Confessions Of A Recovering Idealist

Dec
2009
04

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recoveringidealist

It was Christmas day, 1999. Yuri and I had been married a week shy of one year. We lived in alumni housing at Christ For the Nations where we had met and graduated from Bible College. Our first home was a small one-bedroom apartment with a borrowed kitchen table. We had a floral Victorian wood framed hand-me-down love seat which sat in front of a TV stand bought from Walmart and an old turn dial TV that was also given to us. We were sitting on our love seat opening the last present when I glanced over at the clock to see the time. It was then that I realized our first Christmas had lasted all of 15 minutes. I was fighting back tears and really an all out explosion of disappointment. There we sat two newlyweds from dramatically different pasts. It was kind of like city girl raised with birthday months and holiday extravaganzas meets boy raised on hippy commune in Hawaii running around surfing and exploring the island oblivious of his humble holidays. My very own Tarzan except raised by hippies instead of gorillas, thus the name Yuri Lite Star.

Since I was a little girl as far back as I could remember our family would drive out to meet our extended family in the central valley of California. Christmas day consisted of stockings first thing in the morning. We then started the cooking and grazing on appetizers (usually amazing tamales home-made by someone’s Aunt or Grandma we knew) and then there was the grand feast. Usually around noonish we had “presents time.” We watched movies, had dessert, and were lazy together. Christmas lasted ALL day long, not 15 minutes.

As I sat on our love seat I thought for a moment how special it was our first Christmas together, it held the opportunity of starting something new. I could have been grateful for our love, that God had brought the two of us together to create a beautiful new thing even though it meant that we would also have to work at it. BUT NO, I didn’t pass the content wife test. I instead fell apart in all out drama true to my thespian roots. I’ll never forget the look on my husbands face, I saw two things, first I saw what was like a confused “What the heck … I don’t get you” look coupled with his own set of disappointments mixed with a feeling of a failed Christmas. So there I stood in my first married Christmas … remembering moments where I saw the yellow caution tape showing me my boundaries yet I didn’t head my hearts sound advice and instead was left with a memory stamped and filed: DEATH BY EXPECTATIONS.

Being a idealist all my life, I’ve come to learn through great trial that expectations and disappointment walk hand in hand down a isle of misery for myself and all I drag down the isle with me. I’ve learned on more than oneoccasion that the REAL world doesn’t adhere to “Marissa’s perfect little world” rules.  And WOW, get this, neither do God’s plans for me. I am so glad that God has come and shattered my fabricated world and blessed me greater than my own highest hopes for it. He raised the roof so to say! He started with truth, the kind that humbles and sets free at the same time. Though it had the initial sting of correction it came wrapped like a present of great love. Jesus has an amazing way with our hearts … He takes pain and disappointment and turns them into joy and blessings. I’ve learned that participating in idealism and setting unrealistic expectations is actually serving an idol that’s not real and is built on subtle lies of the enemy that are 90 percent truth mixed with good intentions and 10 percent deceptive thinking. When we build castles in the sky we set up others for failure because the plain truth is … people can’t fly. Unmet expectations have only led me to feelings of frustration and pain usually fueled by the voice of the enemy. Which is not the voice of love. Its time to train our hearts to be alert of the voices we entertain and choose Jesus; the voice of love.

It started with a self-sabotaged Christmas and went on to countless birthdays that I tried to hint and pre-manipulate out of fear my husband would somehow forget or not make it “special”. I served the fear that he would not meet my expectations, when really I never let him out of the box to rise to the occasion.  It took nine years into my marriage before I let God begin to show me what was at work in my heart. I needed to set my husband free of my expectations and live with a grateful heart letting my supplications be known to God. I also needed to trust God that he would teach my husband how to love me the way I needed to be loved. As long as I had a death grip on him, God couldn’t work. I needed to surrender him and the expectations I had placed on him to God.

Philippians 4:67 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer andsupplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

And in true God style … miracles followed.

It was my thirty third birthday. I had no preconceived ideas leading up to my birthday … No “it’s two weeks until my birthday … it’s one week until my birthday” reminders.  To my surprise my husband who was left to think for himself planned not one but two birthday parties for me. The first was a princess birthday party with my four boys, a balloon, and a princess cake with a tiara on top. We had pizza, per my boys request (because that is what is served at all great kid parties right?! wink). They went around and told me what they loved most about me, my favorite being the compliment I received from my four year old about my beautiful eyeballs.

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Next he planned a romantic dinner for the two of us at a great Sushi restaurant (and, well I have to tell you I love me some sushi) in Dallas. My best friend from high school who lives in Dallas was invited and showed up at the end of dinner and was like the icing on the cake. It was better than anything I could have planned. It showed me that he knew me and knew what mattered to me. I just hadn’t given him the chance to show me.

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Dealing with expectations and the disappointments they bring takes on many different faces. Your situations may look differently than mine did, but the frustration and pain you’ve experienced may feel similar. I challenge you to allow the Holy Spirit to shift your perspective and allow you to see the people and situations in your life in a fresh new way.

So as we are going into the Christmas season amidst a ton of fun but unrealistic portrayals of Christmas, let’s take a few moments and let the people in our lives shine or even give them the freedom to not shine. May we take a moment to think how we can bless the ones we love with a gesture of kindness the way it would bless them, not necessarily us. I believe that’s what love looks like; the perfect outfit of unselfishness with accessories of gratitude; the beauty of the Son that becomes us … which is what Christmas is really all about.

Lord,

As we walk into the next few weeks leading up to Christmas may we find opportunities to celebrate your life by laying ours down for others, like ultimately you came to do for us. May the gifts we give to you be the love we give to others in our lives. May we offer them the grace to be who they are (only changed by you), extending a love that covers a multitude of faults, and hope that believes the best even in those who don’t always believe the best in us. Be the Lord of our hearts, ever changing us to see and be more like you.

AMEN!

Signed a recovering idealist in the Father’s hands,

~ Ris

You can also see this post at: Destiny in Bloom

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