
Here are 5 hyper-practical tactics to help YOU flourish this Thanksgiving:
1. Remember everyone is fighting a ferocious battle, even if you can’t see it. For more than two years, we’ve endured a global trauma. Some have fared much better than others, but few have escaped unscathed.
Behind the tablescapes and turkey time, people are still wrestling with lingering disappointments, losses, hurts, and the reality that life didn’t turn out like they expected. Even if someone’s life looks shiny + sparkly from the outside, most likely someone they love is struggling, and so they hurt, too.
2. Ask Jesus to give you His lenses of compassion. The word compassion means “to suffer with.” Whenever you’re tempted to make a snap judgment, pause, and ask Jesus to help you see the person the way He sees them. Behind that outrageous statement, annoying habit, or old grievance is likely a lot of pain–and someone who Jesus loves more than you can imagine.
3. Remember THE THING is not the thing. Whenever you sense an emotional over-response from someone (including yourself), take a breath.
The THING–whether a backbiting comment toward a family member, a person who over-drinks to survive the holidays, or an anger flare over things not being perfect–the thing is not the thing. Don’t take the bait. it’s not about you.
Those who opt for numbing devices are likely in hidden pain. Those who flare in anger are likely wrestling with depression (those emotions are inverted twinsies). And the hyper-controlling likely feel out of control. You’re seeing the outward expression, not the deeper stuff. So don’t take it personally.
4. Do your Daily Declarations starting today. In More Power To You: Break Free From Fear and Take Your Life Back, I provide the 90-second daily declarations. If you have this book, pull it out, and start saying these deeply Biblical statements aloud: “Jesus is King of my life,” “I am who Christ says I am,” etc. Get yourself in the healthiest mental shape you can before we’re in full holiday swing (If you don’t have a copy, grab one here).
5. Lead with love. Approach the table and gatherings not for what you get, but what you can give. Don’t expect others to meet your needs. You’re responsible for those. Take time to exercise, go for a walk, take a long bath. If you run yourself ragged, you’ll be rugged to be around. Remember, loving others well requires you to love yourself, too.
Know that I love you and I’m praying for you!
P.S. The Celebrate Wonder and Joy: 25 Devotions for Advent and Christmas are back from the printer! Advent starts Sunday, November 27–so order today.
P.P.S. Next week we’re announcing some super fun stocking stuffers new to the store–you’re gonna love ’em.