Don't Get Stuck In A Holidaze
Okay, let’s be honest. Something awful can take place during the holidays that is a complete joy stealer. During the holiday season, it is so easy to get stuck in a holidaze. Yes, I made up that word. I mean a “daze” when we scroll through our feeds and then start to think that what we’re doing isn’t enough. Our tree doesn’t look like that, our table is definitely not that matchy-matchy, our family is not that put together, they look like they’re having so much fun. Or it can say, we have too many parties to attend - we don’t have “us” time, and swing over to we don’t have any family here, so we’re missing out. See what he did there, either way you slice it– it doesn’t measure up. The thief of your joy can manipulate your circumstances to always seem like they’re not enough, you are not enough. It can be a feeling of failure or being constantly discontent with what’s in front of you.
A few years ago at Christmas time, my friend told me she was jealous that my pictures looked like we were having so much fun with just us and our kids. I, in turn, confessed that the entire holiday I was thinking about how we have no family in town-- no family dinners, nothing like what my friends had. My immediate response to her what just a total stop it moment. Wow– how our hearts can deceive and mislead us. Not only does he want to steal our joy, but to destroy our very minds and perspectives on the blessings we each have.
If we’re not mindful, the comparison trap is at our fingertips all day long. We can get into a daze as we scroll through others’ lives instead of appreciating our own. This stuff happens with or without the social media highlight reel and Pinterest boards, it’s just magnified with them. We do not need to compete or compare with what we see on someone else’s highlight reel.
Things you may find yourself thinking:
“My family is so screwed up.” // “Look how perfect they are.”
“We don’t have new clothes.” // “How do they afford to dress like that?”
“My kids never listen!” // “Are they always smiling and well behaved?!”
“We are eating frozen pizza.” // “Must be nice to go to that expensive restaurant!”
“We never go anywhere.” // “Where are they now, another amazing trip?!”
The list could go on and on, I’ve found myself saying some of these and many more. It’s embarrassing to admit, really. It is so immature, unhealthy and ultimately will leave us completely dissatisfied and unhappy. Everyone’s “behind-the-scenes” have a mess attached at some point. Take that invitation to your own pity party and trash it. Cancel the pity party, climb out of the comparison trap and count your blessings. I do not mean to belittle true heartbreak over serious pain the holidays can hold in your heart. Take that to your Heavenly Father and let Him love on you. Bring it to Jesus and ask Him to bring His Perfect Peace that comes when it doesn’t make sense. Invite the Holy Spirit to do what He does and bring comfort and counsel. Here’s some practical steps when you find yourself getting stuck in the holidaze:
1. Get Grateful
Count your blessings. Look around and literally count them. Point out the smallest victories. Gratitude turns what we have into enough. There is always something to be thankful for. Gratitude kills comparison. It’s not possible to be thankful and jealous at the same time.
“Don’t forget a single blessing.” Psalm 103:1 MSG
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18
2. Honestly Happy
As gross as jealousy, envy and bitterness can be when they come in… and hard to admit we ever deal with this. Shut them out. I believe you can train your soul to truly “do the opposite”. As soon as those negative thoughts come in, stop and do the opposite. Retrain your brain to celebrate for others in that moment. You can be honestly happy for your friends or “friends” on social media. Celebrate for them. Cheer them on. You cannot live a joyful life without having a joyful thought life and you are in control of your thoughts. So kick the negative ones to the curb and choose to celebrate.
“Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them.” Philippians 4:4-5
3. Be Real
We all value those who are fearlessly authentic, be brave and share your behind-the-scenes at times. Remind yourself that everyone has a story behind the pictures and the highlights. Create a “me too” moment with a friend. Share the messy moments, hurt feelings, unmet expectations in a conversation and find the freedom in friendship of shared experiences. Failed expectations do not have to equal failed holidays. Don’t let one missing part make the entirety of the season feel broken. Embrace your beautiful mess.
“It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” Myquillin Smith
“And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there.” 1 Corinthians 7:17
So I hope that as we continue this holiday season, you are able to seal your memories in your heart and mind as good enough. They are your life, your loved ones, your traditions and they are just enough for you. Probably more than enough– that’s how I feel. So let’s take the “daze” of comparison out of our holidays.
“This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 NLT