So, remember that girls night out I was telling you about? (See Day 12). On the tables was a handout entitled “7 Ideas for a Grateful Christmas”. In place of a list full of “wants” there should be a list of what we already have, and share it with others.
We all want nice things. For the most part there is nothing wrong with that as long as there is balance. But some days I get so fed up with the I-want-I-want-I-want world that I want to throw an ornament at someone. Not really. Okay, once.
#5 on the list really spoke to me: Lower exceptions to heighten Joy. (The list was adapted from Ann Voskamp.)
“Expectations kill relationships…and joy.”
You speak the truth, Ann.
I have a problem with unrealistic expectations. I build up this idea in my head, whether it is how a family trip will unfold or how my children will act/react in a certain situation, and when it doesn’t happen the way I had envisioned the joy gets sucked right out of me.
I call it The Joy Sucker. I have accused my kids, my husband, a waiter, even the traffic jam as being The Joy Sucker. When in reality it is usually my expectations that is the joy sucker. It’s my fault. There, I admitted it. Happy?
With less than two weeks remaining until Christmas the challenge becomes: How do I keep The Joy Sucker from evading my space?
Well, I have a plan. I am going to choose three things that mean the most to me this season and focus on them. My endless “want-to-do” list is out the window. Because not only does expectations kill my joy, but so does the overwhelming stress of “having” to get it all done.
#1: List the Gifts I Already Have. In the I-want-world it can sometimes be hard to see what I already have right in front of me. I have already started my “1,000 Gifts” list but I haven’t added much lately. So, I am recommitting to getting my gratefulness on the list.
#2: Create One Sweet Memory. I have “pinned” so many things I wanted to do with the girls this season. There is only so much time, so I have chosen to do just one thing: A Cookie Decorating Party. It’s a party the girls wanted to have last year but too many other commitments got in the way. And, more importantly, I must lower my expectations on how the kids will act/react at the party. With a house full of girls, I am guaranteed they will make a mess, and there will be drama. There is always drama. Go with the flow, as they say. Because The Joy Sucker is not invited to the party. When my expectations are blown, so is my temper, and that kills relationships.
#3: Improve Relationships from the Inside Out. Right now I am reading “Unglued” by Lysa TerKeurst because I don’t want to be an unglued mama any more. I don’t want my ungluedness (it’s a new word) to ruin my relationships with my kids or my husband. It’s an imperfect progress, but progress none the less.
What three things would you put on your list?