Holiday Stress – Turkey and Stressing
...is what too many people experience during a time that could be so much better. Hopefully, gathering for the holidays is a wonderful, warm and blessed time for most families. But for too many others, it is nothing but "turkey and stressing", because of so many unresolved family issues.
You can't talk about the problems for fear of creating more stress. Instead of wanting to be together and enjoy the time, you fear getting together.
When families get together, all of the family history arrives. And, for too many families - maybe yours - that's bad, since holiday stress is part of the package. It's really difficult for those families when unresolved problems are the giant "elephant in the room".
One of the 4 common relationship mistakes is "keeping the past in the present" and that agitates and irritates family members creating "ME" flashing moments. Family members "walk on eggshells", afraid of saying the wrong thing, because it might "make someone mad". All of that just increases the stress of being together. "Turkey and stressing" anyone?
Be A Catalyst for Good
Relationships work BEST when people resolve issues rather than letting them fester into painful sores. Or, if issues aren't resolved from both sides, they certainly can be from your side. You can move away from holiday stress even if the rest of the family doesn't.
How? By being a catalyst for change. A "catalyst" is defined as
an agent that speeds up change and does not get conformed or changed in the process.
Note the two parts of that definition 1) speeds up change, 2) not conformed or changed.
Jesus is the ultimate catalyst. When He was in a situation, people either changed positively or become sad or mad at Jesus. But, in no case did the situation ever change Jesus.
Look at every conversation or interaction He had with people and He never changed His values or perspective on why He was involved with them. And, He NEVER made anyone change! He only shared the truth in love and gave them the opportunity to choose to change. And, He did NOT pout or get mad when someone ignored what He said.
It Starts With You!
If you want to be a CATALYST for change in your relationships, don't try to change anyone other than YOURSELF. Holiday stress is built on the foundation of "should, ought and must"! "They should be acting differently!" or "shouldn't be acting that way!" That thinking focuses your attention on their behavior rather than yours. Maybe they "should" be doing things differently, but REALITY is they aren't right now. How about doing what God says, trusting Him to live through you in spite of their behavior!!
Decide that you will be a REAL person, not wearing a mask nor trying to use the truth as a hammer. Consider the following questions to PREPARE yourself to be a catalyst. Next you can use the CATALYTIC Conversation approach (see the post next week).
"How am I making this (issue, problem) about ME?" Unresolved issues almost always have one or all parties "flashing their ME". The initial step to being a Godly catalyst is to decide to "pursue the best for others".
"Am I willing to trust God or myself?" If you aren't willing to trust God and His ways, then enjoy the pain and stress. God has provided all of the answers on how to deal with life and be a godly person (2 Peter 1:3) that pursues the best for those around them.
"Do I need to forgive or confess?" If forgiving, let it go, then start praying blessing and peace upon those who wronged you. Review the 7 steps in course 08c (Freedom From Resentments, Bitterness and Grudges) for more help. When you forgive, then you are no longer controlled by their bad behavior - you're free to pursue their best when you get together with them. No attitudes, snarky remarks, or bad thinking about them.
If confessing, review the 7 steps in course 08d (Freedom From Real and False Guilt) for more help. Confess to God, then use the 4 A's approach to confess to them.
- Agree that what you did was wrong
- Acknowledge that it hurt them and others
- Admit regret and repentance
- Announce your plan to never do it again
When you decide to be a catalyst and share the truth, it may not make the situation better or make them happy. But, this is not about making you or others better or happy, it is about doing what is best for others. When you are doing that, you are a catalyst to relieve holiday stress.
Jesus did not make the rich young ruler happy, but He shared the truth to give him an opportunity to choose what was BEST.
Now that you have decided to be a catalyst, learn the CATALYTIC Conversation approach coming next week.
GR8 Relationships—Pursuing the BEST in work, in life, in love.
Right Thinking—Right Relationships—Right NOW!!