Topic: Managing stress
Focus: The personality parade
Ephesians 2:17-18 (NKJV) And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
It’s really easy to take on too much and become overwhelmed during any holiday season, and especially at Christmas. In the spirit of ‘goodwill’, we often overextend ourselves, volunteer too much, spend more than we should, and try to be in too many places in the course of a week or two. Probably anyone reading this has had one or all of those experiences this year.
Let’s take a few moments to think about why we try so hard—or if we try enough, shall we? Part of trying hard is good. The giving, the thoughtfulness, the helpfulness are good for us.
It’s good to be selfless in a human sense. What is not good, is when we do these things out of a pattern of repetitious bondage…fulfilling expectations and obligations that God Himself would not require us to do.
Traditions are great, don’t get me wrong. I have a few of my own that I am inclined to do, but let’s hope we don’t inflict too many of our traditions on our children or feel compelled ourselves to do an unreasonable amount of things because our mother or grandmother did and it just wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t do each and every thing they did…along with the traditions we have added to the list…until there is nothing left of us when the day is done.
Christmas brings out the good and bad in people. Those who give, give more. Those who aren’t good at giving might toss the whole celebration out with a spirit of ‘bah humbug’, as a way of getting out of participating…or having anything expected of them.
Besides the ones who give and the ones who don’t, there is another personality that needs to be mentioned, and that is the one who expects unreasonable things from themselves and others. This would also be the person who monitors all of the traditions with a critical eye and takes pleasure in pointing out the flaws and failed attempts of others who may not have done their part as perfectly as might have been expected.
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Some people refer to this personality type as the ‘god complex’; the one who is convinced that they never do any wrong and who thinks their way is the best way and that they know everything. Holidays will bring this personality out in those who have that ‘god complex’ tendency, as they have a perfect opportunity to act out their behavior at gatherings attended by the same basic group of people year after year.
Still one more type of personality that we see emerge more during the holidays, is ‘the martyr’. The one who won’t allow anyone else to help out with the cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping, and coordinating. They have good intentions, but suffer disappointment and discouragement because the responsibility is too large and they are too proud to ask for help.
We could probably go on citing more examples of the various behaviors on display during the time of year that should be filled with wonder and awe because it is the celebration of the birth of the One Who came to bring peace to all personality types.
I don’t know where you fit, as far as being a traditionalist or non-traditionalist—or what personality type you parade as one of your own traditions.
When Jesus was about to be born, His mother was in active labor as she was turned away from the inn where there was no room. Jesus had to be born in a barn with common livestock and laid in a manger to rest from the exhaustion of being birthed.
As we celebrate this Holy occasion, is there any room for the Holy Spirit to come in and offer us new ways of behaving and seeing things? Or are we just so full of ourselves that there is absolutely no room in us for Him to be born in a whole new way?
Let’s be honest about the stress we put on ourselves and others during this important day and live it differently. Let’s let the love of Jesus be born in our hearts again so that He can have all the glory, honor, and praise this Christmas.
Declaration: I will find new strength by contemplating the love and birth of Jesus. I will do what I can to have less stress. If I have been guilty of making others feel that their efforts aren’t good enough, I will repent and change my ways.
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