Holidays are crucial during your healing process. How you handle them can determine a big chunk of this next year.
If you’re anything like me, the markers within the calendar year bring with it the scent of the year prior. When you smell a new season, feelings of last year’s season come with it. Holidays, particularly Christmas, are extremely traditional. If this is your first Christmas without last year’s traditions, then this will be hard for you.
I’m telling you this ahead of time because you may be too wrapped up in nostalgia to really hear me in the next couple of weeks.
If you have suffered a loss this year, then be ready for the emotional battle you’re about to face. You may already be sensing it well up. It’s too easy to go backward in your healing progress when you’re feeling particularly alone and vulnerable.
I have a new puppy. He’s a 4.5 month old boxer who has ingested at least four of my girl’s little socks over the past two months. I know this because I have to clean up his mess whenever they end up coming back up. I know when he’s eaten a sock because he doesn’t touch his food for about a day. He just lays around like a sad, sick little guy.
You would think that the experience of being sick and having to go through the purging process would teach him to stay away from the tempting little socks, but I guess they’re just too irresistible.
One of the times I had to clean up his mess, I used a dirty hand towel. When I was sorting my laundry the next day, I wasn’t paying attention and the dish towel folded with his mess was sitting at the top of the pile. The little guy found it and proceeded to do what dogs do. Thankfully, I was standing nearby and stopped the nastiness.
(I’m sorry if this is making you sick. It makes me a little sick writing it.)
Like a dog that returns to his vomit, is a fool who repeats his folly. -Proverbs 26:11
You’ve ended a relationship with your escape. Whatever it was, you have made some progress. Whether the progress is just you considering it, whether you’ve put on your shoes, or whether you’ve walked out the door, you have made progress.
This is your chance to make it through something that will cause you to be so much stronger than you are right now. Imagine relief from the relentless temptation that haunts you like a demon.
I want to give you some tools to make it though this. The thing that has worked for me is putting my focus on developing new traditions.
Traditions get richer with time. Memories fatten traditions and make holidays, like Christmas, become what they’re really about. The first year will seem a little rigid, but will soften and form to fit you every year after.
This is your opportunity to use all of your lessons, the things you have said you would do different, and do them different this time. Everything is new. You can pick any paint color you want.
If you are focusing ahead, you will have less time to focus behind. Every time you find your mind sinking, you can start focusing on the recipes, the table settings, …whatever it is. I’m giving you busy work. But, it’s busy work with multi-dimensional meaning.
Make a new Christmas mix CD. It takes a lot of time if you do the research. There are some great old and new covers of Christmas songs. I’ll make a little playlist and adjust it as I find songs to add. I’ll post it to this blog so you can check it out anytime you want.
When you get through this holiday, you will have accomplished something that makes you feel more solid inside. Things will still hit you hard enough to knock the wind out of you, but those times will come further and further apart. It doesn’t take too long before you start feeling freedom and hope.
Start journaling your thoughts instead of going back to your mess. It’s old, friend, it will make you sicker this time. We forget things as time goes on. This will help you see God in your story a little better. You’ll be able to see His knowing eyes at points in your timeline where you didn’t think He was.
Do you have any song recommendations?
Have you been there and have any bits of advice you could add?