They say it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but for many people, the holidays can be busy, stressful, and can result in feelings of anxiety, worry, and despair.
I see so many women fall apart trying to create the perfect holiday—regardless of how many people will be around the table.
This year, I just want to encourage you as you dig out those dusty decorations from the attic, call friends and relatives to make holiday plans, and create a never-ending to-do list, take a deep breath, and reboot.
It’s not about creating the “perfect” holiday; it’s about choosing an attitude of peace in any situation, so you can have a joyful holiday season.
Here are a few ways you can let go of the perfect holiday!
1. Rejoice in life’s imperfect moments.
A great way to manage holiday stress is to resist the urge to create a “perfect” holiday.
Perfection isn’t something God expects from you, so why would you expect it from yourself?
There are always going to be things that go right and things that go wrong. Good holiday experiences depend on realistic expectations! You have to be willing to react to any situation with a peaceful heart.
Will family and friends remember whether or not they received your perfect Christmas card?
Will anyone remember you slaving away in the kitchen to make the perfect pumpkin pie?
The answer is no. All your family, friends, and loved ones will remember is YOU. They will remember spending time with you and feeling the warmth of your love.
This holiday season, all that is required of you is to love others.
When you set a standard of perfection, your kids feel pressure to be “on” all of the time. Letting go and accepting whatever comes your way with a peaceful spirit will teach your children to do the same. Some of my best memories with my kids were when we laughed our way through the messy times.
Don’t let the desire to control every outcome steal your faith in what God brings about in your life. Rejoice in life’s imperfect moments!
Those moments remind us how much we need God’s perfect grace. In fact, the holidays are an annual reminder of the fact that we needed a perfect Savior to be the sacrifice for our imperfect sin.
2. Remember you can’t please everyone.
No one wants to disappoint other people. I see so many women fall apart when they try to create the perfect holiday for other people instead of focusing on the real reason for the season. In our attempts to make everything perfect for everyone else, we lose ourselves.
I love this advice from author Cheryl Richardson:
“If you want to live an authentic, meaningful life, you need to master the art of disappointing and upsetting others … living with the reality that some people just won’t like you. It may not be easy, but it’s essential if you want your life to reflect your deepest desires, values, and needs.”
We can’t please everyone! Guess what? That’s okay! God never asked us to!
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
—Galatians 1:10 (NIV)
People-pleasing leads us down a road of obligation. It steals the joy and peace out of serving and doing nice things for others. When we do things for others from a heart of love, joy and peace will guard our hearts.
Choose love over perfection today.
Let go of the “stuff,” and enjoy the people! Whether you’re spending the day with immediate family, in-laws, or friends, may God’s goodness overwhelm your heart!
3. Trade your perfection for reflection
Don’t just think about getting through the holidays; think about how you are going to enjoy them. Trade-in your worrying for reflection!
Our time on earth is precious, and God wants us to savor every day. But if we are too busy to see our blessings, they feel further and further away. For example, if you feel overwhelmed by holiday tasks or consumed with family drama, stop, breathe, and fix your thoughts on something for which you are grateful.
Philippians 4:8 (NIV) tells us,
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
The enemy loves to drown you in circumstances and watch as seeds of doubt and despair turn into a negative attitude.
I promise you what the enemy is telling you about yourself and what God has in store for you could not be more different!
No matter where you find yourself today, in a moment, God can turn it all around. He did for me, and He will for you too!
Don’t let your circumstances steal your peace! Our God is not the God of circumstances; He is the God of miracles! When you choose not to dwell on circumstances and instead rely on God’s promises, a positive attitude comes naturally.
Remember, circumstances don’t dictate your happiness; you do!
One of the best ways to overcome holiday stress and perfectionism is by changing what you are thinking about. This holiday season, you can overcome worry and stress by reflecting on God’s faithfulness over the past 12 months and reflecting on your dreams for the new year.
God wants to see you living your dreams; He wants to help you live your better life!
Christmas is not about perfect decorations, or parties, or holiday comfort food; it’s about offering up our gratitude for the greatest present human beings have ever received—salvation!
Go HERE for some beautiful verses about God’s love for us. When a negative thought comes into your mind, speak to it, and cast it down with one of these verses.
I hope this serves as a friendly reminder to all the perfectionists to keep the right perspective during the holidays.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas enjoying the people you love!