I know, I know. The title says it all doesn’t it?
Today wasn’t my best day. Not even close. It started great, but ONE thing went differently than I expected and I’m sorry to say I let it ruin my attitude for the rest of the day. Yes, I did say for the rest of the day.
Have you ever read “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst?
If not, you really should. This poor kid Alexander just has it rough one day and nothing goes quite like he’d wanted or expected it to. And whenever I read this to Tid Bit, I always mention what the author never does, and that is that we have a choice to let our disappointments continue to ruin our day or not.
Today, I’m very embarrassed to say that I did not model that very good advice that I give to my own son. And very unfortunately, he was completely aware of my crappy attitude and behavior….and during his prayers tonight prayed that I’d have a better day and a better attitude tomorrow. WOW! Nothing like a 4 year old’s prayers to kick you in the pants!
So you’re probably wondering what went wrong today and I wish I could say it was something truly awful, but it wasn’t. It all stemmed from me being selfish and just having a crappy attitude when things didn’t go like I’d expected.
This morning we were getting ready for church and I made sure that Hudson would squeeze in at least an hour nap so that hopefully, just hopefully I’d be able to sit through the entire service today. I think I’ve mentioned before that in the 14 months since he was born, I have been able to sit through an entire church service just once without being called out to get him (or in the earlier days having to go out to nurse him.) It’s been a LONG time since I’ve been able to be a part of an entire service…and I really miss it. And today was a special day because our church has been collecting offerings over the past month to distribute to 7 community organizations that benefit the homeless, the elderly, the orphaned, the widows, the poor in finances and in spirit. Today, we were totalling the monies and distributing checks to these groups. Last year the goal was to raise $16,000 and give each group $2K, but we ended up raising $64,000 and each group was given a check for $8K….obviously exciting to see how generous our church body has been. (If your’e wondering, I think we have about 600 members.) And all of this is above the normal giving. So this year we wanted to try to give more. And I really wanted to be able to be a part of the celebration service today. And the plan was to come a little late so that Hudson could nap, and hopefully I could be there for the whole service.
We walked in, and no sooner than I had begun to look for a seat, the children’s pastor asked me if I could please help out in the nursery because they were short staffed. And right there is where I let go of my day….because there, my friends, is where my expectations weren’t met.
I’m sitting here typing and shaking my head at myself and my awful attitude. I was upset because this one time I was really trying to make it work for me, and I was asked to work for someone else. It’s so ironic too…I fell apart because I wanted to be involved with serving “the greater good” with our community partners, but at the same time my entire attitude just frankly sucked at having to serve in a capacity different from what I had set my mind upon.
And to add insult to injury, Hudson actually stayed in his nursery class the entire time. I guess I should be thankful that he did it, but instead it just made me feel more upset that everything I had done to insure that had actually worked…and I didn’t get any of the benefit of those efforts like I’d hoped today.
On the way home, Tid Bit pitched a fit because he didn’t get to jump in the bounce house at the Celebration Lunch after church. Then Hudson started crying too. My head hurt because I had cried before I went in to work in the nursery, and I was even more frustrated feeling at the picnic with all of my friends who were talking about how amazing the service was…and to give over $12K to each community group this year…how incredible. (Which it is by the way!) But I had wanted to be there. I felt rotten. Then the Hubs said something that made me mad, but I don’t even remember what it was, so by the time we got home, I was in tears, I yelled at Tid Bit, hit the side of the car (and busted a blood vessel in my finger), and to really add to my ridiculousness, I kicked a baby gate over on my way to put myself in Time Out in my room. Wow….I am awesome…I behaved exactly like my almost 5 year old. And now I’m telling you all about it.
I, friends, had a temper tantrum.
Have I mentioned that I’m not 5… but 32?!
Hopefully by the end here, you will maybe feel sort of better if you too have days like this. If you don’t, then I really would like to soak up some of your awesomeness.
SO here’s the thing that keeps coming in my mind today. And if you know me well, I’m sure I’ve said this in person plenty of times too. Thanks to my friend, Trisha, who years ago said something to me that has always stuck….
And when you think about it….it’s true.
How many times do we get bent out of shape because something didn’t go like we expected? We expected to have a great birthday present, but instead we got a movie that we didn’t want in a bag with a kid picking his nose on it from our spouse. We expected that our kids would love that we took them to the zoo, but instead they pitch an all out fit when we don’t let them buy $10 worth of crackers to throw in the general direction of the giraffes who don’t eat them. We expect a raise in our job, but when it comes it’s just a slap in the face. And the list goes on doesn’t it?
When we expect things to go one way….we often set ourselves up for disappointment and/or resentment when they don’t.
And PS… Life doesn’t generally go as expected.
So today I’m reminded that I need to make sure that for one…I clearly need to get a good night’s sleep tonight! Two, my expectations need to be held more loosely. And three, I need to remember that serving is serving….whether it’s giving more than I’m comfortable with to the poor …..or helping out in the nursery so maybe someone new could put their kids in and enjoy the service. Serving is serving. And the reality is that no matter how you serve, it will require something of you.
Today for me, it required me to expect less and give more. And I sure hope that next time I do a better job of it in my heart as well.
What expectations do you have in your life that leave you throwing a tantrum when they’re not met? Do you place expectations on others that may set up your relationships with them for failure? When life doesn’t go like you expect, how do you respond?
I do want to say that today’s response isn’t my M.O. by any stretch of the imagination. It was just one of those days where it all hit me wrong…and it probably doesn’t help that I’m in a horomonal state of the month either…but still, no excuse. I want you to know that this confession is sadly the truth, but that it’s also not how I function normally when faced with a disappointment!