Contributor: Ryan Moffat, BS in Bible and Theology from Multnomah University. Pastor of Vast Church.
Stress of the Holidays
“Just have fun, this whole evening is costing a fortune”
The words flew out of my mouth before I had thought them through, it was shameful, pathetic and definitely the wrong thing to say to my 4 kids (ages 11, 9, 4 and 2).
Granted they were being annoying, selfish, rude and difficult but no matter how bad things got on our family outing verbally accosting my four kids was a bad move.
Part of the disappointment came because of all the expectations we had put on the night; dinner out with the whole family, ice cream together, etc. I mean we went “all out” so when the kids didn’t respond with gratitude and thankfulness I was definitely pushed over the edge.
I think this narrative accurately describes so many of the family gatherings (especially the holiday gatherings) that we will undoubtedly attend this wonderful holiday season. What should be fun, exciting, loving and awesome can often become ugly, difficult, painful and stressful.
It’s hard enough with our immediate family so once you talk about blended families and multiple Christmas dinner’s to hit you begin thinking of the stress more than the joy. What was supposed to be fun suddenly becomes overwhelming. What do you do?
Ideas for Blended Families
A few ideas for integrating, engaging and enjoying your blended families this holiday season:
#1 – Pro-actively work your schedule out so you know where you will be, who you’ll be with and when you will be there so you’re not scrambling to make EVERYONE happy at the same time! A little bit of planning can go a LONG way!
#2 – Don’t try to make everyone happy in one big happy celebration!
I’ve heard way too many horror stories of blended families trying to get all 8 sets of grandparents together, all 4 sets of parents, and all other loved ones, significant others and cousins to the same celebration so they can maximize the party.
It seems that it’s usually a bad move to try and pull that off. Schedule your time with the appropriate people in the in the appropriate environment and love the people you get the opportunity to engage with.
#3 – Be realistic about what you can and cannot do! The response; “No, we cannot make it this year” is an acceptable response to an invitation. You are a human being with limitations and the sooner you embrace those limitations the sooner you might enjoy your holiday season!
May this holiday season be filled with joy, love, peace and rest. Instead of verbally berating those you love the most may you use your words, your love and your life to shine brightly the presence of Jesus!
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
What steps do you take during the holidays to balance addiction and family stress? Do you plan our your holiday parties and visits?
About the Author: Ryan received his BS in Bible and Theology and a minor in counseling from Multnomah University. He has pastored students, families and is passionate about Christ-centered recovery and healing.
He’s been married to his beautiful wife Michelle for 13 years and they enjoy raising four crazy, unique and special kids together. Ryan is the teaching pastor at Vast Church in Sisters, OR and is currently working on his Masters in Theology at Western Seminary in Portland, OR
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