I have always felt so strongly since I was a new Christian and taught as such--to believe in the spiritual realm that exists all around us that we can't see. I believe if we could only peak for a moment into that realm it would probably be more than we can handle which is maybe why we are not allowed to do so. I don't have an unhealthy obsession with the dark side. I just know you don't mess with it and it's real. Don't discount the evil in this world. But we know Who wins. Sometimes we can get sidelined with what the dark does--and it doesn't help with some of the TV shows and movies that are out there these days--and don't forget the paranormal stuff which, to me is a total waste of time to watch. God is so much bigger than that.
But God calls us to take it seriously because there will be trouble in this world. We are called to be strong, wear our armor, be brave, be courageous and fight the enemy with all our might. Sometimes we feel beaten down mentally with life, circumstances, etc. It may feel difficult to even THINK about putting on any kind of armor. God knows that. He made you before you ever existed. He knew everything about you--your personality, what makes you you. He's never turned His back on you and never will. He can see the hurt and pain, the lack of hope. Do you have a lack of hope right now? Hope is one of the most important gifts God gave us. It can change your life in a moment--IN A MOMENT! There was a time I had lost that hope too. I didn't care about anything or anyone. I didn't care about what happened to me or the pain I might cause anyone. Lack of hope does that to you. It strips everything away to where you are left with nothing. I know that place. Years ago I was in that place 6 times in my life. God was all I felt I had to lean on because who else could help me in my lonely room in a psychiatric ward. I was beaten down. God started changing my circumstances by putting other Christians in my path, literally. My beginning of hope was started to come to life. I knew God was with me. But why Lord? Have you asked God that question--I'm sure you have. My personal answer to that would be that the physiology in everyone is different-their DNA. I happen to have had a pre-disposition for mental illness. My paternal grandmother had seen a psychiatrist for several years. I didn't know that for a long time, not surprisingly. But mental illness was on both sides of my family. I don't blame anyone. Things happen. I can't answer why but God changed me through those experiences. I looked at people differently. A new compassion for life and mental illness was born. I wanted to help people. I wanted to offer hope through Jesus to someone. I cannot imagine going through everything I have without Jesus being with me. Now THAT would be really depressing!
My challenge to you in this season of cheer is to look to the answer of hope for all mankind--the gift of Jesus. Keep your head in the Bible. The Holy Spirit will guide and teach you as you read.
Stop trying to control things you can't control. Stop worrying about the things you can't control. It's wasted energy. Use that energy to do something FUN. I just started to paint again. I haven't done that in 20 years.
If there are toxic people in your family you may have to see this holiday then limit the face time you have with them. Be kind but move on before an unhappy conversation gets started. If you have to leave early--OH WELL--you're taking care of yourself, you're setting a boundary for yourself. Maybe you have never done that before--set a boundary to make you healthy. I learned to do that over time. First you have to determine WHAT or WHO needs a boundary and then decide what about that person needs to be your boundary. You don't have to announce it to the person. You just act on it. If they call and want to get to together then tell them you have other plans. We always have other plans whether it's cleaning the house or taking the dog out.
Remember to think about how you can be healthy mentally and then act on it in a positive way. I hope these things have been useful to you and get you thinking about something you have never considered about yourself or someone else. And always reach for that ready hand of hope.