Just telling the truth here…. but I’ve been one of those people who fought depression during the Christmas season for years. So this post may not sound like a story of hope, but trust me… IT IS.
This may sound ridiculous, but every fall I worked myself into a tizzy because I felt t.r.a.p.p.e.d …
-trying to please family members on both sides.
-buying gifts when we didn’t have the money.
-finding the time to shop when I worked full-time.
-feeling the pressure of having to travel every holiday.
-not being able to relax when staying in someone else’s house
-spending an extraordinary amount on shipping presents in the event we didn’t travel.
-writing all these Christmas cards because my husband thought we had to.
-using my vacation time to physically exhaust myself rather receive the rest I needed.
-never having the chance to celebrate Christmas in my home.
I know, I know… I could have done a secret Santa with just one gift per family. I could have worked smarter or said no. I could have given to charity. But I felt compelled to follow traditions on how to do Christmas, and I was never able to get family to agree to even a few concessions.
Have you ever felt trapped during the holidays?
Honestly, I was trying so hard to please people and for some reason… I had tons of trouble saying this one little word…. N.O.
I could have stood up for myself, but I was afraid of the consequences. I feared the approval of men and loss of their love.
And you know what? This dilemma actually made me physically sick. For about ten years, I contracted a serious case of bronchitis every December.
Finally, my doctor sat me down and stated the obvious, “If you continue to get this sick, you will require stronger doses of antibiotics, and there are only a few antibiotics left that you can take. So you must start thinking about how to take better care of yourself. Otherwise, your life will be over.”
Do you realize that sin can actually make you sick? I had been sick on the inside for years, but now it was affecting my physical health. God was using this broncitis to force me to say “no” to those things that weren’t good for me.
And in doing so, I was saying “yes” to God. It didn’t happen all at once, but step by step with His help, I learned that God wanted me healed…. all of me including that stress. He didn’t want me to carry those burdens. He wanted to bestow His grace, but I had to make a conscious choice to change. I’m exhaling all that bad, and breathing in the good.
Galatians 5:1 says “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
I know you don’t often hear this verse during the holidays, but now instead of being trapped, I am wrapped for the Christmas season… wrapped in His love, joy and peace and ready to experience His joy.
How about you?