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Posts Tagged ‘Unrealistic Expectations’

In certain parts of the world women, for centuries, have balanced baskets on their heads to carry heavy loads. Don’t know about you, but if I tried this heady feat everything would slosh, splatter, and splash out the basket, leaving behind me a trail of trash.

But don’t we all balance heavy bundles of actions, reactions, and emotions in our hearts? And sometimes don’t our out-of-control lives slosh and smear over everyone in our realm of influence?

Christmas Clutter

Especially this time of year.

The last two weeks on my calendar have been so overloaded I’ve had trouble reading the times places and things I should be doing. And half-way into this over-the-top zealous plan I’d instigated, a melt-down ensued that splattered all over my husband. One word led to another and morphed into a major confrontation.

I’m sure that has never ever happened at your house—has it?

Sitting in church yesterday our pastor delivered a message from the Lord, aimed straight at my heart—How to Handle Bad Daysand he illustrated some symptoms that lead to bad days—discouragement, restlessness, and foolishness. Dr. Jeffress went on to illustrate how Elijah found himself in the predicament of some very bad days. He had abandoned his calling, lost his perspective, was tired, careless, and then he stumbled. Tears filled my eyes as our pastor drove the stake of God’s Word right into the load of my mess.

Then he gave a few certain warning signs of coming bad days…being physically and emotionally exhausted. And the Holy Spirit stirred the waters of my soul and more tears confirmed His message to me. We’re two weeks away from Christmas and the load I had tried to balance sloshed out behind me. But his next words slammed and stuck. “Sometimes…” he said, “…the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap.”

The voice of my husband echoed in my ear. “Why don’t you stop what you’re doing, and take a nap? You’re exhausted.” But the Holy Spirit pulled back my veil of excuses and whispered, “Sunday is to be a day of rest.” And I squirmed. On the way to church that morning, I’d mentally scheduled my afternoon…doing catch up chores.

But the next truth was really difficult to absorb, because I’m forever rehearsing this to those who come to GriefShare—Holding onto unrealistic expectations is toxic. I knew that principle was applicable to grief, but bearing up under the mountain of unrealistic expectations I’d assigned myself was toxic too?  And tears of shame burned the rims of my eyes. “Yes, Lord.” I admitted. “I am guilty as charged—for years. Please forgive me.”

Dr. Jeffress delivered one final truth. “Believing you are indispensable.” Ouch! “And you become despondent if you believe it’s all about you.” And the Spirit of God pushed His finger into the foolishness of how far I had traveled with a basket filled with wrong thinking. Thinking if I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t get done. But Dr. Jeffress’ conclusion brought relief as I acknowledged my guilt, accepted His forgiveness, and confirmed my commitment to change—God is responsible for events in my life and in the lives of my family—not me.

And I booked it home and took a long, rehabilitative nap!

Perhaps you’re right there with Elijah and me as we approach the final weeks of the 2017 Christmas Celebration—over committed, restless, tired, with a pathway of sloshes, splatters, and splashes littering the landscape behind you. May I suggest you read Elijah’s bad day experience in the 19th Chapter of 1 Kings and compare this with your current trajectory. Has God asked you like He questioned a frightened, overwhelmed, and undone Elijah, “What are you doing here?”

If so, what would be your answer?

It’s so easy to become ensnared in the commercial deceptions of this Holy Time of Year, and the want-to of making this Christmas special for your family. I have great news… God made this celebration special over two thousand years ago. There’s nothing we can add to make it more special except surrendering our lives to Jesus. God promised A Savior—born to die for your sins and mine—from the beginning pages of Genesis.

mary-and-baby

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace…the zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:6-8 NAS).

When we admit our sin, turn away from each one, and trust Jesus’ blood is enough to save us and change our lives. I no longer languish in the sins of the past. Those blemishes and stains of yesterday, today, and tomorrow are gone—washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb of God. The only thing we’re required to do is become a conduit of His love—letting His Spirit change and fill our hearts to over-flowing with His love. His grace. And His mercy. Then allowing His unsearchable love to saturate us and soak into the lives of those He gives us to love every moment of every day.

 

HAVE A BLESSED AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!

                                                                                                                           DiAne


Heart Matters 2

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Prairie Creek 2016 2

Guys, have you ever wiped your eyes and said to a buddy, Man, I sure feel better after a good cry?

And you say to me, You’re joking. Right?

But ladies, I’m sure you remember your last good cry, and it made you feel better, didn’t it?

“And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27 NAS).

God made us male and female—uniquely different, but made for each other. And nowhere does this emotional difference exemplify itself more than when a man and woman are thrust into the throes of grief.

Men are fixers by nature. But guys, you can’t fix her this time. Only God can. You can’t make her tears go away, and your worst nightmare haunts your nights and days—you must travel through your own savage grief jungle of emotions and feelings. So most men do what to them seems proper—stuff those emotions deep in their hearts so they won’t have to deal with them. But, every grief stuffed will explode one day, like a shaken up Coca Cola, and it will be messy. Stuffed grief morphs into anger, depression, and countless other destructive emotions that traps and isolates the one suffering.

Meanwhile husbands, you’re left with a wife who bursts into tears every time she looks at you, or at a picture, or has a memory of her loss. A song, a TV commercial, or a flower can send her over the edge. And you don’t know what to do. So you attempt to ignore her tears, slap on a tough exterior, and a move forward attitude. Or at least that’s what you think will happen.

Pressure Cooker.jpg

But her tears don’t stop, because that’s how God made her. The pressure of sorrow and the fiery heat of loss shove women into the quagmire of grief. Female tears are like the regulator on a pressure cooker. Perhaps your grandmother had one—heat causes pressure to build inside the pot until the regulator jiggles off steam so the pot won’t explode. Tears are the regulator of grief, else the woman in your life will detonate.

Statistics show a high percentage of marriages fail after the death of a loved one, because the marriage partners don’t know how to grieve. And when their loss is a child, the rate of a failed marriage rises into the 75 to 80 percent range.

My mind travels to the couple in Orlando last week and the unspeakable, horrific, tragedy they experienced when their two-year-old was snatched and killed by an alligator. Unfortunately, when grief moves in reason and sanity flee. In our fallen state, humans seem to need to cast blame—even when there’s no cause for blame.  Couple blame with guilt, and anguish and you have a recipe for disaster.

But this couple’s marriage doesn’t have to fail, nor does yours, if you will seek help and learn how to travel through this dark and desperate valley together—but apart.

Space, coupled with understanding, is the key.

Every grief is unique, because people and relationships are unique. A father has a different relationship with his son or daughter than the mother does. Each are necessary. Each are good. But each are different. So it stands to reason the two parents would experience a different journey through grief.

Give your spouse permission to grieve in the way that brings them comfort. And that will probably mean spending some time apart—walking through this darkness together—but sometimes apart. Your wife may need to listen to the recording of the funeral many, many times. The recording may do nothing for you. Or your husband may need to spend time each week at the grave site—something that gives you the creeps. Give your mate permission to do whatever it takes to find comfort during this dark time.

Wives, schedule days with girlfriends who are comfortable with and can relate to your tears. Girlfriends who will cry with you. Then come together with your husband at the end of the day, in order to mesh your paths and plans together for the future when the time is appropriate. But assure and reassure each other of your never ending love and commitment to each other.

Keep your expectations as close to your reality as possible. None of us think or discern well during those early days of grief, but the lurking problems  can be reduced to manageable size if your expectations linger in close proximity to the reality of your loss.

In other words, wives, don’t expect your husband to sit with you for hours and watch you cry. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. No. The reality is he’s not ever going to react the same way you do.  Expecting him to join your boohoo times will leave you clutching unrealistic expectations, which will make you angry and make him more likely to avoid you like the plague.

Husbands don’t withhold hugs of comfort from your wife when she weeps. I promise your comfort won’t extend her tears, she requires your approval and understanding to move forward.

Guys don’t seclude yourself in your shop, den, or binge on hunting and fishing without explanation. Acknowledge to your wife this is how you deal with the overwhelming loss you are experiencing. Silence won’t make grief go away, but men need more silent time than women during this process.

Schedule time to talk. Openly. Honestly. And lovingly about your feelings. Please don’t be afraid of feelings. Darkness and ignoring one another morphs emotions to unmanageable, but exposing these little stinkers to light diminishes them. The very best way to accomplish this delicate balance is to find a GriefShare Support Group near you. Go to www.griefshare.org and click on Find-A-Group. Type in your zip code to locate a group nearby and go. Together.

You can’t ignore grief. You can’t go around, over, or under grief—you must travel through it. Together. There is life after grief. A good life. But it takes work, patience, and love. And yards and yards of time.

 

“Remember my afflictions and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore, I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore, I have hope in Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord” (Lamentations 3:19-26 NAS).

 Coming Storm 2

DiAne and her husband lost both sets of parents and a
 twenty-eight-year old daughter within a five-year period.
 She has led GriefShare Recovery Groups for the past
thirteen years and often blogs about grieving. Click
on articles from August 2012, September 2012, October, 2012
https://dianegates.wordpress.com/

 

 

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“Angry?”

“Me, angry?”

My face heated and my heart twisted. “Well, yes… I have a temper, but my Dad had a temper too. Don’t we all?” My spirit squirmed.

I focused on the lane stripes zipping by on the black-top. Tension from my heart slipped to my foot and I shoved the gas pedal to theDSCF6475 floor, but Dr. Ravi Zacharias’s words echoed in my head. I always listen to him on my way home from Longview. This morning he related difficult relationships in his family when he grew up in New Delhi, India.

His father was a well-know man in their city. A man held in high esteem by many, but a man with a horrible temper. Dr. Zacharias told about an evening his father’s temper had exploded, causing great discomfort and misery for his wife and children. But what pierced my heart was his mother’s reaction.

Dr. Zacharias, then a teen, suggested they go to a neighbor for help. But his mother said no. Her husband’s reputation would be harmed. She chose to be quiet and endure the discomfort. He repeated an old Indian saying his mother lived by.

“When your basket is bumped, what spills out defines your character.”

These words shot an arsenal of conviction into my heart. What comes out of me when I’m bumped? My mind shifted gears to a few DSCF6482days before. I had been bumped and what spilled out of me was oxygen-deprived-pond-scum that grew in dark isolated corners of my heart—toxic waste.

Oh, I’m usually fine when everything goes according to plan. When I feel good. When there’s enough of me to go around. When life is smooth and pleasant and you do things my way. But what are the mathematical odds for that being a consistent way of life?

So on that super highway at 80 mph, I faced, admitted, and confessed—I have anger issues.

Oh, that’s a too politically correct confession to leave staring at you and me on this page.

I’m angry! There. I admitted it.

Not the screaming, yelling in-the-moment rage. No. But the deep caustic kind that eats rust when expectations and reality are too far apart, leaving me frustrated with unrealistic expectations which lodge in my heart to grate, grind, and grab my peace.

So I pulled into the slow lane, turned the radio off, and asked God to show me exactly what He wanted me to know—something I should never do unless I’m ready to hear. And show He did. In HD. It was and is still painful.

My response to trouble, difficult situations, and conversations in the past has been to back the offender in a corner and verbally slice and dice, using words that twist the situation to my point of view so I end up the victor. Talking rather than listening. In other words, controlling the moment so I win—you lose.

Why? Because like you, I’ve grown up in a world where we are made to think success is based solely on money, power, and status. That’s a bold-faced lie and a wrong definition of success. But we’ve been indoctrinated to live in this fast and furious lane of life. Too much to do. No time to accomplish. Zero dependence on God and total dependence on self. A recipe for disaster, doomed to end in divorce court, criminal court, and/or counseling.

All because we’ve pushed God to the background, neglected His Word, and wedged ourselves in the driver’s seat.

Don’t look down your nose at me and say, “Well I go to church every Sunday. I pray and read God’s Word when I can.” Yep. So do I, and yet, how long are we out of church on Sunday before someone bumps us and we spew? If not on the outside, in those creepy-heart-corners to acidify along with the long list of offenses already stored there—waiting for a prime-time moment to slosh out with the next bump.

This past week I’ve come to understand the most dangerous type of anger is anger that hides, seethes, corrodes and turns into bitterness.

My younger brother was given the privilege of going to college. Didn’t know it at the time, but we were poor, and you know boys needed the education…blah, blah, blah. He didn’t make it through the first year and I was angry. Angry at him, angry with my folks, just plain angry. Even typing this account I feel my face heat. For years I held onto this anger. Nursed it, and reveled in self-pity and excused my faults. And all these years our relationship traveled a rocky road. But in His sovereignty, God allows situations in the lives of His children to wake us up and teach us, but how many times do we choose a tantrum rather than deal with the source of the anger?

We’ve birthed several generations of angry kids because we excuse behavior, lie to ourselves, and become mannequins of one another. WeDSCF6490 are an angry people. Devoid of humility, forgiveness, and thankfulness. Captured in self-deception and pride. And it’s contagious.

There have been moments of abject shame this past week dredging up and naming the well-kept bombing ranges of anger in my life. Scars from childhood. A broken marriage. Emotional damage I caused my children. The pain of broken relationships. Secondary losses occurring after our daughter died. All tucked away and allowed to fester. But this morning, as He always does, God led me to Ephesians 1:3.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

To the best of my understanding God’s Word said:

God has given me every spiritual blessing in heaven in Christ. Everything I need to live life in Him. I’m good to go! He has given me the ability to exhibit all the fruit of the Spirit. And He says, “The fruit of the Spirit is…” Not the fruits are…I don’t get to pick and choose. Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Gentleness. Goodness. Faith. Meekness. Temperance. But I must desire them. I must seek after and choose to learn to use what He has already given me. I am responsible, with the help of the Spirit, to pin-point areas of sin in my life, confess them, and turn away, because He has put my sins behind His back. They are gone forever. He promised.

One of the reasons anger seeds flourished in my heart are the psycho-buzz-words—unrealistic expectations. The truth is the distance between my reality and my expectations determined the size, meter, depth, and manifestation of my next explosion.
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Another person cannot fulfill my expectations, meet my needs, or satisfy my longings. The reality is everything I need and long for can only be achieved through a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. All other relationships tempt me to latch onto unrealistic expectations which are Satan’s yellow-brick-breeding-ground for anger.
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God the Father instructs me, learn to do what is pleasing to the Lord. Then anger won’t be an overwhelming struggle. God issued the edict—I don’t have to stay bound in chains of hateful aggression. Not if I use the power He’s already given to name and forsake the sin. But I’ve often chosen to disobey Him and have grieved His Spirit.

“Be angry, and yet do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil and opportunity”(Ephesians 4:26-27 NAS).

Does that mean we’re going to be perfect all the time? No, not in this lifetime, but remember the words God used, “trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” God knows my heart. And my heart desires to crucify the anger I’ve allowed to reside in me. To live each day in a manner demonstrating to others what God has done in my life and invite them to come, taste, and see that the Lord is good.

What’s the desire of your heart? Is Jesus your reality? Next time you’re bumped what will spill out of your heart, somersault off your tongue, and pollute all those within your sphere of influence? Or will you choose to run to God’s mercy seat for “help and hope in time of need?” But the decision must be made each day—before the explosion occurs. Daniel “purposed in his heart” before the meal was served, he would not taste defiling food from a pagan king. Will you?

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