Giving more deeply of yourself will add meaning to this Holiday Season. Not gifts, but yourself, your time, your presence. (Not presents!)
We can get so caught up in our to-do list at Christmas that we miss out on giving in a more meaningful way. Now I know that this time of year everyone is asking for donations and we should be giving financially to causes that are dear to us.
Giving More Deeply of Yourself
What I am talking about is giving on a deeper level in our connections with family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers. God gave His Son to come to earth and be constrained in a physical body for 33 years, to rebuild a relationship with us that we had broken by our own selfish desires.
The Ultimate Gift
Have you ever considered giving a gift to Jesus by restoring these relationships, just as God sent Jesus to restore his relationship with you?
Could This Be The Real Reason You’re Stressed?
Many people find the holiday season to be full of stress, family strife, disappointments, and depression. Could it partially be due to past hurts and unresolved issues between you and loved ones? How would your life be better if you prayerfully considered who you might invest in to rebuild your relationship, or if you don’t feel any specific relationship stress, how could you enrich a relationship? Resolving relationship issues could reduce a negative mindset.
Reconcile and Restore
I am asking you to consider your relationships with your family–your spouse, children, parents, and siblings. Are there things you need to ask forgiveness for? Are there issues you need to be honest about with someone? Is there an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed and dealt with? Is there someone you need to forgive? Reconciling these relationships will bring rest to your heart. So giving more deeply of yourself will add meaning.
This post will cover our relationship with your parents, and in the next week or so, I will examine other relationships.
No matter what your relationship with your parents might be, it will remain one of the most influential relationships that you are a part of throughout your life. That is why it is important to be giving more deeply of yourself to them. Parents can drive us crazy, but they are often the ones we turn to when we are looking for family history, or to find the missing pieces of ourselves. Whether your relationship with your parents leans towards positive or negative, there are ways you can enhance the relationship. Here are a few of them.
Showing your parents respect doesn’t mean doing everything they advise you to do or tolerating wrong behaviors. It means honoring them simply because of their position. This is the only one of The Ten Commandments to include a blessing for obeying it! To do this, all you need is to show them love and treat them with kindness and consideration that you would anyone else.
Sometimes that can be tough, because of past issues, but make the effort anyway, because then you can be at peace knowing you did everything you could on your part.
They Cared For You
Your parents likely made plenty of sacrifices to see you succeed. No parent is perfect, but if your parents took care of you and helped you grow into the amazing adult you are today, remember it. Don’t forget about the good times just because you may be having a disagreement at the moment. Sometimes a deeper look into their past will open your eyes.
Do You Know What Baggage They Bring From Their Childhood?
We live in a broken world. Your parents were also raised by imperfect parents just like you were. They may be frugal because they lived through tough times that you know nothing about. There may have been an unwillingness for their parents to accept your parent’s choice of spouse.
Ask them what their childhood was like, and what prompted them to make the decisions they did when they were young. You will be amazed at the stories you uncover. I understood so much more about my father once I learned more about his childhood. Picturing him as a child transformed my view of him in many ways. It opened up my ability to give more deeply on an emotional level by understanding some of his childhood pain.
Learn from Their Wisdom
If your parents have the wisdom to give, then receive it. Remember that they’ve known you longer than you’ve known yourself. They’ve had more experience dealing with life, so allow their wisdom guide you. They’ve learned from more mistakes than you’ve made yet. One thing is certain they don’t want you to suffer if they can help you avoid it. (I’m not talking about co-dependency here. That’s an entirely different situation.)
Spend Time With Them
Did you know that by the time you graduated from high school, you have already spent 93% of the time you will have with your parents in your lifetime! Now that is something to think about! Don’t forget about your parents just because your life is busy. Now that my daughters are grown, I miss the times when they were all at home together, and your parents likely feel the same about you. So continue to nurture this important relationship as you and your parents age together. You will always value this special time. My dad passed away suddenly with absolutely no warning at age 62. You never know when it will be too late! Live today so you have no regrets tomorrow.
Encourage the Relationship Between Your Children and Your Parents
There is nothing more important than building a link between all the generations in a family. Spend extended time together with your parents and children.
Some of our best family times are when we stay at my mom’s camp. Waking up and gathering around the kitchen table over coffee is beyond heartwarming.
As the grandchildren come down one by one, they climb up on someone’s lap and join in the conversation. Build an appreciation for the older generation within your children.
Encourage your parents to share stories about when they were kids or funny things that happened to them even as adults.
Remember, how you treat your parents is how your children are learning to treat you, and they will learn well when you are intentional. Your parents will also see and will appreciate your efforts. I’m am seeing this realized in my mother-in-law’s life right now. Her children are doing exactly as she taught them in caring for her mother-in-law.
Recognize Their Intentions
Recognize that although your parents surely made many mistakes, as all parents do, that most likely they were doing what they thought was best for you. So show them grace. Believe that your parents love you, and then do your best to work out your differences.
I know that I have made comments that completely misconstrued my intent, and caused needless pain. My heart aches when I do that. But Fortunately, I have family members who are fast forgivers. I thank God for that. And I need to improve that quality in myself.
Giving of Yourself Blesses You Both.
All in all, relationships with parents can be complicated. There is always room for growth, and there are many ways to nurture and make the most of this relationship. Do what you can and watch your friendship with your parents grow as naturally as it began. Enjoy the blessing giving deeper meaning to your relationship with your parents.
Another very important relationship is the one we have is with our partner. We will look at how to make the most of that relationship next time.
The Unexpected Benefit of Giving
In this way, you could give on a deeper level this Christmas, and even more, you may be astonished at what you receive by doing this!
Essentially you will be giving peace on earth and goodwill to your fellow man!
Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
How will you be giving more deeply of yourself?