When You're Tempted to Compare Your Holidays

This time of year brings to mind fun memories of childhood Christmases. The pattern in our house rarely changed from year to year, and I loved it. I would anticipate every second, from munching on Chex party mix at my dad’s house on Christmas Eve, to playing in the backyard at my aunt and uncle’s on Christmas afternoon.


I always knew what to expect, and I thrived on the predictability of it all.


I don’t know how my parents managed to pull it off, with the challenges divorce can bring. But somehow they did. I felt safe knowing what our holidays had in store.


As a wife, mom, stepmom, and step-Mimi, holidays can be a bit more unexpected now.


For years I longed to create a Christmas season our family could not only count on, but look forward to each year. But outside factors and challenges always seemed to interrupt my best laid plans.


Frustration has a way of knocking at our heart’s door at times like this, when lost expectations cause us to feel like our holiday isn’t good enough. With a simple scroll through social media, I easily become overwhelmed with post after post of recipes, decorations, and family outings that put my spur-of-the-moment schedule to shame.


When we’re tempted to compare our holidays to others, we risk losing the mountain of blessings right where we are. Expectations of what we long for become the enemy of what we already have. But God offers a better way.


Expectations can push contentment into the shadows, but God renews our contentment with the light of each new day. (Tweet this.)


So I’ve learned to be content with my circumstances. Even when they take an abrupt turn, like they have recently. In fact, our current circumstances will have an effect on my ability to plan, go, and do as much as I’d like through this year’s holiday season. But when disappointment tries to creep in, I will remind myself of God’s promise to me. His presence is always here, filling me with joy and peace through the holidays.


My holiday may not be perfect, but it is wonderful because God is in it. (Tweet this.)


You may be thinking, “But my holiday can’t be wonderful. Not this year. Too much has happened.”


I am right there with you. I am, and I understand. May I share something with you? I’ve been inspired by the journey others have taken before me, and what they’ve taught me through God’s Truth.


We can let a diagnosis, grief, or hurt determine a death sentence for the days ahead. Or, we can allow it to draw us into the throne-room of grace, where mercy, hope, and healing reside.



“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” Deuteronomy 30:19


We have a choice for this holiday, and I choose life. Won’t you join me? Then let’s take all the comparison, expectation, and frustration and cast it away. Let’s live in the moment, right now, where we are.


Let’s have a wonderful, imperfect, unexpected, sometimes painful but always grace-filled, happy holidays.




Blessings,

Kristine


To discover more about letting go of comparison and embracing God’s plan, visit the Over It book page here.









What to Do When I Pray But Still Feel Down

“And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6b ESV


I’d been praying about my situation for weeks. Friends were praying for me. Our pastors were praying too. But this particular Sunday when I walked into church, the pastor must’ve sensed my discouragement or seen it in the look on my face.


During the worship service, he walked up to me and said, “God’s got this. You know that, right?”


I nodded in agreement. I knew God had it all under control, but the pastor’s question kept coming back to me again and again. Did I really trust God with my situation? And if so, why was I still feeling down?


When we offer our most desperate prayer to God, we trust Him to work on our behalf with His love, mercy, and peace. We know we can rely on Him in our daily decisions and toughest challenges.

But honestly, when I’m facing those challenges it’s hard to stay positive, even when I’ve given it to God in prayer.


David knew this. In the verse above, David felt alone because of his circumstances. He had no one to turn to for prayer support. In fact, all his men were so distressed, they talked about taking it out on David.


When he had nowhere else to turn, he knew where to find encouragement.


“Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek, ‘Bring me the ephod.’” (1 Sam. 30:7 NIV)


Through the ephod, David was able to seek the Lord and His will in their situation. Even though surrounded by men weeping in despair, David turned to God and discovered His promise for certain victory over the enemy.


Sometimes in life we will be surrounded by the faithful prayers of family and friends. Our hearts will be uplifted as we know others are standing with us and holding us up in our trial.


Then there will be other times when we feel alone and unsure where to turn. We’ve prayed, but we still feel discouraged. In those moments, we cannot give in to despair. Instead, we must encourage ourselves through what we know to be true.


“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19


I will encourage myself today in what I know to be True. God’s got this. #Truth (Tweet this.)



So let’s take our example from David today. We will have moments when we feel down, but that doesn’t have to stop us from making the choice to seek the One who never fails us. God promises to provide for our needs, and we can trust Him.

God’s got this.


Blessings,

Kristine