Survive or Thrive?
Here it comes again. Christmas is here and you’re still single. Instead of just muddling through it and barely surviving another holiday season, this year start learning to thrive.
That Time of Year
‘Tis the Season – for romancing and coupling up. I remember when I was young, just barely, ’cause it’s been a few decades, but I do remember. Christmas was a time of fun, anticipation, and the point around which the entire kid universe revolved. There may have been a few moments of greed, envy, or selfishness, but it was pretty much a time of innocence, excitement, and wonder.
Then came puberty – and the world changed. Suddenly Christmas became a time of unrealistic social and romantic expectations. In my imagination, my holiday plans danced brilliantly like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but in real life, they sort of just stumbled and staggered around aimlessly like zombies.
It got better when I finally got married and had children. But, then came the divorce. Suddenly the holidays loomed ahead of me like horror-days – like the ones from my teen years, but worse. Instead of merely not dancing or wandering aimlessly like the undead, the holidays were glaring at me menacingly like some movie villain brandishing a cattle prod.
Then things changed. Through a program called DivorceCare, I learned to cope with my new situation better. Through a course I believe was titled Surviving the Holidays, I learned to handle the holidays better. And, through connecting with other singles in a singles group, I gained some support that helped me begin to thrive – even during the holidays.
So, if you are struggling during the holiday season, let me recommend a few things you can do that helped me not only survive but thrive in the Christmas Season.
Part of a Group
Even with my introverted nature, the biggest thing I did to start thriving was to become part of a group. I know there are a lot of dysfunctional singles groups out there, but there are some really good ones too. It’s like dating, you may have to go through a few bad ones before you find one that you click with.
Start with your church. If it doesn’t have a good, healthy singles ministry, look around. Look at other church singles groups in your area. Or, even look at ones you may have to travel a bit to participate in. It’s worth driving a few miles to be a part of a healthy, supportive group.
Maybe you could be the one to start a group after you’ve been in a good one for a while and learned how to thrive yourself. Or, maybe you could just connect informally with a few healthy single friends in your area.
Books, Programs, Courses
Another important thing I did was to invest time and effort into learning how to be emotionally healthy. The programs I mentioned before and numerous books and courses helped me to get my mind right.
There are people out there who have been through divorces and been through holidays as singles. Some of them have come up with great, healthy ways of dealing with these things. Take the time to learn from their experiences.
One of the smart things I did after my divorce was to remain in my church’s music ministry. As I mentioned above, being part of a group is really helpful, but being part of a group that focuses on a good common cause is even better.
So, join a ministry team at your church. Go help out at a food bank. Tutor kids after school. There are so many ways you can help other people. In doing so, you take your eyes off of your struggles and focus on other people for a while.
The Reason for the Season
Of course, one of the best things you can do to thrive during the Holidays is to remember that Someone loves you so much that He took on human form and experienced life as one of us. He knows what it is like to suffer betrayal and loneliness. He even knows what it is like to be single long-term. To truly thrive, put some Holy in your holidays – put Christ in your Christmas.
One word of caution: be careful about the groups you attend, the books you read, and the programs and causes you participate in. They are not all created equal. Make sure you do not get involved in classes or groups that tend to sit around and commiserate about how terrible single life is and how bad every person of the opposite sex is.
Those will help you – go from bad to worse. To thrive during the holidays, seek out positive, uplifting, healthy friends and groups to be a part of.
One other word of caution: don’t let a few bad experiences discourage you from finding a good group to hang around with. Like I said before, it’s like dating, you may have a few bad experiences before you strike gold. I promise you, it will be worth the effort when you find the right people to hang around with.
If you find a good group you will thrive because you will help each other through all the crazy ups and downs of single life – especially during the holidays.
Different This Year
If the holidays have been a rough time for you, try something different. Join a group. Take a class. Read some books. Help some people. Learn to thrive this year.
Also, if you missed it, go back and see my post about H.A.L.T.ing Holiday Blues from last holiday season.
Til next week, Merry Christmas!
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