Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
The snow falling this past weekend reminded me of the wintry mornings when my children were little. There was one storm in particular that had everything closed for the day. This gave me that gift of time to prepare a special breakfast for the family. I had all the ingredients to make one of the kids’ favorite treats, cinnamon surprise rolls. They loved helping to dip the marshmallows in cinnamon sugar and butter, then wrapping a crescent roll around them before putting them into the oven.
I had just started to assemble the ingredients and hadn’t even opened the crescent rolls when I heard a little voice call out, “Mommy, me help you!” My son toddled into the kitchen dressed in his footie pajamas and not waiting for a response, used all his strength to slowly push a stool over to the counter where I was working. He looked at the roll and said, “me do it?” I helped him to begin peeling the label off . When he completed that task (leaving piles of blue and silver confetti on the floor) he looked at me and said, “Now?” I nodded my approval and he slammed the tube against the kitchen counter… nothing happened. With every ounce of strength in his body he tried again, still nothing happened. Frustrated, he handed the tube to me and said, “you do it mommy”.
I took the tube while he watched every movement I made. I slammed it on the edge of the counter, breaking the seal, allowing the dough to ooze out. I half anticipated a cheer from my son, but when I looked down at him, he peered up at me with tear filled eyes, whimpering “ Where’s the little man?”
The little man? I immediately knew what he was looking for. His little toddler heart was expecting the Pillsbury Dough Boy to jump out of the tube when it broke, just like in the commercials. I had to stifle my giggle as I tried to explain and comfort his disappointment at the same time. It didn’t take much time, before I had him distracted with marshmallows, cinnamon and the fun of wrapping each one in dough.
Have you ever experienced circumstances where reality did not match your expectations? In my child’s case, it was media images that inspired his false hope. Sometimes the expectations are set by our own dreams and goals and sometimes they are set by others. It’s not a question as to whether we will ever experience shattered expectations, but how will we respond when it occurs. Do we get angry, cry, pout, ignore, or respond in some other way that shuts us down?
I know that my response to shattered expectations can lead to me to a place of disappointment, worry, stress, anxiety and more. With my toddler, it was easy to distract him from his initial disappointment, but how do I bring myself back to a place of acceptance and move on? It’s not as easy or quick for me but seeking wisdom and counsel from others can provide balance. Focusing on prayer or attitude of joy and thanksgiving helps me more than just deal with disappointing situations but also grow in understanding and God’s purpose. Paul reminds us in his first letter to the Thessalonians, Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I’ll be the first to admit, that rejoicing always is not the easiest thing to do when expectations have been shattered, but having that mind of joy, prayer and thanksgiving, can truly help to redeem a seemingly disappointing situation into one from which I can learn and grow.
Dear Loving God, You yourself knew many shattered expectations including the first betrayal of Eve and Adam in the garden. Yet you continued to love, sacrifice and guide. Help me to know that when reality does not meet my expectations, you have a plan, a plan to give me hope and a future. Sometimes, my plan is not the best and I need to trust in you and not my own understanding by seeking your will through prayer and gratitude. Thank you Lord! Amen