Does it seem like life’s disappointments all pile up this time of year?
Aloneness, the grief of a lost loved one, financial hardship, sickness, or a broken relationship is accentuated during this season. At some point in our lives, we will all experience one or more of these challenges around the holidays. So, what do we do with our illuminated pile of disappointments? There are no easy solutions, but there are a few things I’ve found to be helpful.
I learned through my own grief and hardships, that the giving of ourselves to others, expressing our creativity, prayer, praise, and reading God’s Word is central to overcoming the accumulating dark clouds that surround us and want to overtake us.
Give to Others- Giving helps us to take our eyes off ourselves and the thing that’s causing pain, and focus on the needs of others. When we give, God blesses us. When we give and meet the needs of another, we show love. When we sow seeds of love, we reap a harvest of blessings. Volunteer at a food bank, read to elderly people at a nursing home, be a Hospice volunteer, mentor a teen, or if you’re a tradesperson, contribute your skills to someone who has need of your labor. Look in the classifieds or online for volunteer opportunities, they’re everywhere. Initiate and be the answer to someone’s need. It’s harder to feel alone and sad when you’re helping someone.
Express Your Creativity- I discovered while I grieved the loss of my son, that I had a natural talent to paint on canvas. One of my paintings displayed a self-portrait expressing that particular stage of my grief- which I cherish to this day. I uncovered many hidden talents during my journey through grief, I also took up dance, writing, and acting. I fully believe God gives us gifts in the dark to give to others, which ultimately are given back to Him for His glory. When we find ways to creatively express our pain, we give ourselves away. We naturally find delight in giving and creating because we are made in the image of God who is the Master Creator and Giver of Life! What creative thing have you always wanted to do? Do it.
Prayer, Praise, and Reading God’s Word- First and foremost believing that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) is paramount to our relationship with Christ. We know God is close to us, but are we cultivating a close and intimate relationship with Him by giving ourselves to Him through prayer? God is more than enough for us, and His Word is our bread of life. Giving our time by talking to God, reading and meditating on scripture that pertains to our particular circumstance, gives us the confidence in God’s ability to help and save us from being overcome with destructive emotions. Suggestion- reading the book of Psalm when overwhelmed with emotion like David was, brings comfort to our souls. When we hear the Word of God, it penetrates our heart, so try reading it aloud.
Giving praise to the Lord and expressing our thankfulness and love for Him in darkened times, changes the atmosphere, and it has the power to change the direction of our emotions. God delights in our sacrificial praise. There is a blessing that comes when we give Him praise, especially when we don’t feel like it.
How many ways can you give yourself this holiday season to help overcome life’s heartaches?