I held it in as long as I could-until I couldn’t.
When my husband came in and said he was fixing the kids lunch, he asked if I wanted anything. He offered soup…beef and barley. After over two decades of marriage, he still didn’t know that I hate smoked foods and I hate barley.
That was when I lost it.
I started to cry. You know the kind-the ugly cry. He, of course, couldn’t figure out why. Here he was offering to make me lunch and I was crying.
It wasn’t about the lunch. It was about being let down by my expectations again.
My joy had certainly been deflated again that Christmas.
I remember it like it was just days ago.
Days after Christmas I was in a puddle of tears because things had not played out the way I had expected:
- gifts I labored to find and buy were received a generic luke-warm, “Thanks,” rather than expressions of surprise and enthusiastic gratitude;
- smoked ham was the substitute for the much anticipated and longed-for roasted turkey breast for Christmas dinner;
- broken gifts that didn’t work were received rather than the lesser expensive but more highly desired gifts that were requested.
- And to top it off? The house is filled with the clutter of torn wrappings and decorations waiting to be returned to their rightful storage, while the items on my to-do list remained there with nothing to show for several days off from work.
Where had I gone wrong? Unfortunately, that wasn’t the first year this type of scenario had played out in my mind and in my heart.
I could trace the root to a couple of factors.
First and foremost, as much as we talk about it,
A little less-so this year than some years past, but still I had put more emphasis on the buying and wrapping, and baking and serving, than on the birth, ministry, and love of the new-born king.
The second factor that has a big impact on whether or not we experience the post-holiday blues, is the degree to which we have other things to look forward to. With Christmas behind us, and the event which has had such intense focus in our minds, in our schedules, and in our wallets for several months, there is apt to be a let-down without a new focus.
I had vaguely considered my focus for the next year, but had not given it high enough priority, planning, or forethought. So when Christmas was over and I was left with only the clean-up and nothing on the horizon to direct my attention toward, I found myself in a heap of tears and self-pity.
If you are struggling with the post-holiday blues, I encourage you to consider what your next focus will be.
For example, how will you show Christ’s love more deeply this next year? How will you grow closer to God in your spiritual walk? How will you create time to connect with your family more regularly in the coming year? What will you do to improve your physical health?
Great post! Love the idea of post-Christmas blues. I’ve experienced this before…but not this year!
So glad to hear you didn’t experience it this year. I’d love to hear if you did something differently this year. Blessings!
This is awesome! I am often harried during the holidays but am upbeat when they are over. I fall prey to the wrong focus at Christmastime and try to do better every single year.
I’m sure God is pleased by your efforts to readjust your focus each year back to Him! Blessings to you for an even better 2015!
This is great food for thought. I do as well too often make CHRISTmas about anything but. This is a great reminder for every day, when I sometimes make it about things and not about Him and family.
Melanie, you make a beautiful point that each and every day should be about Him and His business. He will help us with that if that is our heart’s desire!
I found a long time ago that usually when I am feeling upset about the way something turned out it is because of whatever expectation I had built up in my mind over it. It can still get me down sometimes if I don’t catch myself in time. This year was a big example of that over the holidays for me, but I tried to refocus on the positives that were going on and of course remember the real reason for Christmas after all.
KC, you hit upon a real truth – that so often our upsets are tagged to unmet expectations. But when our focus is on the real reason for Christmas, it releases others and us from expectations.
Thanks for your honesty, Dr. Michelle. My husband is totally clueless about what I might like but I came to terms with it years ago in our marriage. I know it doesn’t mean he loves me any less. I always buy myself a book or two that I want and put it under the tree for him. Often on Chr Eve, he will say sheepishly, “Did you get something for yourself from me for tomorrow?” LOL. It does however make me scratch my head that he truly doesn’t know that I LOVE birds so a calendar with birds would be perfect! I still have my calendar though. I got a free one for 2014 from a store and this year they were out of them. So I cut out all the bird photos and taped them to a 2015 calendar so I could still have my bird calendar. LOL. Love to you, Amy
Amy, you are precious, and so is your vulnerability in sharing. You and I both know it really isn’t about the gifts we receive. But the commercialism of the holidays frequently lends to a pang (or two) of disappointment because somehow we equate that with being loved, or cared for, or accepted, or known. The good news is that Jesus loves us, cares for us, accepts us unconditionally, and knows us intimately every day of the year!
That’s a really good idea – to focus on what’s next rather than what is going wrong. Our 2 weeks were good, but there was too much consumption and laziness, and not enough focus and giving. I also think it was better than years past, but not where it could be.
This side of heaven if you are able to say it was better than in years past, you’re doing good. We will never be where it should be this side of heaven, but will always have room for improvement. And now we can make a concerted effort at keeping our focus on Him each day. So glad you stopped by!
So many people I know are struggling with this. Thank you for sharing!!
Many are struggling – exactly the reason I’m offering the webinar…to provide help and hope. Feel free to share!
Thank you for sharing your experience – the expectation of “perfect” has been a significant issue for me also…
This year was a mess – after our plans to gather as a family in Florida were cancelled… we traveled to Canada to celebrate with our aging parents. Then I got sick. A cold/flu.
My husband celebrated in various places, enjoyed fellowship with our friends and family, and brought home a “plate” for the sickie (me) from each event. Eight days later, we returned to our home, and I had seen a total of three people and two bedrooms. 🙂 I guess I could have been more disappointed, but I think I was too sick to even be upset!
The whole time was so absurd that I’ve just mentally shrugged my shoulders, and given the experience to God.
After the absurdity of Christmas 2014, “just” focusing on Christ’s birth is going to feel like the perfect solution in years to come.
I’m so sorry you were struck down with that nasty stuff going around! Absolutely miserable. But you did the absolute best thing by shrugging it off and giving it to God! If we can give each day to God, we will have a whole year of days with the right focus and an entirely fulfilling experience!
I like one part of your cure…to have something to look forward to. It makes perfect sense!!
Thanks Cheryl! It’s always nice to have you visit. Here’s to looking forward to a bright and blessed 2015!
I have the blues briefly each year after Christmas because I hate taking down the decoration. The house looks so empty sad minus all of the beautiful decorations. Then I get over it. Having something to look forward to has always helped me to get over it but I do understand that some people struggles are deeper. Your seminar sounds like a good idea.
I used to suffer post holiday blues a lot but like you mentioned I now try to remember the real joy of the holidays. It works.