The holiday season can be one of the most joyful times of the year. But it can also be one of the most stressful.
Spending time with family during Thanksgiving and Christmas sounds enjoyable in July and August. But once November and December arrive, you realize how much needs to get done, and you remember what’s it like to be in a house filled with people who have different interests, different traditions, even differing political and spiritual viewpoints.
How do you navigate the holidays in a way that honors family in a Christ-like way?
Authors Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory are here to help. They’re joining us on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Reducing Drama in Your Relationships” to share ideas from their book Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity.
They say that feeling overwhelmed usually comes from having high expectations that don’t match with reality. The solution is to have strategies that enable you to be as flexible as possible with your expectations.
That may include setting ground rules that curtail religious or political debate around the dinner table, or creating opportunities for introverts in the family to have space away from the larger group, or establishing windows of time where smartphones and technology get turned off and family members engage face-to-face.
There’s give and take. The goal is Romans 12:18, which says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” When you’re with family, be fully present and be willing to treat their desires with importance. But know your limits as well.
Kathi and Cheri address several of the most common scenarios that cause stress at the holidays, including the ever-growing list of “must have/do” factors that can creep into any family gathering (but aren’t always necessary). They also offer advice for setting good boundaries with family and for dealing with “crisis creators” – one of whom might be you.
I also hope you’ll consider participating in our “Friends of Focus on the Family” program by becoming a monthly partner. When you do, I’ll send you a copy of Kathi and Cheri’s book Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity as our way of saying thank you. (For more information, visit our website.)
Before I close, I know that the holidays can be difficult. This is a time of year when people can feel overwhelmed or depressed for a lot of reasons. We’re here for you. We have caring Christian counselors to talk with you, to help you, and to refer you to a Christian counselor in your area if necessary. If you’re hurting, please give us a call at 1-800-A-FAMILY (800-232-6459).
Finding peace during the holidays is possible!