When the Holidays are Hard

To the girl who wishes the holiday season would simply pass.
To the girl who can’t smile and get into the holiday spirit because of all the memories it brings.
To the girl who lost everything she once thought she could never lose and is alone again during the holidays. 
I see you, I feel your pain. It’s hard. So hard.  
I know what’s it’s like, to put on that fake smile and say you’re okay, but then you are there again, in your bedroom, door closed, as you cry your eyes out. I know that empty broken feeling and longing for what used to be but is no more. Instead of filling you with joy, the holiday season seems to only make that hole in your heart seem wider and emptier.  
If this is you today, this post is for you.  Dear reader, don’t let these feelings overtake you.  Stop, take a deep breath and remind yourself, it’s okay to not feel okay and that this season doesn’t define you.  Your are not the only one feeling this way this holiday season.

When the holiday season is hard, it can be so easy to find ourselves with tunnel vision.  All we see is the joy on other people’s faces contrasted with the pain in our lives. I don’t know what your situation is, but for me, the holiday season this year hasn’t been easy.  It has truly been a struggle for me this year to get into the “holiday spirit” because of all the tough memories and hurts it brings back to my heart.
So, what are we to do when we find ourselves here?  How can we enjoy the holiday season when it’s hard? Well, I have a few simple tips to help when the season is hard and I pray these might just encourage your heart.

Stop comparing

When you see everyone’s happy smiles and posts on Instagram, you are only seeing the outside. You can’t see behind their smiles and into their heart.  You can’t see the inward battles they are facing.  All we tend to see when we look at others is that they have things we want; Happiness, family, relationships… and instantly we begin to feel discontent about the things we have.  The saying is true that comparison ruins contentment.  When the holidays are hard, stop playing the comparison game.  Instead, look to God and realize that he knows you better than you know yourself, and He has chosen this season for you.  A favorite quote of mine from Spurgeon offers such an encouraging view;
“Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there”

Count your blessings 

During this season it can be so easy to focus on all the things we don’t have, or on all the negative feelings we are experiencing.  But even during the hardest of seasons, there is always going to be something we can give thanks for.  When the holidays are hard, look around you and start counting all the good things God has given you in your life. A family, a house, food…  Write it down on a list.  And don’t forget to thank God for the greatest gift of all, that can’t be taken away from us, salvation through Jesus Christ.  That’s what the season is all about!

Know that God loves you 

Lastly, don’t let yourself forget, that even when you feel down, God is still with you.  Remind yourself that God is not unaware of your pain.  God loves you, and sees you, and has a plan for your life. Every tear you cry, He knows. All the tears you cry during this season, are not wasted. This holiday season may be hard, but He is with you and has always been with you.  Hold this truth close to your heart when the days are hard and you need encouragement.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
So, to the girl who feels like the holidays are hard, you’re not alone. God wants to be near to you this holiday season, won’t you let Him in.

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