Bible, Life, Love, Marriage, Ministry, Parenting, prayer, Uncategorized, Valentine’s Day, verse, women

Are your Expectations Ruining the Real Joy in Life?

Today’s guest blog post comes from Jennifer at Heaven Not Harvard and can be originally found here!

Expectations are sneaky buggers. We often don't realize we even have them until we find ourselves disappointed in our reality. Maybe we need to shift our focus.
Expectations are sneaky buggers. They are often so engrained into our ideas of normal that we forget we have them at all.

We walk into daily situations, especially holidays, with subconscious champagne and roses expectations thanks to Hallmark movies, and miss the better gifts reality can offer.

One year, I almost ruined my own birthday with my expectations. In the years since, I have seen how God has walked with me through feeling disappointed and invisible and reminds me He is the God who sees me.

In the weeks surrounding holidays like Mother’s Day and Valentines Day, I often see so many struggling relationships because they weren’t celebrated in the way they wanted to be. And hurting women let disappointment turn into a burr between themselves and their families.

I sadly remember all the Valentine’s Days, birthdays, trips, and anniversaries that turned into balls of hurt in my house because of my wrong expectations that didn’t offer any grace to the love of my life.

Somehow, I expected my husband to say the words that would make all the late nights, emotional exhaustion and struggles of being a wife and mother worth it. I wanted him to find the gift or flowers that would make me feel for just ONE day that he truly sees and appreciates me.

I was putting the pressure of my expectations on him instead of taking them to the Lord.

And with all the weight I was giving these particular calendar days, nothing was ever going to satisfy.

Now, I can see all the ways he shows me how much he appreciates me everyday. But I was missing it because I was so focused on my emotional needs.

The year I almost ruined my birthday changed everything. The day had been pretty low-key, a fine day, but I couldn’t get over my disappointment at not receiving any kind of gift.

After feeling a bit dejected and debating with myself about telling him how I felt, I decided not to say anything and be grateful for all the blessings I had.

Five minutes later, he came out from the bedroom with a jewelry set he had purchased months earlier. It was special hypoallergenic gold due to my bizarre metal allergy. I felt like such a jerk. My unmet expectations almost ruined his thoughtful surprise.

I almost missed a real expression of his love for me because I wanted to dictate what it should look like.

Most Mother’s Days, I don’t wake up to a perfect bouquet or breakfast in bed. But my days have been just right.

Why? What changed? Me.

First, I stopped placing my value and worth as a mother in the hands of my husband. I would love a moment of recognition from him, but I don’t need it.

My identity as a woman, mother, even wife is in Christ and the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17-19 ESV “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith . . . and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

I have learned to let God’s love fill me so that I overflow with His fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Even though I still do those things imperfectly, I recognize I am growing in grace as I grow in Him.

So I set my expectations for holidays now on what I want for myself. On Mother’s Day, I want a day of being the mom I really want to be everyday: fun, patient, kind, joyful.

I don’t want to use this holiday as a weapon. Expectations ruin reality. Don’t miss the real joy God has for us. CLICK TO TWEET

Does it really measure my worth or his love if he doesn’t roll out the red carpet and ticker tape parade on this one calendar day?

When I quit having expectations, I got to see more fully who my husband is, appreciating and loving the whole of him, and experiencing the joy of the day as it unfolds.

My first Mother’s Day of letting go of expectations, my husband didn’t make me breakfast in bed, because he wanted to wait to ask me what I would like to have. He didn’t buy me a gift, but researched a special place for me to choose exactly what I wanted. He spent his afternoon cleaning out the pool so I could have the first swim of the year.

His quiet thoughtfulness was more precious to me than any gift.

For years, I missed the real gifts because of my wrong expectations.

Sometimes we feel invisible and ignored. No one sees us up at midnight, straightening the living room or washing dishes. Laundry magically folds itself and finds its way back into drawers, or maybe you magically earn the paycheck that keeps your house from belonging to the bank.

One or two days a year doesn’t change who you are and won’t heal days you were taken for granted or ignored. But rest assured, God sees you. He sees your every moment.

The work and struggle of being a wife, mother, friend, sister is not invisible to Him. And I find so much joy when I remember that I’m serving Him through my earthly service.

Matthew 5:14 ESV “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Don’t let the darkness steal true joy from your grasp. Even on this side of heaven, jewelry and flowers pale in comparison to the joy of the Lord in the ministry where He has placed you.

2 Corinthians 4:18 ESV “As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Focus on the eternal blessings, and you might find greater joy than you expected in the first place.

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Bible, bible verse, family, Friends, friendship, god, happiness, healing, jesus, Life, Love, Marriage, Parenting, prayer, Uncategorized, Valentine’s Day, women

50 Magical Date Night Ideas!

Today’s guest post comes from Minding the Kings.

Find the original post here.

You know, sometimes Mr. King and I just need a date night. A time to ourselves where we can set our responsibilities aside and enjoy each  other’s company. It’s so important to spend that time together and cultivate a strong relationship. A strong marriage relationship sets the foundation for a strong family! But after a while it can be hard to come up with date ideas. We want to mix it up! We want to try something new! Going to the same couple restaurants every time gets boring, and when we just go to a movie we aren’t really engaging with each other. So I sat down and came up with a list of ideas we could try. Then I thought, we can’t be the only ones looking for new ideas! So, I’m sharing the magic with all of you!

**Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Click HERE to learn more**

50 Magical Date Night Ideas

  1.  Go for a bike ride
  2. Create sidewalk chalk murals all over town
  3. Take selfies together with random strangers, then create a photo book of your adventure
  4. Go out and do random acts of kindness together
  5. Go Fishing
  6. Look up workout videos from the 80’s and have fun working out and making fun of them together!
  7. Taste test candy or snacks from other countries
  8. Put together a 1000+ piece puzzle
  9. Visit an art museum, take notepads and pens in with you, and pretend to be art critics!
  10. Build sandcastles and look for shells at the beach
  11. Go canoeing
  12. Do an escape room
  13. Go ice skating or roller skating
  14. Go shopping together and pick out clothes for each other to try on
  15. Make music videos by recording yourselves singing and dancing to your favorite songs
  16. Do a craft together, like making a tie blanket, a stepping stone for your garden, or painting flower pots
  17. Rent a movie that’s in a foreign language, then make up the dialogue for it while you watch
  18. Have a water balloon fight, then relax together in a kiddie pool
  19. Do a color run or mud run together
  20. Go Bowling
  21. Take a class together (painting, cooking, etc)
  22. Explore a nearby  town you’ve never been to before
  23. Go Horseback Riding
  24. Play Frisbee and have a picnic at the park
  25. Do a progressive dinner restaurant tour: Have an appetizer at one restaurant, split an entree at 2 other places, and finish with dessert somewhere else!
  26. Read together
  27. Go Geocaching, or play similar types of games, like Pokemon Go, Draconius Go, or Zombies, Run!
  28. Go riding quads, dirt bikes, a side-by-side, or other recreational vehicles together
  29. Volunteer together
  30. Look up a new recipe, go shopping for the ingredients, and make it together (maybe try this one!)
  31. Go Swimming
  32. Create a vision board together
  33.  Look up massage techniques and try them out on each other
  34. Taste test and rate different brands of cola, different flavors of M&M’s, or other foods and drinks!
  35. Play strip poker
  36. Set up hammocks, then watch the sun set and stargaze together
  37. Do a couple’s photo shoot
  38. Go camping. REAL camping!
  39. Play video games together. Multiplayer ones, so you are both playing!
  40. Get to know each other even better by doing a questionnaire or asking “would you rather” questions
  41. Go on a scavenger hunt
  42. Work together on a scrap book of your favorite memories
  43. Borrow I Spy or Where’s Waldo books from the library and spend time together doing them
  44. Have a Nerf war or a Nerf sharpshooter competition
  45. Stay in a hotel room with a Jacuzzi and pamper yourselves
  46. Have a game night playing your favorite board, dice and card games
  47. Do a fast food taste test: Gather 1 each of the same item from different fast food restaurants (chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, etc). Then one person wears a blindfold while the other feeds them the foods from each place one at a time. The blindfolded one has to guess where each item they try is from!
  48. Build something together. Doesn’t matter if its from IKEA or made from scratch.
  49. Go out and play Pool together
  50. Do a $10 date: Each person gets $10 to shop with. The objective is to find 2 things to buy for your other half, 1 thing they would like and 1 gag gift!

For 15 more fun ideas, head over to My Cup Runs Overand check out her list!

As rare as our date nights are, this list will last my husband and I a LONG time! I hope you find some ideas you can use to make your next date night magical! Let me know in the comments what your favorite ideas are!