I want to write a quick post to give a heads-up to the many men who are striving for freedom from sexual integrity issues. The holidays typically impact us in ways we don’t realize and the result is often to crash and burn. So I want alert you to a few key things that hopefully will help you.
First, holiday stress is normal. Not that it is right or should be there, but it typically is. So realize your stress is impacting you. It may be about the money and how you’ll pay off Christmas. It could be about hosting people, or about having to be “on” when folks are around. Perhaps it is stress from traveling. It could even be relational stress because you and your spouse disagree on things this time of year. Realize stress is impacting you and talk with your accountability partners & God about it.
Second, realize that family factors matter. If you are going to be around parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws or outlaws you have to acknowledge that they impact you. If there is trauma or wounding from your family of origin, be on guard for triggers. Protect your heart from them and stay connected relationally with safe people. If you know your crazy Uncle Albert only wants to talk politics with you so he can get under your skin, avoid the conversation! Maintain emotional sobriety this holiday.
Also, with family, be aware of the roles you take on. It is not uncommon for grown men who are husbands and fathers to take on a child role when they get around their parents. There is typically a well oiled family machine, and every cog has its position and role to play. At the least that role is often inauthentic and at worst it can be extremely dysfunctional. Stay true to who God is calling you to be.
Next, no “last-hurrah”. Many men do this. They plan to quit their addiction come the new year, but the addict inside urges them to get in one last binge. Don’t do it! You’ll just hate yourself that much more. If you’re planning on quitting in January, then start NOW. Fight the urge to get one last look.Tell your accountability partners and alert them if you feel the pull.
Finally, do something different. Be someone different than normal. Get out of your comfort zone this year. If you typically pig out and then watch the games, change it up. Be the first one in the kitchen to do dishes this year. If you typically avoid the kids that day then get down on the floor and play with them. If your tendency is to have shallow, empty conversations with family maybe its time to take it deeper. Volunteer to pray for the meal. Recycle instead of throwing all the wrapping paper away. Shovel snow from your neighbors sidewalk that morning. Somehow, get outside yourself and your normal mode of operating.
I hope this holiday brings you excitement and thankfulness. And I hope you enter the new year confident that you were authentically you, standing for integrity and character.