Isaiah 9:6 - For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
As we walk into the holiday season, for some instead of being jolly, they find themselves drenched in depression.
Bright lights don’t cause you to walk into the light of joy. Popcorn and bringing out Hallmark movies may not cause you to feel nostalgic, especially if you don’t have many happy memories. And evenings by the fireplace don’t warm you inside, but leaving you out in the cold.
Perhaps you empty-nested this year and don’t have your kids around to enjoy all of the preparations for Christmas, so you put aside the ornaments and tinsel and don’t even bother to put up a tree.
Perhaps you’re single and have no one to attend get-togethers with and so you stay home rather than face all the smiling faces of couples.
And perhaps you already suffer from chronic depression and the holidays just plunge you deeper into a darkening world.
What can we do to help us enjoy Christmas instead of being depressed about it? Find some tips, such as plan your holiday schedule ahead of time, forget about making everything perfect, and how to avoid family conflict in the article, “11 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Depression Triggers,” on health.com.
Now that you’ve discovered some ways to help exchange depression for the gift of Christmas, we can find the wonder all over again and receive joy to light up our hearts and lives.
Job 30:15 - Terrors overwhelm me; my dignity is driven away as by the wind, my safety vanishes like a cloud.
All of us at one time or another feel overwhelmed; some more than others.
Those who have a stressful job feel it every day when faced with constant decisions to make, bosses to please and deadlines to meet.
Those who live in a large city are faced with fighting your way to get to work on time, fighting to feel safe in your environment and fighting fear of feeling alone while surrounded by so many.
Those who have young children are faced with trying to balance child rearing with a job, or if you have more than one child you can feel overwhelmed trying to keep up with all you have to do each day and trying to keep your sanity.
However, as stressful as these circumstances are there are others who have their stressors with them through each moment of the day.
When you battle emotional pain it is easy for you to feel overwhelmed by every little thing, whether it’s your job, living in a large or small city or raising children everything is set on high on your emotional stove. And when a big thing comes along you can feel powerless and feel you have no control of your life. This in turn can lead to fear that you will lose hold of your emotions.
Read the articles from Huffington Post, “How to let go of Overwhelm,” and from Healthy Place, “Stop Feeling Overwhelmed and Take Control of Your Life,” to learn signs you might be overwhelmed and ways to stop the feeling.
Feeling overwhelmed is going to come against you at one time or another. Don’t let it terrorize you like the Bible verse above alludes to. Find your safety instead of letting it vanish. Try using one or more of the steps from the articles above. Then you will regain your dignity and will be better able to decrease the times that you feel overwhelmed.
Job 4:14 - Fear and trembling seized me and made all my bones shake.
Fear Factor. Do you remember that show? Each week new participants would face their worst fear. From sitting in a bathtub of bugs to standing on top of a tall building the show filmed the participant in the face of their extreme fear. So what was the reason behind the show? It was thought that once you faced your fear you would no longer be held captive by it.
Can that be applied to our everyday life as well, but not in such extreme measures? I believe it can.
What are you afraid of?
A certain amount of fear is healthy for our physical protection like being aware of threats around you. A healthy fear can be a fear of:
A healthy fear is indeed good for us, but how do we let go of our fear of things that we don’t need to be afraid of and walk in freedom instead? Find some ideas from the article, “Five Things We Can Learn from Facing Fears,” on lifehack.org.
Now that you know ways to help disperse your fears, go ahead and take the chance. You may be surprised at just how freeing it can be. Then fear won’t leave you trembling and your bones shaking. Trust yourself and trust God to help you follow through and seize the day instead of letting your fears seize you.
Jeremiah 32:40 - I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.
I sometimes wonder if what I’ve experienced in life - the hardships, the disappointments, the wrong turns will start influencing me to give up. Why try with the track record I have, right?
But it’s our experiences, whether good or bad, that make up who we are. It’s all about the path we’ve been walking and believe it or not, what’s happened in your past isn’t a waste.
So how can what I’ve gone through not be a total washout? Use it to inspire others to not give up. Lifehack.org in their article, “10 Amazing Things Happen When you Inspire Others with Your Experiences,” explain what can happen when you share your experiences, such as you'll heal the broken parts of yourself and you'll hold yourself accountable.
Life is full of setbacks and turnarounds. What you do with your experiences is up to you. And remember, that inspiration you have to give to the world doesn’t just have to rise up from inside you. That might be exhausting. The Bible verse above says that God will be the one to inspire you. And with God giving you the gentle push you need, you’ll influence your world with each step you take. Don’t give up!
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.