Let Go of the “Perfect” Holiday
by Drenda Keesee
As you unearth dusty decorations from storage and call relatives to make holiday plans, your once manageable calendar starts to look like an endless to-do list. They say it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but for many people, the holidays can be busy, and stressful, and can result in feelings of anxiety and restlessness.
So how do I cope with holiday stress?
You might feel guilty even asking this question. Don’t be ashamed to admit that the holidays can be overwhelming. Whether you are overly busy or spending the holidays on your own, emotions are heightened during the holiday season.
One of the best ways to have an enjoyable holiday is to…
…let go of your expectations. Take ownership over the things that are in your control and surrender the things that are not in your control. The holidays are a wonderful, but sometimes painful, reminder of just how much is out of your control. That’s okay! When you feel things are out of control, God wants you to trust that He is in control. Psalm 55:22 tells us, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (NIV).
Keep your eyes on God and He will help you overcome your anxiety. He will bring you through the holiday season feeling refreshed and renewed!
How do I adopt an attitude of positivity despite my negative circumstances?
When holiday stress and anxiety creep in, positive thinking will help you keep your eyes on what is good in your life. Negative thoughts can snowball out of control, so you have to make the choice to stop negative thoughts as soon as they start. You can master the skill of positive thinking. Believe you can do this. God does!
I encourage you to stand on God’s Word as you navigate the holiday season. He wants to guide you in all areas of your life. He wants to help you refocus your mindset. Each time you have a toxic thought, find a Bible verse to cast it down. Do this and you’re one step closer to discovering a better you and a better life!
Letting Go of the “Perfect” Holiday: Avoid Letting Circumstances Dictate Your Happiness
I see many women fall into disarray as they try to create the perfect Christmas. A great way to manage holiday stress is resisting the urge to create the “perfect” holiday; it doesn’t exist. Holidays are no different than any other day. There will be things that go right and things that go wrong. Good holiday experiences depend on realistic expectations. When you feel yourself getting anxious or overwhelmed, take a deep breath and reboot.
Will family and friends remember whether or not they received your perfect Christmas card?
Will your children remember you slaving away in the kitchen to make dozens of perfect cut-out cookies or remember whether or not they received the perfect gifts?
Your friends, and family, especially your children, will remember you spending time with them; they will remember feeling the warmth of your love. Loving others is all that is really required of you this holiday season. Faith and love are the values that will make your family prosper.
Don’t forget, children model what they see. When you set a standard of perfection, your kids feel pressure to be “on” all the time. Letting go and accepting whatever comes your way with an attitude of gratitude will teach your children to do the same. Some of my best memories with my kids were how we laughed our way through the messy times.
The holidays are a reminder that there is so much that is out of our control. Christmas is an annual reminder of the fact that we needed a perfect Savior to be the sacrifice for our imperfect sins. Rejoice in your imperfections! It is the key to admitting you need God’s perfect grace.
Stop Surviving the Holidays and Learn to Thrive
Most of us know that the holidays can turn a family schedule inside out and upside down. As you attempt to balance various commitments, like school plays, family parties, shopping for gifts, cooking, and more, try to hold on to some amount of normalcy in your house.
Balancing all your commitments
Between cooking, shopping, cleaning for company, and more, you might start to feel like the holidays just mean more work for you and your family. Remember, you can say no. Try to avoid over-committing yourself using these practical tips:
- Sit down and carefully select your holiday activities. Avoid rushing several activities in one day.
- Alongside your to-do list, create a NOT to-do list.
- Create a blank space, every day, that you can use for yourself.
You should have joy when looking at your holiday calendar, not anxiety. The holidays are a time of thanksgiving and rejoicing. Saying no to some holiday events might be difficult, but think about it this way: the more carefully you manage your holiday schedule, the more enjoyable the holidays will be for you and your family.
Next week in part 2 I’ll share additional tips for having more peace during the holidays!
ps…Are you looking for a good church? Be sure and listen on Saturday evening or catch the 3 services on Sunday for Faith Life Church!
Drenda Keesee’s contagious zeal and humorous personal experiences help make her ministry of spiritual, emotional, and relational wholeness one that will bless your life and spark a new fire in your spirit.
A wife of over 30 years and a mother of five children, Drenda has ministered at churches, seminars, and conferences, and through the mediums of television and radio, for more than 20 years.
Her books, The New Vintage Family, Better Than You Think, and She Gets It are available wherever books are sold. In these heartfelt books, Drenda shares her personal journey and the life lessons that have brought her to where she is today, as well as practical answers that all people need to live a joyful life.
Drenda and her husband Gary founded Faith Life Now, a ministry designed to spread the message of freedom in the areas of finances, faith, marriage, and family. Tune in for their weekly messages here. Faith Life Now hosts conferences worldwide and sponsors both Fixing the Money Thing, which Drenda co-hosts with her husband Gary and Drenda.
Through their own life experiences, the Keesee’s have found the principles from God’s Word to be powerful and effective. At one point, Drenda was a young, suicidal feminist with no hope of ever being “good enough” for her own standards of perfection. She never wanted the “inconvenience” of a husband or children, and she was on her own path to success. But the stress of trying to achieve perfection and perform for love left her broken and used. She had success, but it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness it had also brought.
That’s when God got a hold of her heart. It was there—at her lowest point—that she found the One who accepted and loved her, faults and all. Since that transformation, Drenda has had a passion to reach women who find themselves where she once was.
She married Gary after attending college, and there she found herself in a personal boot camp of sorts. She says, “I cried and told God, ‘I can do anything but be a wife and mother.’” She committed to learning how to do it God’s way. Through the many years of raising their children and struggling to make ends meet, Drenda learned from their mistakes. “I didn’t know how to be a wife and mother, but God saved our marriage, taught us how to parent our children for success, showed us how to have financial success, and then the irony of all ironies, He called us to ministry.” It’s truly because of these life experiences that Drenda can now share so many insightful principles for people who are now going through the same struggles.