I hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter weekend. I will be celebrating Easter by attending church in the morning and then heading over to our cousins to enjoy a fun afternoon of games and good food. I would encourage you to use the Easter season as a time to reflect on the significance of its deeper meaning and what that means for you and your family. Maybe for you though, holidays often trigger unhealthy amounts of stress as you remember painful memories. For this reason, Easter can be the perfect time to renew your love and commitment to those you care about, even if you feel you’ve fallen short in some way. Here are some suggestions for how you can do that.
Seeing kids in their dressy Easter clothes and attending big family parties can be both a joyful time and a difficult one, like most major holidays. Because Easter is all about spring flowers and new life, it tends to make us look over the last year and consider where we’ve been, and where we’ve stumbled. Family gatherings can dredge up both positive and negative memories, and contrasting those with how our lives are going now can be stressful, whether we’re happy with how things are or not. Take some time to sift through the thoughts and emotions that come up at this time of year, so you can decide what you’d like to keep from the last year, and what you can do without. It may be the right time to do some spring cleaning in your own life!
Forgive Your Missteps
No one is perfect. Wow, what a relief. Let me say that again: no one is perfect. In some ways Easter weekend, with all its egg hunts, nicer clothes, and fancy meals, is like watching a movie of our “so-called” real life. The flipside of that idealistic scenery is the stress of dealing with nap-deprived and over-sugared kids when you leave celebrations and start buckling them into the car. Sometimes it can feel like we’re so far away from the parents and people we want to be. But the truth is, you’re not alone. So many people feel that way– but the good news is that God loves us all. So if you are prone to look in the rearview mirror of your life, go easy on yourself, and all the people who have impacted you in some way. Make some “measured” changes, sure, but it is important to set limits where you need to. And also forgive often!
Sometimes holiday struggles can get in the way of us ever reaching that hopeful moment where we see a solution. It’s amazing how much more optimistic we feel when we simply set some goals to improve the areas where we feel we’re falling short. Think it over. What will help you become more of the spouse, parent, or grandparent your family needs, deserves and wants? Focus on that for a moment, come up with one action step and start putting it into practice. No better time to start than NOW!
Did you set some New Year’s Resolutions? Well just as with New Year’s resolutions, it is important to set goals that are manageable. Don’t over promise and under deliver. You should take small steps, and celebrate those successes as you go. For example, if you’ve been feeling impatient with some things going on in your family, plan some alone time during the week so you can get your head on straight. Reread my blogs on dealing with anger, and choose a few specific strategies to try. Then practice them for a while, and see how things go over the next month or two. You should always do your best to set yourself up for success wherever possible.
No matter what feelings or wishes are dredged up by the Easter holiday, take the time to look around and appreciate what you already have. Let yourself enjoy the sunshine, your family, and all the tasty foods. I often look at old pictures when my kids were young and it always brings me a smile. You should look for small moments to be happy about. Let the Easter Sunday sermon fill you with inspiration, and rejoice in being in community with other people of faith. Take heart from the rejoicing at the heart of Easter, and use it to fuel your renewal in the year to come.
Please feel free to share with others!