It’s the most wonderful time of the year! We hear this over and over again as we rush around trying to finish our Christmas shopping (or start it because we all know, I do not do my shopping until the last minute). As we shuffle from house to house, load and unload kids, load and unload presents, load and unload our stress, it is hard to really get into the holiday spirit at times.
This weeks post is going to be based on Overcoming the Negative Thoughts in our lives at the moment. Whether it is having to spend Christmas time with a family member who you just do not get along with, or the worry of financial strain this time of year has on you. It could be as simple as worrying you didn’t get your kids enough. It could be as complex as forgetting what Christmas is really about. Whatever it is that is weighing heavy on your heart this time of year it is important to remember that you are not alone in this.
I know for some people, it is not negative thoughts about ourselves, but more about others. It could be the cranky lady screaming at a cashier about her expired coupon, it could be a mom letting their child just run around destroying the store, it could be as simple as someone not holding the door open for you while they clearly see you are struggling. This time of year is a really hard time, because you are seeing the good, and not so good in everyone as they are also just trying to get through the holidays.
I know for me I love Christmas, but I do not love the chaos. I love getting together with my families. I love watching the boys rip into their presents under the Christmas Tree, and I love all the traditions we do as we prepare for the big day. This year I am extra excited because it is Gianni’s first real Christmas. He has been really curious as to why there is a random lit up tree in our living room. Why this bearded man keeps saying “Ho Ho Ho” wherever we go. Why all the houses are lit up outside. You forget the magic and the joy in Christmas sometimes, so watching it through a toddler’s eyes is probably one of the most precious gifts a mom can ask for. I have noticed this year in particular I am feeling a little more anxious than years in the past. I don’t know if it’s because the older boys, are in fact older so buying gifts is getting a little more stressful. Or, if it is just that Christmas seemed to start right after Halloween in the stores, so it has just been on my mind longer. Whatever the reason it is, I know that God has my back in all of this, and He has yours too.
I was out running errands the other day and had to stop at Target to get a few things, and leave with 100 things (am I right ladies, it get’s you every time!) As I was walking in I could already feel the tension of everyone shuffling in and out. Impatient drivers trying to find their perfect spot, people cutting other people off to get a cart, and I even witnessed a lady cut an elderly woman off to check out. I instantly just felt the negativity enter into my body, now I was shopping annoyed. My negative thoughts were already controlling the situation and I was letting it. I was looking at the list that I had typed out on my phone and just trying to get this over with as fast as possible, when I hear a little girls voice in the toy section squealing with excitement! I avoid the toy section like the plague these days because Gianni is now at the age where the temper tantrums are real, so we just pretend that area does not exists. But, I decided we were going to check this out because I do love a good belly laugh from a child. This little girl was holding a ball, as the mom was browsing those dreadful LOL Dolls and she was just so excited. She was hugging the ball and giggling. The mom repeated a few times “We keep it in our arms, we do not throw it in the store. If mommy sees you throw it, it goes back and we go home” You know the typical Mom mantra we all say over and over again hoping that maybe it will register into their little minds. And you know what, that little girl sat there happy as can be just holding the ball, looking at it and laughing as her mom shopped around. I couldn’t help but just smile because it really comes down to just the simple things in life that can bring such big smiles to our faces. The ball was not the most expensive toy in that area, the ball wasn’t some $80 mystery toy egg that every child is begging for these days. No, it was a $1 ball with a princess on the front, and that small little thing was bringing so much joy to that little girls life during that time. Instantly all those negative thoughts and feelings really just left my body. I feel like sometimes God sees you and feels you and places things in your life at that moment to just tell you to relax.
Then I really slowed down, I took a breath, I looked at my curious toddler who was probably wondering why he didn’t have that cool ball, and just smiled at him. He laughed and smiled back and we continued our shopping trip, chit chatting together. Pointing out all the decorations, and him helping me put our items into the cart. We got to the check out and everyone was in a hurry, the cashiers looked exhausted, and I decided that we were just going to smile our way through this, so that is what I did. I smiled at the cashier, asked how her day was going, she laughed at Gianni’s crazy hair (I try to do it, but the curls are strong in this one), we finished our transaction and we were on our way. I left the store smiling, and the cashier was now smiling too. Her whole mood shifted, just from a stranger with a smile. I removed that negativity from the beginning by simply just allowing God to show me the small positives, the simple reminders, and a smile.
I think during Christmas time everyone just get’s caught up over and over again on what you want, instead of what you really need. I think all the negativity we feel is really us just not taking the time to slow down and enjoy just the simple things in our lives. You may not be getting along with a family member, and you are dreading having to spend holiday time with them, but if you take the time to simply slow down and think of the small positives about that person, and focus on that instead of the big negatives, it will make the situation so much more enjoyable.
Maybe you are stressing out about the financial burden this season has on you. Instead of worrying about buying your children the biggest, the best, and the most presents. Focus on the small things they will enjoy. Maybe give them an experience instead of the newest electronics. Print out a “certificate” of a full day with just mom for their stocking. Because, I will bet you when your child grows up they will never remember what they got every year for Christmas, but they will remember that one day they got you all to their self and you had the most fun day!
Maybe other people’s negativity is really affecting your spirit. Maybe you have seen just so much bad, it is hard to really focus on the good. That is when you really need to just slow down and look for the positives around you. You may of noticed someone being nasty, but I bet if you really look, you will see way more good in the world. Try setting up some volunteer experiences, to focus on other people, instead of yourself. Take some time on giving instead of worrying about receiving. Open your heart to someone less fortunate and you will see their gratitude, and you will change someone else’s life for the better.
Most importantly, remember to keep praying. Pray for those around you, those in the cold, those who aren’t able to even celebrate Christmas this year. Pray for those who have lost loved ones, and are struggling. Pray for those who have forgot why we even celebrate Christmas. Pray for the ones alone for the holiday, and pray for the ones who are hosting. Pray for the people traveling, and the ones who wish they could be with family far away. Remember if you keep praying, you are praying those negative feelings away, and you are inviting God’s light and calm into your soul.
What are some ways you can overcome the “Christmas Negativity”? What are some fun traditions you do with your family to make this time of year memorable?
For this weeks devotional we are going to work on 7 different bible verses that will help you overcoming those negative thoughts. We will do a verse a day, with some reflections, and questions. IF you would like to do the Devotional, click on the devotional setting on the menu.
Happy Praying everyone!