What To Do When You are Hurting for the Holidays

As I mentioned in my previous article, not everyone has perfect holidays.  Many people are hurting for a variety of reasons.  So today let’s talk about what to do when you are hurting for the holidays.

Let’s talk about WHY you’re hurting:

Have you lost your job this year?  Are you running out of ways to keep your house out of foreclosure?  Are you behind on your bills?  Is you electricity and water shut off?  Can’t afford to eat AND pay your bills?  No money for the presents you think your family or children want?

Dear reader, our God is not a vending machine.  If you have made some bad choices and are now experiencing the costs of the decisions you made, God is not magic and He won’t just magically make money appear out of thin air.  But He IS the King of the universe and the Creator of heaven and earth.  He is omniscient and He CARES for you (I Peter 5:7 says “Cast your cares on Him for He careth for you”).   Like Jesus told his disciples, the birds of the air and the lilies of the field do not worry about their next meal or their clothes, and yet God provides for them, and He will provide for you too.  It may not be what you “want” but I guarantee it will be what you “need.”   Go to the Lord with your financial cares and have faith in His promises.

During this holiday season, remember this is a time of giving…AND RECEIVING, and it is completely okay to allow others the joy of giving to you!  Yes it can be hard to swallow your pride and admit you need help, but there are people who care about you and your family–let them help you.

Are you ill?  Is someone you love ill?  Are you utterly SPENT emotionally and physically just taking care of someone and don’t have the energy to also “celebrate”?  Are you facing death?  Are you afraid?

Dear reader, our God is the Creator of each of one us and He even numbers the hairs on our head  (Matt. 10:30).  He IS the Great Physician and although that doesn’t mean you should stop your medication or stop your treatments, it does mean that our God is more than capable of healing you, emotionally or physically.  We all get older; we all feel the changes as we age and grow more frail; and our lives do end, but in this time of illness or caring for a loved one, our God is a very present help in times of trouble (Ps 46:1).

During this holiday season, remember this is a time of loving, and it is completely okay to love your ill spouse by serving them when they can not pay you back.  It is completely okay to love your own self when you are ill and give yourself time to recuperate…and to only do the holiday things that you can do.  If you can only lie in bed and unwrap presents then so be it…that’s fine.

Are you struggling with personal issues like depression, bipolar mania, or a spouse or child who has mental health issues?  Does this time of year bring up triggers of old hurts such as a loved one passing away or your spouse’s infidelity?

Dear reader, our God is a God of compassion.  Sometimes issues like this can cause guilt or shame that stop a person from praying, and I encourage you to speak out the sorrow of your soul in prayer.  King David wrote in the Psalms: “I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear.  I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done. I lift my hands to you in prayer.  I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.” (Psalm 143:4)  King David was PARALYZED in his pain!  Does this strike a cord with you?  I encourage you to follow King David’s example and bring it to the Lord…as it is…a big, old, blob of painful mess.  God knows you’re having a hard time so don’t try to hide it–be honest.  Come to Him as you are.  But then follow his example further: King David purposefully brings to mind the ways God has helped him in the past.  He takes control of his own thoughts and examines them.  Where he has been believing lies, he changes.

During this holiday season, don’t depend on your spouse or your family to make you happy.  Don’t depend on your church to make you feel welcome or accepted.  Look to the Lord and bring your burdens to Him.  And as a little challenge I would challenge you to reach out to one person…one.  I will bet you that all around you are people just like you who are sad or hurting, who are wishing that someone would notice their pain and reach out in comfort.  If you are wishing someone would notice you and hug you and help…offer that to one other person.  It could be a co-worker, a family member, a neighbor, the “perfect lady” at church, a person in the nursing home down the road, or a homeless person.  Offer to one other person the caring and hug that you wish someone would offer you.

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