Have you guys ever seen those “Pinterest-fail” posts online? It’s so hysterically funny to see the misshapen cakes, ugly crafts and butchered home haircuts – but if we are honest, doesn’t life go that way? I feel like most parts of my life are a game of “Expectation vs. Reality” with me clinging so tightly to my expectations and sometimes being really bummed with the resulting reality.
The other day I asked my husband what he was thinking of my recent posts, and jokingly he said that they needed some more references to my awesome husband, so here you go, babe! – my amazing hubby has mastered the concept of letting go of expectations and totally embracing reality for whatever it is. Early on in our marriage this drove me NUTS because he would categorically refuse to be excited for anything – vacation, Christmas, nights out….nothing at all would get him thinking with anticipation! I would amp up my dreams, goals, wishes and be so down in the dumps when, per usual, things didn’t live up to my high expectations – I let my unrealistic view of everything steal the beauty of the reality, which really, wasn’t all that bad, just in comparison to my silly expectations I had built up in my mind, looked worse than it was. He has shown me how to just take life as it comes, come what may, and to accept the beauty of what is over the high flown ideals of what could have been.
Having the toddlers around has really helped me adjust this mentality too – HA! I had visions of how this all would go – two built-in best friends, happily trundling off to a cozy Reading Corner time at the library, casual play dates with my other mommy friends, us three gaily skipping through the meadow for sunshine drenched days of fun, “bouncing back” to my pre-baby body in a few months and being adorably dressed in matching mommy-and-me outfits as we head to the pool for a fun afternoon. Healthy meals on the table every night as we sit together as a family, joking with each other and talking about our days, our hopes and our dreams. A clean and organized home, with kids taking responsibility for and cleaning up after themselves (silly, I know.). Regular date nights with hubby. Nights out with my girls. Calmly leaving my daughter with a trusted babysitter to step away sometimes in order to keep my life balanced.
That was expectation. Reality? The kids fight more than they play together. They are turning two and we have YET to step foot into the reading corner at the library. In two years, we have done about maybe five playdates with mommy friends and each one was just exhausting! Our last “trundle” through the meadow ended with a flaked out meltdown in the grass for no apparent reason (followed up by a nervous mommy tick-check) and me toting a bag full of sunblock, toys, trucks, balls, bubbles, and pretty much anything I could think of to keep them happy! I make healthy dinners on Monday, and Tuesday and then by Wednesday we are eating leftovers or pizza. We eat maybe two dinners together a week, mostly full of “eat your food” and “we need to…”, or “did you remember to…?”. The only “bouncing back” that I am doing is having a bigger belly for kids to bounce on, and the only time we had matching outfits was during the stomach bug when we were both covered in baby puke. We haven’t been on a date in months, and I haven’t seen my friends for a kid-free night in a few weeks either. I have waves of anxiety and fear every time I leave my baby girl, even with my parents, or heck, even her own father who loves her as much as I do and keeps her safe! A little different than I saw this all going, for sure!
And you know what? I wouldn’t change the reality….except maybe less fighting. Because it’s beautiful in its mess. Because I have met God in that messy reality and truly realized the power of the verse that says “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) If it had all gone according to my plan, and if it all had been shiny and perfect and easy, how would I have realized how much I needed Him? How much would I appreciate what He has given me? How could I have let go of the unreasonable, controlling aspects of my personality, and embraced the beautiful, messy chaos full of all of the wonderful things that I dreamed of having?
You’ve got to let go of those expectations. Sure, its fun to dream and its fun to look forward with excitement, but keep a lid on it, and don’t let something that hasn’t happened, or isn’t likely to happen, ruin the beauty of what is, even if it looks different than you thought it would.
So, I’m going to go peel the kids off of each other again, cook a pizza for dinner, and say “Thank you, Lord” for my beautifully messy reality. ❤