Stopping Toxic Thoughts During the Holidays (Part 2) - I Do Every Day - November 18, 2020

Stopping Toxic Thoughts During the Holidays (Part 2)
By Laura Way

Yesterday, we talked about how toxic thoughts can easily invade our minds—and marriages—this time of year.

Yes, the holidays can somehow bring out the worst in us. But here are two more ways to stop toxic thoughts from coming between you and your love.

1. Re-imagine your expectations.
Often, toxic thought patterns surface during the holidays when we have unrealistic expectations. Before the holidays are fully upon us is a great time to evaluate those expectations. Are we expecting ourselves, our spouse, the ambiance, and the weather to be “practically perfect in every way”? Or a dreadful disappointment?

Identify these self-made demands and re-imagine the possibilities. Things might go wrong, but we choose how we respond. They can be opportunities to marinate in self-pity, discontentment, and bitterness or opportunities to receive (and extend) God’s tender grace, forgiveness, comfort, and love.

2. Return to your knees.
There’s no use in sugar-coating it—the holidays can be challenging. Some of our deepest pains, losses, and fears have a way of coming out of our careful hiding to be featured prominently like an ugly Christmas sweater. Even the past hurts from our marriage can surface.

None of us want to wear that uncomfortable sweater. But we can wear our truest selves with God. It’s His love, acceptance, and delight our souls crave at their deepest level. As you breathe in His grace this holiday season, offer your toxic thoughts to Him in prayer.

Even if the focus of our giving thanks this year winds up being solely that Jesus understands our sorrows, isolation, being misunderstood, running up against the brokenness around us—then may connecting with Him be a gift we are willing to receive this year.

It’s hard to be grateful when life’s hard. Read more in “How Can I Be Thankful When My World’s a Wreck?”

The Good Stuff: I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you." (Psalm 16:2)

Action Points: What expectations do you have this year that might be a bit out of touch with reality? Find time with your spouse to talk over holiday expectations and where you each may need to cut back to keep a healthy balance.

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