Letting Go of Unrealistic Expectations {Prepare My Heart for the Holidays}

Welcome to Day 5 of Prepare My Heart for the Holidays, an 8-day heart boosting prayer experience, just before the Christmas crazy. 

Ahh, the holidays. The time of year when all the extra time we need simply materializes into our schedules, every single thing goes according to plan, all our relatives are happy, with not a bicker in sight, and there is peace on earth (and in our homes).


No other time of the year places more stress on more people. Yet frequently much of the stress we experience is due to our own unrealistic expectations. We assume everything will go off without a hitch. We wrongly anticipate a golden glow around our festivities—around our lives—that simply isn’t realistic.

Somehow our holiday expectations (and perhaps one too many Hallmark Christmas movies) prevent us from enjoying what is while we’re busy yearning for if only. The only thing that we really have the power to change during the holidays is us. When we realize that everything can change dramatically by letting go of our expectations, we displace stress while making room for authentic peace and joy, and most importantly, gratitude for what we do have.

Our challenge? Let’s ask the Lord to help us recognize unrealistic expectations and then give us grace to release them. Then let’s notice and be thankful for what we do have this holiday season…eternal life, peace, and His glorious presence, for starters.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) (NLT)

{A Holy Pause to Pray}


I bow my heart before you, not wanting my holiday expectations to become a barrier that prevents me from enjoying my reality. I don’t want to experience untold stress because of unrealistic expectations. And I don’t want to yearn for what will never be, or assume everything will always go smoothly simply because it’s Christmas time.

So God right now I choose to let go of my expectations. I even surrender my yearnings for everyone to be happy and for the things I’d love to happen that most likely will not. Thank you for lifting every ounce of stress from my heart and shoulders and filing me with Your authentic peace and joy. 

Give me grace for the inevitable hard moments. Help me to cultivate realistic expectations and deep gratitude, trusting You in every situation. May my eyes be open to the many ways You do bless me, so my heart will overflow with gratitude. In the awesome name of Jesus, Amen.

GIVEAWAY: On December 8. I will randomly choose 2 WINNERS who will each receive a signed copy of BOTH of my books, some super cute, unique Christmas cards courtesy of Smiling Sticks, and a few other goodies. 
TO ENTER please leave a comment and include your email (so I can notify you if you win). 
Winner will be notified via email on December 8th. So sorry, contest open to continental U.S. residents only. 

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ssaravo said...
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ssaravo said...

From someone who has always put high expectations on myself around this time of year I needed to read this today. Thank you!

Jennifer said...

Thank you for your devotional today and a reminder again about expectations.....needed greatly!

skiellach said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
skiellach said...

hank you for reminding me that I'm not the only one going through struggles, especially at this time of the year. And thank you for bringing me back to the real focus: Jesus Christ, my Lord.

Janice said...

I am enjoying your devotionals so much during this hectic Holiday season! It brings my focus back to where it should be!

Jackie Smith said...

I am enjoying these devos ....especially this one! Thanks!!

Ann Goodner said...

Julie, You have such a special way of saying what’s on all our hearts.

lc said...

What a powerful and moving prayer!
AMEN and AMEN!!!
Thank you

Unknown said...

Letting go of my unrealistic expectations, with Jesus’ help.

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