7 Days Holiday Survival Guide

The holidays can be fun but also stressful. We compiled a seven day guide to help you live purposefully and cultivate healthy relationships even during this season’s many festivities.

 

Day One: Thanksgiving

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Congratulations! You made it to today! That certainly is just cause to be thankful. Of course your life is not perfect. Maybe things did not go according to your 2017 plans and New Year’s resolution. While there are lots of things to complain and be despondent about, it is far better for your wellbeing to be thankful instead.

So look around. What else can you give thanks for? Here are a few suggestions/hints:

1. Life (means there is still hope for you);
2. Family (means you are not alone in this world);
3. Friends (means there are people who care about you);
4. Co-workers (means you have a job);
5. Home (means you have shelter from the rain);
6. Safety (means you can rest a while);
7. Food (means you have sustenance to keep you alive);
8. Transportation (means you can get to various destinations faster);
9. A church (means you have a place to be spiritually fed);
10. A loving God (means you have a hope for redemption in Jesus Christ).

Meditation: “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#thanksgiving #dayone #bethankful #relationships #lookaround #life #family #friends #co-workers #food #safety #transportation #LovingGod #home #Achurch

 

Day Two: Peace

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Peace is a gift not possessed by everyone. Deep inner peace frees you from worry and anxiety. It is not dependent on external conditions. It does not change based on situations and circumstances.

Peace is not a commodity that can be bought, wished for, or developed. Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and is contrary to worry, fear, and anxiety. Peace tramples on those life robbing dispositions and states of being.

This holiday season, pray for peace for yourself and those around you. Pray for the peace of God to enable you to share about His love and goodness in the midst of your festivities. So whether your holiday gatherings are loud and merry or quiet and somber, pray for the peace of God which far exceeds anything we can ever understand.

Meditation: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#peace #daytwo #innerpeace #HolySpirit #dontworry #prayabouteverything #tellGod

 

Day Three: Compassion

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Can we talk? Let’s talk holiday gatherings (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s) for a few minutes.
So, you will be celebrating the holidays with family and/or friends. Whether you are hosting or you were invited, you likely will be in the company of people you enjoy and maybe some who require a bit more patience and prayer from you. Chances are there will be at least one instance where a little bit of compassion will go a long way. Hey, for some of you compassion will save the meal, the day, relationships, and maybe an inheritance.

It may not be easy for you to show compassion to your loved one, family friend, or the random person you happen to cross paths with. That person may be engaging in a lifestyle which lies in contrast to how you live your life. That person may have willfully made life choices which resulted in their current situation/ misfortune/ mess (you choose the best word 😉). You may look at this person and be at a loss for words or simply just want to shake your head in amazement. You however, will choose to demonstrate compassion to this person. Why? Because it is what the Lord asks us to do.

So with the help of the Holy Spirit at work within you, compassion will be your response to this person. Then do ensure that you pray that God’s desires will be made manifest in that person’s life and also yours. Today move with a purpose.

Meditation: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#compassion #daythree #relationships #holidaygatherings

 

Day Four: Joy

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The official unofficial start to the hustle and bustle/ endless shopping season is here. This season is dubbed the most wonderful time of the year. Indeed it is probably the most festive time of the year in many, many regions throughout the globe. People generally are happier and carefree.

We certainly should be merry when we turn our attention to the basis of this time of the year. When we strip away the eating and drinking and mass consumerism we can focus our attention on the supernatural birth of the Savior, Emmanuel.

While happiness and merriment are wonderful conditions, the remembrance of this historical event moves us pass happiness and merriment to JOY! Because happiness is a temporary state dependent on external circumstances but joy is a far greater emotion one that can be experienced in times of peace and war, in the face of sorrow and merriment.

Let’s ask the Lord to give us joy remembering that we ought always to be joyful. Let’s ask even as we enter into the largest season of merriment.

Meditation: 

“Always be joyful.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#joy #dayfour #hustleandbustle #Emmanuel #bejoyful #fruitoftheSpirit #happinessvsjoy

 

Day Five: Love

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The lights are going up, wreaths on the door, list making, gift shopping, and Christmas songs have filled the air. The Christmas season is well on its way. It’s like a wave hit our shores and washed over us all. Christmas celebrations have overwhelmed us whether we like it or not. So where are you in this season? What has washed over you and overwhelmed your heart and mind? Hopefully it is the gift of love. You see freely God sent Love to our planet and washed over our World when Christ was born. Many celebrate this gift of love every year at Christmas. We are fortunate to celebrate and benefit from God’s unconditional love. It truly is the best kind of love.

In the Greek language, the language of much of the New Testament writings, the word is agape. Many describe it as a God kind of love. That is only God can love truly in spite of. In our striving to be like Christ we nevertheless can love others and love God through the work of Jesus Christ. Pray that God will allow you to extend His love to others in all you do this Christmas season.

Meditation: “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
‭‭John‬ ‭13:34-35‬ ‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#love #dayfive #agape #loveGod #loveothers

 

Day Six: Patience

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The lines will be long. People will be extremely busy. Things will be out of stock. There will be changes in travel plans. Some people will show up, some people will not. Others will be eager to participate, others…not so much. ‘Tis the season for a whole lot of this and then some. You are likely to experience some kind of disappointment this season because disappointment is enviable. It is a part of humanness.

Exercise patience in the face of this all. Patience calls for restraint in the absence of anger. Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Therefore trying to patiently survive this holiday season in your own strength will be difficult if not impossible in the absence of the Holy Spirit. So enlist the power of the Holy Spirit. Ask with confidence knowing that God wants to be in communication, in relationship with his creation.

Meditation: “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#patience #daysix #bepatient #disappontment #restraint #fruitoftheHolySpirit

 

Day Seven: Kindness

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It’s easy to be kind to the people you like and love. It’s a bit more difficult to demonstrate kindness to neighbors, strangers, and people who “rub you the wrong way”. Sometimes it sneaks up on you. You are having a great day. The kind of day where you could easily run and have a “mountain top experience”. Then out of nowhere comes this person who you would rather not encounter. Here they are however, approaching you or already in front of you. You see them. They see you.

These are the encounters that really “test our faith”. It’s easy to repeat “Christianese” especially when things are going well. (i.e. I’m too blessed to be stressed.). It is an entirely different situation when you are face to face with a situation of testing. Every situation of testing; every person you may encounter that you are not very fond of, can be traversed successfully. For the testing of your faith will bring about patience.

The gift of kindness equips us to “experience victory” even when we encounter that unexpected situation or person. Kindness is a condition of your heart. With a heart full of kindness you are equipped and then able to demonstrate good works to others. It is only developed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Lord help us to be kind to our neighbors and do them no harm.

 

Meditation: “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:32‬ ‭‬‬‬‬‬‬

#kindness #dayseven #bekindtoyourneighbor #forgive #test #testingofyourfaith #tooblessed #Christianese

Continue reading “7 Days Holiday Survival Guide”

The Silent Treatment/ Passive Aggressive Behavior

Topic: Effective Communication
Goal: Overcoming Negative Communication: The Silent Treatment/ Passive Aggressive Behavior

“What’s bugging you?” “What’s eating you?” “What’s the matter?” “What’s wrong?” “You don’t look yourself.” “You’re not acting the same.”

Something is wrong. Everybody knows it. Everyone sees the change in your demeanor. You really are acting differently. You however, are putting on a show. You are upset but you refuse to address the situation. As least you refuse to admit and address it right now. You most likely will address it in a few hours, a few days, a few months, but it is coming. And oh the firestorm that will ensue.

You may be feeling overwhelmed. You may feel hurt. You may be having a difficult time processing your feelings. These are all normal feelings. Your behavior exhibited in light of these feelings however, may not be appropriate or helpful for your relationships.

So, how can you best share your feelings with the people around you? More importantly, the people that love you? How can you process your thoughts and express your feelings without lashing out, without hurting others, or without hurting yourself?

First, lets understand and agree that communication is paramount. How you communicate with your spouse and/ or your family members will color the nature of your mutual relationships. Given that these individual relationships are ones you wish to cultivate, here are a few steps to help you move pass one of your negative communication patterns.

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1. Take a figurative or literal deep breathe. Journal. Pray. Meditate on Scripture. Schedule an appointment with your counselor.

Employ a method or methods where you can take time to collect your thoughts, clearly process your feelings, and gain some perspective.

2. After taking some time to collect your thoughts, process your feelings, and gain some perspective, your next step is to engage your loved one.

Start by expressing your gratitude to your loved one for their concern. Again, provided this is a healthy relationship that is reflective of mutual empathy, consider that your loved one is most likely trying to help you. The manner in which they demonstrate this help may not be exactly what you need or appreciate. Nevertheless, try to consider that person’s perspective. Of course you will never really know unless you effectively engage your loved one.

3. Clearly communicate your feelings to your loved one.
Use I statements to express your feelings rather than blaming your loved one for their actions. (Ex. I felt sad when you…)

4. Allow your loved one to also express their feelings.

5. If you and your loved one aren’t able to effectively arrive at a mutual understanding, you may consider enlisting the help of a trusted advisor or professional counselor.

For Meditation:
1. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭‬‬

2. A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭15:1‬ ‭‬

Remember, it takes time to change behavioral patterns. Give yourself and also your loved one some grace. Let’s communicate in love.

Rejection

Rejection hurts! It brings with it unwanted feelings and negative thoughts.

Unsolicited evaluations of others often trigger moments of rejection and can leave you feeling like you are and never will be good enough. You may never be the right size, never be the right color, never speak the right way, dress the right way, walk, act…etc.

Listening to the chatter of others can be deafening. These negative evaluations may force us to question our decisions and denigrate ourselves. Those negative evaluations are extremely detrimental to our sense of self and at times our wellbeing.

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Why not listen instead to the one voice that always speaks love to us? It is the one voice that trumps all others. Why not listen to the voice of God? What He says about us is what really matters.

When we read God’s Word we realize that He loves us for who we are even in light of the components of our self that can and should be changed. He and only He can love us and move us to the place of lasting change, with our acceptance of the Savior. He may use other people to mentor and disciple us in some areas. These processes however, should always be enveloped with love. Ultimately, the only person who unequivocally can determine what warrants change in a person is God. He can and will shape us into who He intended for us to be. We soon realize that we do not have to live according to others’ standards of the right color, the right gait, shape, etc. Those are components of ourselves that have no bearing in eternity.

Reflection: What is your natural reaction when you feel rejected? Sometimes we may respond by inflicting pain upon ourselves or even hurting others when we feel rejected. It takes work but we can successfully move past moments of rejection towards our destines.

So look forward! Don’t look back!

Meditation: Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Isaiah 43:18-19

Loving on you today!

 

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Pivot

Few things can shake your foundation and change the course of your life like chronic pain, a life threatening diagnosis, a natural disaster, the death of a loved one, or the loss of a close relationship.

In the midst of these situations you may experience feelings of loneliness, sadness, hurt, frustration, confusion, and anger. If you are currently facing one of these situations you may be asking, “Why me?”, “Where do I go from here?” or “What’s next for my life?”

Many of us have asked the same questions. I surmise we will not find all the answers to our questions this side of heaven. While that can be disappointing, may I suggest another perspective?

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Perhaps this can be your time to pivot. This can be a new beginning. This may not be the life you envisioned. God however, is not a bit surprised by your circumstances.

Rest confidently knowing that God is with you as you step out on faith and continue your journey on a new road.

For Meditation: “Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever. Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, both now and forever.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭125:1-2‬ ‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

May He perpetually wrap you in His arms.

Change

Change. It is a simple word with enormous aftereffects. Several definitions of change include (a) to make different; (b) to make a shift from one to another; and (c) to undergo a modification (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). Most people are fearful or reluctant to change. There are some who simply are comfortable with their lifestyle. Still there are others who are plagued with ignorance. So for these two groups of individuals, in the absence of an awareness of alternatives, life is fine (or at least so they say).

Many people however, desire change at some point in their lives. Change can be fairly simple or quite difficult. It depends on what is to be changed, how it can be changed, and when it can be changed.

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So how does change occur? In simplicity, a person has to want to change. Sometimes this is a difficult concept to grasp especially if we desperately desire to see change in the life of a loved one. At times, the change we believe our loved ones should undergo or the rate at which this change should occur differs. This can result in frustration by all involved.

Remember, change is a procedural objective rather than a onetime occurrence. In essence, real change takes time. So be patient with yourself and your loved ones. Give lots of grace, love, and lend support.