Enjoying Thanksgiving Even If THAT Relative Comes

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Are you looking forward to Thanksgiving or secretly dreading spending time with a certain person who’ll be there?

The Holidays mean family gatherings and that can create its own special brand of stress.
Let’s face it, there’s one, at least one relative,
in almost every family that tracks in drama when they cross the threshold.
Old grievances, personality conflicts, real and imagined hurts, even unpaid loans can trigger ill will when the whole family gets together.

 

You’ve tried, but being with them sets your teeth on edge and makes you volunteer to wash dishes rather than sit around talking to them.
And so you feel guilty and full of dread at the same time.
You just know this means you are a bad person and your own mother is secretly ashamed of you.

Well, there’s hope.

This year things can be different.
You can be different.

Barring a miracle they won’t be different.  They’ll be the same or worse.
But you, you are going to plan to be full of sweetness and light.

How you ask?
First you have to suit up.
You can’t just show up with your candied yams and Jello salad and think a few happy thoughts.

No, you have to lay the groundwork for peace and goodwill.

Start by forgiving them for any offense.

Forgiving means you’re surrendering your right to feel wounded, insulted, or angered.
It also means you quit remembering the incident, the words, or the cash they haven’t paid back.
Let it all go.
You don’t have to be vindicated, placated, or reimbursed.
You do have to get free and that means you have to forgive and forget.

 

In Amy Carmichael’s little spiritual jewel called If she writes this:

If I say, “Yes, I forgive, but I cannot forget,”
as though the God,
who twice a day washes all the
sands on all the shores of all the
world,
could not wash such memories
from my mmd,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

 

 

Love lets go of hurt.
It doesn’t feed it, rehearse it, and share it.
Love covers a multitude of sin.

Here’s how to forget.

Begin to let your heart be washed of the old hurt.
God loves to do this for us. His love is a cleansing stream with healing powers.
Then think about that person ~ without allowing any negative thought to surface and make it back on to that pristine shore.
Now pray for them by name.
Lift them up to God.
Call down blessings from Him on their life.

And find something praiseworthy in them to dwell on.  (Philippians 4:8)

Begin today, won’t you?

Tomorrow we’ll talk more about ‘suiting up’ for the big event.

18 Comments on “Enjoying Thanksgiving Even If THAT Relative Comes

  1. ha! very cool posts and we have a couple that are known for drama… ha! and here is to suiting up!! ❤ 🙂

    • Hello and welcome! You know we spend so much time and energy on food and decorating I thought maybe a little personal spiritual prep might help us enjoy the day and our own families.

  2. Thank you for the reminder Kelly. I am actually in need of this, not for thanksgiving but for tomorrow. It is amazing to me that I can forgive, over and over again, but there is something about being in the presence of that person that brings it all flooding back. I think the trick may be that when I am in his presence, instead, view it as being in HIS presence….gonna work on that imagery today!~

    • These principles work for any and all holidays and events when families get together! Calmer is good, you’re on your way to experiencing the freedom of forgiveness that makes way for joy.

      • My trip to Botswana was amazing. I wish it was longer but the main thing is we got to see people get ministered to…..it was really humbling to see! I can’t wait till I go back…..😃

    • That’s true Sue.
      I was hoping to share a way to move past ‘the emotional response to an old offense getting in the way of a fresh interaction’ with that person. When we recall or worse, rehearse old injuries we generate fresh emotional pain for ourselves. Forgetting can be purposeful and intentional. I’ve done it myself in order to restore fractured relationships with family or close friends. The other factor is the healing that God brings to us and hopefully to the relationship with the individual.
      Knowing your heart and experience I know you’ve practice forgiveness. In the areas you deal with in the support group I’m not sure that further personal contact is encouraged. Is it? I confess that isn’t the kind of offense I was addressing, but it is sadly a reality for far too many. Thanks for taking the time to comment, it opened my eyes to a broader range of experience.
      God bless you Sue.

      • Hi Kelly: Your intent did not get past me but so many tend to think that because we forgive we also are to forget or it automatically brings about amnesia. That’s why I said what I did. In many cases I think the “forgetting” tends more to be ignoring the past offense or making a conscious effort not to let it interfere. Personal contact is not always the wise decision. I think it depends on the offense and the people involved. Relationships can be restored depending on the circumstances involved. Some relationships should not be restored; destructive and/or abusive, for example. I know that isn’t what you had in mind, or didn’t think you did. I think your post was geared more to what I might call “minor” offenses. I address “forgetting” in my June post, “A Wasted life…or was it?”
        I didn’t realize you follow the support group. Thank you. I appreciate that. Blessings to you.

      • Thanks Sue, I’ll check out the June post. You’re right that I was addressing the more minor offenses, but I do sincerely appreciate you bringing this to my attention. Five books? Wow, I’m impressed 😉 Keep up the good work.

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