Man, it sure does feel good to get that approval of someone I respect, admire, or love. Especially if said “one” is in some sort of higher up position of authority. Recently I felt unapproved of, by someone I respect greatly, but don’t actually know that well. I sat on that for a while and meditated on those feelings and that “need” to be validated by other humans. Here’s what I came up with.
What was going on inside me went far beyond wanting approval. My moods hinged on responses from my friends, acquaintances, and even people I didn’t know. My mood went up if I got a positive text message from a friend or came crashing down if no one initiated contact with me. So I began to unravel all that desire to be liked and approved of by others and there was a lot of that going on in my heart or my head. What would sting the most is if I got silence after exposing my feelings, yet saw another getting comfort or approval. I’m not writing about being thin skinned, but that initial feeling of “I wonder why I showed my heart. I knew I should have kept closed up.”
My ideas about what should happen, my thoughts on what’s fair, and my annoyances about b*tch behavior are all expectations. What would happen if I expected nothing? When I had my first, second, and third child, I expected bad things. Especially with the first. I heard horror story after horror story of how hard it would be (I was a single mom at the time). I didn’t really believe them because how bad could it be if my parents were so darn happy about it? But I didn’t know what to expect and so I expected nothing. The roller coaster of what I now know was PPD along with the aftermath of the attack that led to the pregnancy didn’t really surprise me too much because I was up for anything. I didn’t expect anything from this child. I didn’t expect him to make me feel good or to fill a need or to even be my bundle of joy. I just knew he was coming. And I was really sad that I wasn’t married.
Now, 8 years later I am in awe of how this little person can love so much and so innocently. I am not that great of a mother(due to my bouts of depression), but he treats me and tells me often that I am the world’s best mom. All 3 of my children do. I was not expecting that. I noticed that I sometimes care about what someone I barely know thinks of me more than my own children. Thank you Lord for showing me that.
Then came my husband. In the beginning he misbehaved quite a bit. It shocked him when I got upset about it. His previous girlfriends knew that misbehaving was a part of the relationship so they put up with it. He says that he married me because I didn’t. We got married and I didn’t expect much. To be honest, I expected very little. I kept divorce as an option, if needed. Well, my husband and I went through WW3 and survived. What we went through in our first few years of marriage most people don’t go through in a lifetime together. Christ bonded us together with His mighty hand. Often times when I think back to those days I can see a visible hand in my memory pumping my husband’s chest to keep his heart beating. He almost died several times in a 2 week period. I almost didn’t make it through that 2 week period. When it was time for “Chris” the person to come back to me, I didn’t know what to expect so I expected nothing. Not the worst, but nothing. I could have expected an apology or his undying love, but the Lord led me to expect nothing and give him everything. I didn’t owe him anything, but I chose to give him myself. I chose to give him a wife.
There have been so many times since the beginning of our marriage that I wanted to take “breaks” and go stay at my parent’s house for a bit… and a few times it almost came to that. I am sure he felt equally frustrated with me, although he never wanted to leave. He would have been content to just be roommates. What stopped us? What kept us from being so angry at each other? Taking our expectations and throwing them out the window. There have been times I had to be the one to start and several times Chris would stop dead in his tracks during a big fight and just apologize from the bottom of his heart. Of course I would assume he was manipulating me and keep going. Because he apologized with no expectations, he didn’t expect me to love him back or apologize back, eventually I settled and was able to choose to lay down my anger as well.
As humans, we may think we are owed kindness, love, and gratitude for our efforts. Friends, we are owed nothing. It’s a cold fallen world. I thank God He doesn’t give me what is truly owed to me after a lifetime of selfishness and a short stint as a thief and drug addict. If I could just remember that I am owed nothing and owe others nothing, I will be just fine. However, along with that, because I belong to the family of Christ and a piece of Him resides in me, I choose to show kindness, love, and forgiveness as He leads. I lay down my expectations and hope to not pick them up again the next time I open my heart.
Thanks for reading!
p.s. If you have a spouse and/or children, be good to them today. Even if you don’t think they deserve it. There have been so many times I have not deserved the loving random acts of kindness my hubby and kids show me, but it’s what makes life bearable on those days. I’ll try to remember to cherish the precious family Christ placed in my life. Love them with no expectations. Some days they are all I’ve got. 🙂