Friday, December 18, 2009

Prescription for the Holiday Blues


I don't know what it is about this time of year that makes me want to crawl into a cave and wait it out, but I have some pretty good ideas:

* Everyone is in a rush to get somewhere or do something and common courtesy seems to take a lethal blow.

* Nerves are frayed and tempers are fragile (especially on the roads)with all the holiday stress.

* Everyone (which usually ends up including me) is sick with something, and feeling under the weather.

* The job market is dismal as companies lay off workers and cut costs in response to end of the year financial evaluations.

* Its so cold outside.

Obviously, I have a case of the Holiday Blues. Of course, it doesn't help that the hubby is out of town on business all weekend. Try as he might, my cat just doesn't make the cut when it comes to combination bed-warmer and cheerer-upper (although-- shhh! don't tell!-- he got a try at the former last night, despite the ban on kitties in the bedroom. If I change the sheets and vacuum, Johnny need never know!)

Meanwhile, the interview I went to on Wednesday pretty much bombed in my estimation. Though I had been praying over it for a week that God's will would be clear, I must admit I was still a little disappointed when I left the room feeling like I had given a less-than-stellar performance. I keep repeating to myself: "If God doesn't want me having that job, then there was nothing I could have done to get it anyway, and if he does want me to have it, then nothing I did could screw that up." But-- in typical human fashion-- I want to credit all the power to myself, for good or ill, so I am constantly warring with the temptation to rehash the stupid answers I gave to a few of the questions. Okay... it wasn't horrible... but I would still be (pleasantly) surprised if they called me after that interview. Oh well, as everyone keeps reminding me, it's a good learning experience.

Meanwhile, I sort of fell off the wagon with my exercise/diet routine for the past few days. It's amazing how hard it is to fit in two miles of walking between church activities, babysitting, job-hunting, gift-shopping/making, and all the other little leach-tasks that drain away my time. I've been giving myself an excuse because of my cold, though if I'm honest with myself, walking would probably do it some good, what with the sinus-clearing cold air out there. Plus, the surprise cruise my parents bought me as a graduation gift is only two weeks away, and I was (vainly)hoping to have some semblance of a beach-body by the time we boarded. I wonder if they sell liposuction gift cards? Think anyone might buy me one for Christmas? Hmm...

It's so easy to give in to the negative thoughts and musings. If I let myself, I might be in a full-fledged state of December Depression right now. I'm jobless. I don't know where we'll be living beyond February. I barely have money to buy groceries and I'm having to spend my graduation gifts on Christmas gifts for other people. I'm sick. I'm lonely. BUT...

Did you notice that every one of those pity-party sentences started with "I"? I'm beginning to see (and wish I would have learned this years ago) that the focus on me is the fertile soil which allows the seeds of depression to blossom. If I just weren't so self absorbed, I would be a lot happier. That's why I keep having to come back to the realization that, lo and behold, this season isn't about me at all! Despite all the pressure to buy presents and bake goodies and look good, Christmas has only one point: to celebrate the entry into a sinful world of the only precious and perfect Savior, Jesus Christ. And the more I realize, the more everything else just seems to sort of fall away.

Out of work? Think again!

"The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent" (John 6:29).

Strapped for cash?

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matt. 6:19-21).

Worried about the future?

"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (ain't that the truth?) (Matt. 6:31-34).

Feeling under-the-weather?

"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body" (Phil. 3:20-21).

Wondering what happened to the peace of this "Silent Night"?

"[He] will keep in perfect peace all who trust in [Him], whose thoughts are fixed on [Him]" (Isaiah 26:3). It's that simple!

And, you know, I have no reason to doubt the reality and truth of these promises. Everywhere I look, I see God's hand taking care of me, providing for me, giving me good work to do for His sake and glory. I really have no excuse for not being grateful. I have been redeemed from the grasp of sin and death by the humble birth of the Messiah and his work on the cross: what better reason to celebrate this Christmas?

Are you, too, struggling with a case of the holiday blues? Take two of Isaiah 26:3, and call me in the morning!

5 comments:

  1. Thank you for your insightful comments. I hope you feel the presence of the Lord as you prepare to celebrate His birth.
    Merry Christmas!

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  2. I have clinical depression, so I know what you're going thru. I hope you feel the presence of Christ this season too.

    Good luck with your job hunt and the next few months.

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  3. oh my gosh... I love how you refuted every single negative depressing thought with scripture. This was so good to read

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  4. Sometimes the only way to counter our negative thoughts is to quote scriptures, just as you have done. I keep a notebook full of my favorite scriptures to read (many times out loud) when I am having a hard time.

    Great post! May God fill you with His peace and steadfast love as you focus on Him this Christmas.

    -Melissa

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  5. I am so sorry that you have been feeling down and discouraged. The holiday time is famous for that, I think, in part, because we have unachieveable expectations. I think you are doing exactly what you should, however. Just pray those scriptures, God is faithful!

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