Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Monster in My Mind, Part II

Y'all, expectations can be so very good and so very not so good. I know that for me, it helps to trace the root of my expectations so that I can better understand my heart and then be changed for the better. Today, I want to take a look into where exactly those monsters expectations come from and what to do when they so subtly (or not so subtly) creep in to our realities.

{Elissa Ewald Photography}

YOUR UPBRINGING

Every one of us was born into a family that was not of our choosing. This fact brings with it various challenges. Your family may have been overly affectionate and encouraging, or it may have been cold and uninviting. You may have a background of Christ-centered marriage, or you may have experienced the pain of abuse, divorce, or neglect. Whatever the case, each one of us has a different paradigm according to what life has handed us, and whether we like it or not, this paradigm influences and can even dictate our responses to our spouse's paradigm.

Ex: Rory likes for dishes to be washed in the dishwasher for sanitary reasons. I don't mind doing a combination of both dishwasher and handwashing because I like the kitchen to be clear at the end of each night. Right? Wrong? It's neither. This expectation is tied to upbringing and preference. So we talk about it and figure out a middle ground.

PEERS

Y'all, this one is a toughy. It is a good thing to look to other married couples to learn from them and glean wisdom. It is not a good thing to look to other married couples and think that you have to do exactly what they do. It's just not healthy. We've all seen the "comparison is the thief of joy" quote milling around the internet these days, and friends, it is true! When we look to others and feel we have to copy them in order to be successful, we've taken it too far and aren't allowing ourselves to walk in the identity God gave us.

Ex: In talking with friends I learn about how another couple does their finances and think "We're doing it ALL WRONG! In order to be successful we have to do the exact same thing as them!" LIES.

MOVIES/TV/BOOKS

This one is a big soapbox for me, because I think it is one of the most detrimental areas in which we as women are suckered into false ways of thinking and thereby disappointed. As a child, I was a voracious reader. I still love to read, but I just don't have the time I used to have in order to devour books as I would like to. Movies and television are also a way of escape for me in which I can just relax and enjoy a good story. Hear me when I say that I absolutely do not believe that movies/tv/books are the devil. There is nothing inherently evil in these things. However, I think it is imperative that we realize just how much the stories and thoughts expressed in these media outlets forms our thinking. I remember hearing chick flicks likened to "girl porn" once. And while the comparison seems harsh and crass, I believe it is spot on in that romantic comedies and the like warp our thinking. We begin to believe that we deserve the fairy tale and the perfect ending. And friends, life just isn't like that. With the Lord, it is so. much. better. And it is often not tied up neatly in a little bow.

Ex: Every day my husband should bring me flowers and little surprises because that's what so-and-so did in such-and-such movie. LIES.

SOCIAL MEDIA

So we have media where the stories are obviously not real and written by paid Hollywood screenwriters and acted out in front of us by gorgeous celebrities, and then we have social media. We can scroll through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and see friends with whom we attended college or youth group and wonder how their lives seem to be so perfectly curated all. the. dang. time. But we forget this one simple fact: social media is a highlight reel. I often have people tell me how adorable the videos of my kids are that I post during our "brain break" dance times. What they didn't see is how I "raised my voice" at a kid minutes before for disobeying. Social media is an incredible outlet, but it still isn't the end all be all absolute truth.

Ex: My friend posts a picture of her awesome date night, and my heart twinges with jealousy. "Why don't we do things like that? They're so cool." BAD PATH. LIES.

Friends, let's pause and think about where our expectations come from and how to make a mental shift. It takes time to unpack our expectations and to truly allow the Lord to renew your mind. But when we allow Him to show us the evidences of His grace, we can slowly begin to be grateful for every little thing and outsmart the monster in our minds. Don't allow your expectations to get in the way of your reality.

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