Faulty Expectations


“To learn to see- to accustom the eye to calmness, to patience, and to allow things to come up to it; to defer judgment, and to acquire the habit of approaching and grasping an individual case from all sides. This is the first preparatory schooling of intellectuality. One must not respond immediately to a stimulus; one must acquire a command of the obstructing and isolating instincts.”
— Friedrich NietzscheTwilight of the Idols, Or, How to Philosophize With the Hammer

I went to pick up my new eyeglasses today.  After putting the first pair on, I disappointingly said to the salesclerk, “Oh dear… I can’t see distance well at all.  I can see you clearly, and I can read this card pretty well; but the distance is blurry.”  Turns out the pair I had on were my new computer glasses, only designed for seeing well in the mid-range.  She excused herself for a minute and came back with my other new pair of eyeglasses, the regular pair.  When I put those on, I could see quite well in the distance and fairly well close up.

As I drove home, I pondered this experience, thinking to myself, “Isn’t that just like relationships?  We expect someone to be something they aren’t intended to be, and then we get disappointed because they don’t meet our expectations.”

What would happen if we change our faulty thinking?  Just as my perspective regarding my computer glasses changed after the salesclerk brought out my regular pair, and I adapted to how the computer glasses were intended to work, I firmly believe that our relationships with people we are not pleased with could change, too, once we adapt our perspective on how we see them.

When we get to know people for who they are, and for who God intended them to be, we will find that they are quite delightful to know.  We stop expecting them to be something they aren’t.  We stop trying to make them into what we want them to be.  We accept them for who they are.  When we do that, they can function as they were intended to function, and we just might find that we are grateful for what they add to our lives.

Seeing much clearer now …

Lori Lynn

Rejection


The one thing everybody’s looking for is unconditional love. We all need somebody to love us just the way we are – Joyce Meyer

There are days that just lend themselves to moments of reflection… when we look back over our lives and see things that maybe weren’t quite so obvious at the time or that, when taken together, impact us in such a way that we realize our perception of things may be a bit skewed.  There may be a moment that has such a significant impact on us that it forever changes how we view ourselves and those around us.  For me, that moment happened when I was in the sixth grade.

Everyone in my grade signed an “I-Hate-Lori Lynn” petition–everyone, that is, except for one other girl who was also an outcast at the time.  I was devastated.  Even though everything pretty much blew over by the end of that summer and I was friends with everyone again in seventh grade, it had a profound effect on me.  It has caused me to spend the majority of my life thinking people don’t like me.  I have spent a large majority of time thinking there is something wrong with me.  I have often felt that I’m not good enough.  It is only now that I am getting older that I realize it doesn’t matter so much, because we are all flawed in some way.  The older I get, the more I realize almost everyone deals with low self-esteem or insecurity at some point in their life.  Despite that realization, I still have moments of sadness and loneliness that stem from that root of rejection.

Rejection causes us to act weird.  We may try too hard to make or maintain friendships.  We may be afraid to speak up, too timid to make a suggestion or give our opinion on something.  We may fall into a pit of despair.  We see everything we’re “not” instead of the beautiful creation that we are.  I heard Joyce Meyer say once that it is proven that at any given point in time, there are always going to be 10% of people who will not like you.  Instead of lamenting that statistic, I have learned to view it in a different light.  I now say to myself, “Well, too bad for that person.  It’s their loss!”

The father of the man I dated before I met my husband absolutely hated me (more rejection).  I never quite understood why, as he never had an opportunity to get to know me very well.  He had formed some preconceived idea of me and refused to get to know me better to see whether or not his preconception was accurate.  That bothered me for years, especially since I really wanted to marry his son.  I always thought I wasn’t good enough for this very well-to-do family.  I thought the flaw was in me.  I found out later that the man was an atheist.  When I found that out, my first thought was, “Good grief, no wonder he didn’t like me!”  What I find really amazing is how God was using my encounter with that man to change me on the inside.  A few years ago, when that man was dying, I felt so compelled to pray for him.  God laid on my heart this intensity to pray that I had never felt before.  As much as I disliked that man here on earth, because I saw him as a barrier to my having a permanent relationship with his son, I nonetheless sure hope I see him once I enter the pearly gates of heaven.  I am hoping that for a few minutes before he breathed his last bit of air here on earth that he had an encounter with the Lord that forever changed his place in eternity; and how awesome would that be if my prayers made an impact on his final dwelling place.

Any time we enter into a relationship with someone, we risk potential rejection.  We have to ask ourselves, is it worth the risk.  Is my desire to know this person more important than the potential risk of rejection?  What do I have to lose?  What do I have to gain?

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to lay myself bare before someone I had been in a relationship with in my 20’s, a relationship that ended too soon due to a rash decision on my part.  This was a person I loved deeply, and I had never completely worked through my feelings for him.  I was able to express my feelings and give him the opportunity to do the same.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t in the same place I was, and there was nothing for him to say.  I’m not sure if I was looking for closure or if I was looking for love, but it didn’t take long for the old feelings of rejection to surface.  I realize now that the feelings I thought were there on a mutual level probably were never there to begin with; and I guess more than anything that makes me sad.  Whereas I often long for what was, I am realizing perhaps the majority of it was just in my mind.  Reality can really bite sometimes.

I tried explaining to my husband when he was home this past week that part of what I long for is to matter.  I want to matter to someone.  I want to matter to the world around me.  I want to help people and make a difference in their lives.  I wonder sometimes if perhaps I’m my own worst enemy.  Have I let the rejection in my past prevent me from taking hold of the love of those around me?  Do I have a tendency to reject myself and, due to a fear of more rejection from others, beat them to the draw so to speak by projecting rejection onto myself before they can do it?

We can let rejection define who we are, or we can ask God to open our eyes to Truth.  It may be that there is something we need to change about ourselves, because our behavior is abrasive or repulsive to those around us.  That conviction is necessary in order to make a change.  On the other hand, it may be that there is something in the other person’s past that causes them to see us inaccurately.  Then the problem isn’t with us; it’s with the other person.  The best thing we can do in that case is pray (continue to be kind and considerate in the meantime).

I am learning that if a relationship is part of God’s plan for my life, it will come to pass.  I am also learning that it isn’t so important what other people think about me; what’s important is what I think about myself and what God thinks about me.  After all, I am blessed to be chosen by the King.

Wrapped in His embrace…

Lori Lynn

Dear LORD, when I am feeling rejected, help me remember that I am chosen by You.  Remind me again that You love me.  Wrap me in a holy hug and warm me with an extra measure of Your Spirit’s presence.  I love you, LORD.  Amen.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgGUKWiw7Wk]

 

 

 

Life Lesson #1: Deal With Your Stuff


“A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”    — Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV)

It’s very difficult when writing a blog to know just how much to share with your readers.  As a writer, I want to touch my readers’ hearts.  I want them to read what I write and say, “Oh my gosh.  I know exactly what she’s talking about!”, or “I SO get where she’s coming from.”  At the same time, I don’t want to share so much that it portrays people in my life in a bad light; because there are two sides to every story, and you are really only hearing mine.  Suffice it to say, because of poor choices I have made in the past, my life has not exactly gone the way I had hoped; but I am hopeful that some of my mistakes can be used for good in teaching others not to do what I did.

Lesson #1:  Do NOT marry someone until you have dealt with your “stuff.”

When I married my husband, I knew I did not love him.  I did know he was a good Christian man, and he had a good heart; and I truly believed that God would help me grow to love him in time.  I was 28 years old, desperately wanted to be a wife and mother, and felt the biological clock ticking.  I had just come out of a four-year off-again-on-again relationship with a man whom I loved more than anything but who had no intention of marrying me anytime soon because of family pressure on his side.  It was actually this man who sat in church with me one day, looked out over the congregation, saw my future husband in one of the front rows, pointed and said, “You should go out with that guy.”  My initial reaction was, “Oh my gosh.  No way.  He is SO not my type!”  (Now I realize that many of you highly-intelligent readers will be asking, “Why did you go out with this guy for four years when he is telling you to go out with other people?”)  Can I just say, “It’s what insecure people do.”  It’s also what led me to marry my husband.

Which brings me back to dealing with our stuff…

We can drag an awful lot of baggage, which we aren’t even aware of, into our marriages.  Are you familiar with any of these:

  • Insecurity
  • Low self-esteem/unworthiness
  • Unresolved relationship issues
  • Poverty (lack of money or love)
  • Emotional/physical/verbal abuse
  • Codependency
  • Anger
  • Mental health issues

If you haven’t dealt with them BEFORE you tie the knot, trust me when I say that you WILL deal with them at some point after.  All of the baggage mentioned above comes with a bountiful set of emotions.  Emotions get triggered in our brains from the darnedest things…  a sound, a smell, a touch, a look, a word, etc.  You may think that you can suppress emotions, but they can only be suppressed for so long.  Emotions are alive, so suppressing them is like burying something alive.  They will eventually erupt and find their way out; and when they do, it isn’t pretty!

I’ve been married for 19 years.  I can honestly say, it has been a struggle from Day 1.  On my wedding night, I was crying because I had a new last name.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  I had every intention of changing my name when I got married.  It wasn’t having a new last name that was the problem; it had everything to do with thinking, “Oh my gosh, I can’t go back.  I’ve made a horrible mistake.  This is not what I wanted.”  I don’t come from a belief system that says, “Get married today and divorced tomorrow.”  I had made a covenant before God.  This was serious business.  For what it’s worth, my husband was probably feeling the same way.  All of the sudden he was faced with a hysterical wife who was not at all like the woman he thought he had married.

In retrospect, I think I was more in love with the IDEA of getting married (the ring, the dress, the flowers, walking down the aisle) than I was with the man I had agreed to marry.  Also, in my insecurity, I didn’t believe anyone else would ever ask me to marry him.  My husband did; therefore, I thought I better jump at the opportunity.

I had had similar feelings (that I was making a mistake) that morning but had brushed them off as wedding-day jitters.  At that point, I remember thinking, “I can’t back out now.  Everyone has flown out here for the wedding.  My parents have put a lot of expense into this.”

Both of us have lamented the fact that we did not have premarital counseling before our wedding day.  We were supposed to have it.  We even went to our first session; unfortunately, right in the middle of it, our pastor got an emergency phone call and had to end the session.  We somehow never rescheduled.  I think the pastor thought, “These are two mature individuals who obviously love each other, both from good Lutheran stock, so they will be fine.”  (Of course, I have no idea what he was actually thinking.  Pre-marriage counseling for us may have just slipped his mind.)  I do think, though, that many of the conflicts we have struggled with over the years would have surfaced in those counseling sessions, and we could have been spared quite a bit of the heartache we’ve experienced (or at least been a little bit more prepared for it).

So, why are we still married?  In this Married-Today-Divorced-Tomorrow Age, I’d like to think it’s because neither one of us can come to terms with breaking the covenant we made before our God; and we’re both too stubborn to give up.  In reality, it isn’t because of anything WE are thinking or doing.  The truth is that God is the third strand in our cord, and where our two strands have broken, His is holding on.  That means there is a purpose in all of this.  That means that just as an ugly ragged-edged rock can be put into a tumbler and bounced all over for days on end and come out a beautiful gem, our marriage has the potential to come out of this as a beautiful thing to show others.  It means that all of the junk our children are being forced to wade through is strengthening them and building them up for service to others.  They will have a sense of compassion and empathy from having “been there” that will give them remarkable insight in helping others through the maze.  I have also come to realize that divorce does not separate us from our stuff.  If not dealt with, our stuff follows us into any marriage we enter into.

Maybe you are in a similar place.  Maybe you’re about to get married and you realize you’re not getting married for the right reasons.  Maybe you’re already married, were lucky enough to have been in love when you walked down the aisle, but now find you have drifted apart.  Maybe you’re struggling with a wayward or mentally-ill child, and it is wreaking havoc in your marriage.  (I have a daughter who is ADHD/NLD/and borderline Asperger’s.  Trust me when I say I KNOW the havoc mental health issues inflict on a marriage.)  Maybe you are a single person who feels the only way you can be loved is to sleep with every person who asks you to with the hope that maybe one of them will propose.  Maybe you are the child of an alcoholic who has become a workaholic to compensate for the love you never got, and you’ve reached the point where you realize you’ve accumulated a lot of things but you have no one to pass them on to.

We all have issues.  We all struggle.  But there is hope.  We CAN deal with our stuff before it deals with us.  We CAN break the cycle that we’re in … be it codependency, verbal abuse, anger.  We CAN stop it.  It isn’t easy.  It means making some tough decisions, but remember that it is for your good and the good of those who come after you.  Dare to be the difference in your future child (or grandchild’s life).  Dare to be the one who breaks the chain.  And remember… the best thing you can do is to deal with it BEFORE you get married!

Holding on in Christ…

Lori Lynn

Dear Lord… Thank you for being the third strand in my frayed and broken cord.  Without you, I would have been done a long time ago.  Continue to show me in a myriad of ways that You have a purpose in all that I am going through and give me the strength to continue holding on until beauty shines through.  Give me the courage to change what I know needs to be changed; if not for my sake, for my children’s sake.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.