Expectations and anger seem to go together and the Holidays are a perfect breeding ground for the two to collide!
You might be familiar with this typical scenario….You are hosting the big, family Holiday gathering! You have shopped, cooked, baked, planned, and scheduled the dinner for all to enjoy. You are so excited! You have imagined the sweet scene of the family peacefully and joyfully together. Everyone is laughing and enjoying each other’s company, reminiscing about old times and even creating new memories!
Then at the appointed time things begin to unravel. Your child begins to act up, or becomes ill/injured. Guests have arrived early while you deal with the present situation. You remember you forgot the dinner rolls and have no option for back up. The annoying relative starts ‘doing their thing’. The kids (these can even be grown children) start fighting. The said time for dinner comes, and some of the guests have not shown up yet. And to top it all off there are the unresolved family issues that hang like unseen tension cords in the air…
This is NOT how you had it planned! Your blood pressure has risen, you feel stressed, and frustration starts to grow. Before you know it full-blown anger has taken over! How could so much go so wrong? What happened to the ‘ideal’ you had in your head?
Expectation is defined as “a belief that something will happen or is likely to happen”. Or the more obvious way most of us see it is a “perfect” scenario that we have imagined in our minds. It is hard to NOT have expectation, but maybe they should be realistic ones.
Here are some realistic expectations to hang onto through the Holidays:
• Expect that your relatives (and this includes you) are sinners which means they won’t always act right. No one is perfect. Give grace. Very rarely is your relative trying to “unravel” you. It’s usually not even about you.
• Expect to handle yourself. The only thing we can control is our own reactions and ourselves. Focus on your own attitudes and behaviors. Focus on the blessings and don’t sweat the small stuff!
• Expect that things won’t quite be as you planned. Life will happen and interrupt plans. No one really has that much control over an entire event. Go with the flow and see how different the experience will be.
• Expect the outcome to not be what you had imagined. Our best imagination is nowhere close to God’s. Focus on His presence and see what He wants to do with your family gathering. Trust God with your family gathering, and you take it one step at a time.
• Expect God to be with you. His presence alone in every situation can bring you strength and peace in the midst of chaos. He is always available to help. Cry out to Him in your need!
This Thanksgiving I pray you can enjoy your perfectly imperfect family (including yourself). Laugh and enjoy! Life is fleeting. Have realistic expectations, and be amazed at the outcome. There will be less tension, more love and kindness given to all. And remember and believe that God can take anything and make good out of it!