About 10 years ago, I had been struggling a little with being single during the Christmas season and was faced with the thought of yet another holiday trip with the parents . . . alone. There was something about it that really depressed me.
Part of it was that Christmas truly is a family event. When you are a child that’s awesome. There is nothing—and I mean nothing—like a being a kid on Christmas. It might be the best thing in the world. It’s so pure. But then you grow up and the magic kind of fades.
Now my friends who are parents get it back; they get to see their kids live it. But when you are single it’s not the same, even if you soak up all of the time you can with your nephews and nieces.
Part of it might be because nothing makes you feel smaller than when you go home—alone—to your parents’ house for Christmas again. There’s nothing like family to bring out the singleness blues. However, it actually goes deeper than being single; I just think that married people can hide from it easier.
I had a mentor once who challenged me: “When you are leading and in charge of stuff, you are yourself. But in every other case, you don’t know how to be you.”
The more I thought about it the more I knew he was exactly right. And I saw it plainly in myself 10 years ago.
I was a thirty-year old man, was in charge of a thriving ministry, had lots of friends and was successful in nearly every way one could view my life. In all those arenas I was who I am in Christ now, or at least attempting to be.
But not at home.
Here’s the thing I realized: If I wanted to be treated like an adult by my parents, maybe I should stop interacting with them like I was 17.
Maybe sleeping until noon, not really telling them what was going on in my life, and treating them like they don’t know much probably wasn’t going to help my “Home for the Holidays” experience.
Now here’s the thing: My parents wouldn’t have known the difference. I mean they love me and would serve me regardless, just like they always have. But that’s just it—it shouldn’t be like it had always been. I wasn’t who I’ve always been; I’m who I am now. And it was time to act like it in my parents’ home.
If we want our parents to treat us as adults, then we need to be one around them. Look, the truth is it’s easier to pull this off when you’re married with kids.
They see you parent.
They get to focus on the grandkids with you.
You are the authority.
Get what I’m saying? It retrains everybody.
But when you are single it’s trickier. It starts with us.
Am I the best me—realizing my identity in Christ, bringing my best attitude, looking to love and lead—with my family?
How old do you feel when you are with your family? Are you who you are now with them?
If you know someone who is struggling to be the best when they’re with their family, will you email them this post to encourage them?
Photo credit: presta