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In Search of Drama-Free Holidays

It usually starts a few days before Thanksgiving. The clock is ticking, and the dates are coming

fast. Groceries to get. Menus to prepare. Budgets to balance. Gifts to buy. Oh, and the yard work and cleaning! If you are the one who shops for Christmas gifts or plans holiday parties, you may be scrolling through images of picture-perfect homes with picture-perfect models making picture-perfect recipes and thinking, “I CAN DO THAT!” or maybe “I CAN’T DO THAT!”. Either way, you can get stuck in a cycle of performance and overspending or defeat and fighting that “victim” thinking that says everyone has it better. Either way, you give the enemy the opportunity to take away your peace and the blessings the Lord wants for you. (John 10:10)

Painful family dynamics are often unavoidable this time of year, placing another level of anxiety on top of what we’re already carrying. Difficult, unhealthy relatives can make a beautiful celebration something we dread, and it almost seems we must escape to survive. If our unhealthy coping mechanisms surface during this time and we slip back in to old patterns, we may find we walk away with feelings of loss and emptiness after its all over. (Proverbs 17:9)

Jesus says that we can put everything before him and pray about all things. (Phil. 4:6-7) Does that mean we can do something about the impending holidays, or our loud uncle who’s always talking politics, or our adult children’s unfamiliar parenting style? Well, only God can slow time or change others, but what we can do something about is how we respond in every situation. The world around us may not be drama-free, but perhaps we can be.

Here are a few tips for drama-free living, even in the hardest of situations:

1. Ask for forgiveness and give forgiveness. Forgiveness is the gateway to healing. When we humble ourselves before the Lord, He helps us see where forgiveness is needed. Ask the Lord to show you if there is anyone who you need to forgive and if there is anyone you need to ask for forgiveness. Do this now! Don’t wait until you’re triggered by someone’s words or actions. I call this pre-forgiveness. Prepare your heart more than you prepare the turkey and there will be a sweetness that covers all the messiness.

2. Give it to Jesus and ASK FOR HEALING: Negative expectations can set us up for negative experiences. Many of our negative expectations of the holidays come from hurtful experiences in our past. Give yourself permission to notice what you’re feeling; then, spend some time ahead of your gatherings, acknowledging your hurt before the Lord. Give the feelings to Him one by one. We were not built to carry these feelings and He is glad to carry them for us! But don’t stop there - ask Him what He wants to give you in return. He will speak to your heart and you can meditate on these truths to renew your mind. One last step: in those moments with Jesus, in the quiet place, ask Him to heal the places in your heart that were damaged as a result of the anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and the pain that you have carried. Do so with hopeful expectation, knowing He is faithful and longs to bless you.

3. Break any agreements with the enemy and agree with God instead. Bind the enemy, both in yourself and in others. Make a list of the things that are actively working against God’s peace in your family and take authority over them, binding them in the name of Jesus and sending them away. Then ask the Lord for everything that He wants to give your family - all those things that the enemy had been consistently blocking – and receive the blessing.

4. Come in the opposite spirit with those that use competition and divisive actions and words. Once you’ve forgiven them (first step), you can ask the Lord what He wants you to say or do that’s aligned with His Spirit towards them. They’ll likely be shocked and you will see their hearts soften.

God doesn’t promise a drama-free holiday season (especially when it comes to traffic!). But He does promise to never leave us or forsake us and that we can find peace and comfort, being known and loved, in the middle of the drama. (Deut. 31:6)

If you are one of so many in the body of Christ that has not yet received, or seen a need for, emotional healing ministry, this would be a good time to take note of challenges that come up during the holiday season and plan to get some healing prayer ministry from a trusted source in the New Year. It is our inheritance to walk in freedom; and when we do, others can see that God is good, and that when we come to Him, He gives a peace and joy that the world cannot give, even in the most difficult circumstances. (Gal.5:1, John 14:27) It is our privilege in the body of Christ to walk this road with one another. (Eph. 4) Don’t let the enemy have one more day of your story. Healing is here for the asking.

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