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Posts Tagged ‘enemies of relationships’

Fabulous Family Friday–The Enemies of Relationships

Friday, October 21st, 2011

I had intended these to be a bit closer together than 2+ months!   I had written about the first enemy of relationships in August, here.




The second enemy of relationships also begins with an “E”, and I think it’s probably even worse than the first one.




I’m speaking of Expectations.




That could be a book all by itself!




Truly Expectations can kill a relationship–with God, our husbands, our children, friends, church family…..




In my own life I have found that lack of gratitude is usually linked strongly to this monster.   Once I start feeling I am owed something, I don’t see the many efforts others go to to bless me, and then I expect it, then they feel they can’t ever do enough for me…..ay yi yi!  What a horrible downward spiral it becomes!




Then I become bitter, lack gratitude and express it even less, and here we go again! :p




STOP!  I want to get OFF!




I can remember a specific time in my prayers for my husband, where I was praying Godly, Scriptural things….but my spirit was becoming more and more bitter.  I was comparing him to my idea of a spiritual leader, and in doing so, was missing his unique gifts and abilities God had placed within him while focusing on what I perceived were his weaknesses.  Of course I wouldn’t want him doing that to me!  But as often happens when we let this monster grow, we don’t think about that part.  It actually all stems from pride.




Thinking that we are not doing the things others are “guilty” of.    Of course I’m not judging…I’m not ungrateful….I’m doing what I’m supposed to do….  (ack!)




And this pride doesn’t always stem from just an “I’m better than everybody else” attitude….usually it is rooted in having been on the other end of the “expectations” ideal—someone had unrealistic expectations of us (or we of ourselves) and that insecurity fuels perpetuating the same monster through the generations.








It’s time to slay this monster!




I honestly don’t know what made me finally get sick and tired of my way of  “praying” (or was that complaining to God?!), but I do remember one day finally writing “PSALM 62:5″ in HUGE letters across my “prayer page” for my dh!




“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.”



I honestly quit praying all those things.  Even Scriptures.  I just prayed, “Lord, make him the spiritual leader YOU want Him to be.”




That was all I prayed for a long time!




As I’ve realized more and more Abba Father’s love for me, and His acceptance of me based on who I am in Him vs. what I do, I’ve been able to not only let go of unrealistic expectations of myself—but of others as well.




Some time ago–again, I’m not sure exactly when, I started praying Scriptures for my husband again.  But this time, my focus was different.  I wasn’t praying for him so he’d be the kind of spiritual leader *I* thought I needed so I could be comfortable and happy.  I was praying for him to be what God wanted him to be so he could fulfill God’ s call on his life…..and be fulfilled by doing so.   Of course that could only benefit our family.  Much better than forcing my dear husband into a mold he didn’t fit into!  (And that didn’t benefit anybody!)




This has spilled into other areas of relationships as well.  I quit expecting my children to act or be a certain way so I could look good, or because I thought that’s what a good Christian family should be.  I started saying “thank you” a whole lot more and praising God for the wonderful gifts they were to me.




I would say that the biggest antidote to expectations is gratitude.  I have suggested this before, but I’ll do so again–start a gratefulness journal.   Write down at least one thing you are grateful for each day.  You could even write three things–one thing you are grateful to God for, one thing you are grateful for in your husband, and one for your children (or even one for each of them!).  It is amazing how focusing your eyes in a different direction affects your heart and attitude–and then of course your words and actions!




I remember as God was teaching me to lay down my expectations, we were trying to sell a pop-up camper.  We had already dropped the price and didn’t want to go much lower.




We had lots of lookers but no takers.  Then one day, I came home from some errand, and Dallas told me he had sold the camper!




Of course I wondered how much.  He had come down even further on the price, but I felt peace about it.   He later told me he felt total freedom, that I wasn’t going to make him feel badly about dropping the price.  He specifically said he could tell I didn’t have expectations of him to do things a certain way.  Wow!




Yes, I was disappointed we had to lower the price, but I had total confidence in his judgment in this.




It was equally freeing to me!




Many times we try to hang onto control, either fueled by the fears and expectations or resulting in them.  Either way, once we learn where our true trust must lie (in Him), and quit putting it on those around us, we free ourselves and them to be who God created them to be!




I have found that our Lord’s ideas are far better, wiser and infinitely higher than mine!




I’ll write more about this, more specifically how this enemy can affect our relationships with our children.




If you have also been working on slaying this monster, please share what has been helpful to you!


Fabulous Family Friday–The Enemies of Relationships

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Maybe this should be subtitled:  Lessons I learned in the blueberry patch!


This past week I was pondering the enemies of relationships.


The one that really stood out is Efficiency.


Wait a minute!  Isn’t efficiency a good thing?  Get things done in a timely and efficient manner so we can spend more time with our children?


Yes….and no.


Like so many things in life, we can take it to an excess and still miss the most important things in life.


After all, Martha was no doubt an efficient homemaker and cook!  But she still missed “the one thing needful”.


The Pharisees were very efficient in their studies of the Scriptures, but they missed Jesus.


And sometimes, we mamas can be so focused on getting things done, that we miss true relational opportunities.


For example, you might be a busy mama of younger children and not be able to go to the blueberry patch to pick blueberries, but you can buy them already picked at a good price with some other moms.  That’s great!


But sometimes, it’s just easier and we never get around to picking blueberries with our children…and making memories.


It would be faster and cheaper sometimes to buy through a group, go pick up my blueberries, and then we could bag them together.  And there is nothing wrong with that.


But if we are always looking for the “easiest and cheapest” way to get things done, we may fall into a trap of missed opportunities to connect with the hearts of our children.


We have picked blueberries at the same patch for 12 years.   I’ve worn babies in carriers or had my older girls (12 and 10 at the time) push them around in strollers, and they remember watching the “little girls” (Anna, Bekah and Charissa) play in these old corn cribs pretending to be animals in cages! We would take a picnic lunch and pick off and on for 4-5 hours.


The girls have great memories–and this place is nostalgic for us! :)


I’m not meaning to make you feel guilty by any means!  I’m just using that as an example–sometimes there is a time to just buy the blueberries….but other times, it might be time to spend a little more time, maybe even more money….to do something with your children that will stay with them forever.


Many moms (myself included) often think “I need to get this done” and just don’t feel they can harness the energy of those little ones. They’re playing happily in the other room–I can get supper on the table faster without them!   But of course it doesn’t last-usually someone needs you before you get the main dish put together!


Taking your children with you into your life, your work, will do two things.


1. It will say to them how much you enjoy their company, that even though you could get it done faster without them, you wanted their company. (Hmm….wonder if God ever feels that way?!)


2. It will train them in lifeskills that they will need, helping things to become second nature and helping your child to become more productive as he/she gets older.


My daughters can outpick me two 5 lb. cans of blueberries to my one!   Mama, those years where I picked the bulk of the berries but took them with me has paid off.  Now I better be getting lessons from them!  LOL!


Dishes, meals, laundry, gardening, cleaning…you could do it all faster and better.  But you will short-change your children learning skills that will help them become and even feel productive in the family.  Sending them off to play all the time might be easier…for now.


I would say most of us understand this in theory, but it is SO hard to do! That’s when we may need to let go of our standard—maybe you could buy berries already picked and get them done up in a few hours.  But then again, maybe you could take the littles to a nice patch, have a picnic lunch, make it a day, even get fewer blueberries picked….and tie heartstrings in a way nothing else would!


It is important to get things done, I realize, but it’s more important to spend time with your children, even if it means a chore isn’t done in a timely manner or not as efficiently as you’d like.


It can be a fine line between efficiency for efficiency’s sake and efficiency as a good steward.  The key is–does this build relationships, or take away from them?


Are you finding ways to enjoy their company while being efficient–or are you pushing them off, using the excuse “if I get this done quickly then I can spend more time with them”?  Because typically, something else rushes in, and then another thing, and then….you get the picture!  The tyrrany of the urgent wins again….and you still didn’t really spend more time with them.


So efficiency can be a friend….or a foe!


You decide by what’s in your heart.






(Next week we’ll look at the enemy of Expectations.)