I live on what most people jokingly refer to as. "the compound." It's 65 acres in the rolling hills of the Middle TN countryside and is divided up between my family members and a close friend. My son is growing up next door to half of his cousins and in the same home as his grandparents. When people find this out about us, they generally have one of two reactions. Either they gush about how great that would be, or they recoil in horror and tell me they could never ever, ever, EVER live that close to their family.
There's rarely any middle ground.
Being close can exacerbate any issues in relationships. The holidays tend to bring out those issues as well for much the same reasons. Depending how your family relationships are, you'll might be dreading the time spent in close quarters over the holidays. Even if your relationships are healthy, extended time together can strain anyone's patience.
Let's talk about three ways to ease some of the relational stress and bring peace into your relationships this season.
Basically these all fall under the category of. "Yes, it's possible to be an adult and choose your actions and attitudes intentionally."
Choose your own peace. You can't control anyone else. I can't make your crazy relative say any fewer hurtful things. And neither can you.
The only thing you can control is your own response.
Choose peace. Choose to ignore the subtle manipulating, the not so subtle jabs and the outright hostility. Choose to respond in gentle, quiet peace. Choose to give the benefit of the doubt. Choose to walk away if necessary.
Give yourself (and others) an extra measure of grace. I made a remark the other day in a chat conversation about needing to be more organized about getting my giveaway prints shipped, because I'm crazy far behind. And the gal I was talking to made a sympathetic remark about single working mothers always needing more organization.
It stopped me in my tracks.
I'm a single mom. Running a business full time. And running a second one on the side. And producing a weekly podcast and artwork. And coaching my son's Destination Imagination team, running him to piano, art class and scouts and a thousand other things. I tend to forget that. No wonder I don't have time to keep up with all the details, like getting the laundry from the basket into the dresser drawers. And I was able to give myself some grace about those details. In this season especially, there's added stress in everyone's life. Toss grace around like confetti. And remember to let it fall on yourself as well as others.
The people you'll be seeing...focus on enjoying their company now instead of reliving past encounters, old hurts, previous conversations or your own need for something. What if you simply looked past that this season and enjoyed what you can of the present moments.
Be aware, I'm not suggesting you be a doormat, that you suffer abuse or that you ignore your own needs. If you're in that kind of situation, you need more assistance than this article can provide and I strongly suggest getting it.
I'm talking about putting peace in the midst of garden variety problems and those caused by the stresses of the season. And letting that peace simmer between you and all of your relationships.
This week's artwork is a Christmas star. It stands in the center between a background of green on one side and blue on the other. The green and blue represent you and the people you're in relationship with. The star is the peace we need to place in the midst of those relationships. The star is imperfect, it's uneven, it's messy. And it's flawed. Relationships are like that too. But, when lit with the glow of peace, they can shine with beauty despite their imperfections. They're unique and special because of those imperfections.
What if there was peace in your relationships this season?
I wish that for you in the coming days.
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