Christmas Tree and New Year's fireworks

Interholiday Introspection

How are you spending this week between Christmas and New Year’s Day?

Are you feeling blue because Christmas has passed for another year? Or maybe this season really hasn’t been that great, and you’re happy to see it go!

On the other hand, perhaps this Christmas was everything you dreamed it would be, and your only regret is that it didn’t last a little longer.

Whatever form they take, post holiday blues are a common experience after the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving, Christmas parties and shopping, special church services, and then the Big Day itself.

However you’re feeling about Christmas Day being in the rear view mirror, you’re also looking at the beginning of another year coming around the bend ahead.

Now is a good opportunity to address your feelings about both the past and the future, and make a few choices about what you’ll take with you into the new year.

I encourage you to set aside a bit of time this week for a heart check in.

Feeling down?

Thankful?

Worried?

Excited?

Angry?

Perhaps a combination of all of the above?

I say take a bit of time, because how you’re really feeling may be hiding beneath the surface of what even you can see at the moment!

Here’s a personal example of not knowing what was really going on:

In 2005, I spent an entire week down in the dumps. It’s so unlike me, because I’d really rather not waste my time on such negativity, although I’ve certainly had my seasons! In any event, I just could not figure out what was bothering me.

After an entire week of struggling through wondering if life was even worth living, I figured it out. I was turning 35. I couldn’t believe it. Once I named it and brought it out into the light, it felt so incredibly silly! I mean seriously, it wasn’t even a big number! And that was that. I was done with it–time to move on!!

Now it’s your turn. What are you feeling right now? Name it.

Get out a pen and paper (so old school, I know . . .), and write it down. You could have several things to name and write down, and that’s okay!

Next, start writing down any recent or soon-to-come events that may be contributing to each feeling. The connections may not be obvious at first, so give this some time. Getting these things out of your head and onto paper where you can see them makes them somehow seem less powerful.

For example, you may be angry. Why? You couldn’t get the roast you wanted to make for Christmas Dinner because they were sold out, Uncle Joe couldn’t make it because his flight was cancelled, Aunt Mae got sick and had to stay home, the twins fought almost all day (loudly), and no one helped you clean up afterwards. On top of that, you lost a few people to Covid throughout the year, and this was your first Christmas without them.

How could so many things go wrong, you wonder! And the anger simmers below the surface.

Anger

The underlying reasons for our emotions can be quite a tangled web! Many times we become angry at things we have no control over, and our anger has nowhere to go, so it festers. Hanging onto that anger makes us feel like at least we can control that little bit of the situation! Isn’t it amazing how we can fool ourselves into misery? We can’t just let it go . . . or can we?

But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.

Colossians 3:8

Uh-oh. Looks like it really is a choice. Making the choice to get rid of anger may require some assistance, though. God does not want you wallowing in your angry misery! Ask Him to give you the strength to let that anger go so that He can fill you with His joy.

Sadness

And then there’s sadness, which can seem overwhelming at times. King David knew sadness intimately. He wrote,

I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears.

Psalm 6:6

But even in his darkest hours, he looked to God in hope.

The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD will answer my prayer.

Psalm 6:9

I encourage you to open your Bible to Psalms, and begin reading them as prayers to God. It can be comforting to know that you are not the only one to be overwhelmed with grief. At the same time, the Psalms will remind you to look to God in hope, knowing that He cares for you deeply! You may not understand his ways, but you can know that He loves you eternally.

Thankfulness

Just maybe you’re thankful for how this holiday season happened. Well, praise God! Now is a great time to stop and thank God for all of the blessings you’ve enjoyed. Every good thing comes from Him, you know!

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

James 1:17

2021 to 2022

Now to look ahead. 2022 is right around the corner! How are you feeling about your future? Worried? Excited? Write it down and begin to process it.

Worry

Do you have a backup plan for your backup plan because you just know that something’s going to go wrong? Do you think through all of the possible scenarios that end badly so you can “be prepared”?

Why do we do this to ourselves? It’s just another waste of energy! Life takes enough work as it is. Jesus told his followers,

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Matthew 6:34

And I say amen to that!

Excitement

Are you the type that shouts to a new year, “Bring it on!”? Are you psyched about all of the possibilities it holds?

Well, praise God! Your unbending trust in his perfect plan unfolding as you journey through this adventure called life is a gift in itself. Thank Him for it!

Friends, emotions are not bad. They are indicators of what’s going on inside our hearts and minds. Taking time to read the signs and understand what they’re communicating is just one step toward emotional health.

Important Resources

I can’t leave out the close relationship between physical health and emotional health. If you’re struggling, ask yourself a few important questions:

  • Are you getting the rest you need?
  • Are you drinking enough water?
  • Are you getting enough exercise?
  • Are you eating the right foods?

If any one of these resources is lacking, it will affect your mood and energy levels. If you have a combination of these needs not being met adequately, there will be a definite effect on how you feel! Start today to make any improvements in these areas that are necessary.

I am not a licensed counselor by any stretch of the imagination. If you are struggling and need more assistance than this little post provides, please reach out to someone in your area that can help you overcome the emotional obstacles you face. There is good life waiting to be lived!

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light'” (Matthew 11:28-30).

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