Sitting here with a glass of my new favorite wine and watching Moana (yes, a child’s animated film. I love the music score and the tropical Hawaiian location.) I can’t help but be overwhelmed with a sense of thankfulness for all that has happened this past week. If you don’t know, my husband and I just got back from a 6 day trip to Oahu. We sat in the sun, drank in the tropical smells and sites, rode a catamaran, toured Kualoa Ranch (This is where many of the films in Hawaii are made!) ate incredible food, and spent some much needed alone time as a married couple. We left our almost 4 1/2-month-old sweet babe at home with both our families which was quite a challenge for me being such a control freak. My husband and I never got an actual honeymoon so when our families offered to take care of sweet Keira we decided to take advantage of the offer! (more on this later)
Have you ever planned a vacation or a trip and had an idea in your mind of how perfectly everything was going to go? Like spending time dreaming, picturing, and fantasizing about everything it’s going to be? I booked our vacation package through Costco which I will probably do again. It was so reasonable and easy! There were so many awesome choices of hotel, location, length of stay, and more. I wanted to really pull out all the stops because my husband and I had never been away for more than 2 days together. I upgraded to a luxury suite and ocean front view. I booked us on the top floor right below the pent house suites. I knew nothing about the hotel I booked us at (big mistake) but I liked the price and the location didn’t seem too far from things looking at google maps online briefly.
Friends. I must admit I am horrible at expectation management. This is not good when going on vacations because as my sweet and wise sister reminded me “nothing goes perfectly on vacation.” So many things. went. WRONG. The first 2-3 days was me complaining and panicking because nothing was meeting my expectations (I know how horrid this sounds.) I have been to Oahu twice before and they were both pretty fantastic experiences. This was my husband’s first time and I had this unreasonable expectation that I was going to plan the PERFECT trip for him where nothing would go wrong. I think my wrong thinking was that if the vacation didn’t go perfectly than I had somehow failed my husband. I can see looking back now that this thinking is so ridiculous. The things that went wrong were, for the most part, completely out of my control.
-We had ants in our room (how did those little buggers make it to the 25th floor?!)
-I booked a tour incorrectly and we couldn’t get transport until the very last minute
(I actually got a call at 6:10 am the morning from the tour site asking if we needed transport. We had called too late the day before after the office had closed and couldn’t leave a message and figured we would have to take a loss on the tour. Nobody we know called on our behalf and I believe it was God fulfilling our needs that the site called us and provided transport!)
-The hotel I booked turned out to be a little further from the beach and from the main Waikiki strip than I realized and we did A LOT of walking (actually a blessing as we both got quite a workout in each day)
-I had planned to take Brian hiking at Diamond Head, my favorite hike! We were both so sore (feet throbbing) by our last two days we skipped the hike and did more relaxing and eating instead. Again really a blessing looking back as we both got more down time together.
By the third day of our vacation, I was a mess. I remember having a conversation with my sister who travels really frequently for work and just losing it. I remember sobbing and telling her that I felt like I had really let my husband down and ruined our whole vacation. First off let me just say thank the Lord for wise sisters who can handle our breakdowns. She calmly started reminding me of some of the vacations she had taken and all the things that had gone wrong and bumps she had hit. We talked about the fact that just because things don’t go perfectly doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy, love, and cherish the good moments. We take the good with the challenging. This really helped change my perspective. It didn’t mean I didn’t still get bummed when we continued to hit little road blocks or difficulties (The history museum we planned on visiting was closed the last day because I forgot to check the hours of operation, but we had a blast taking pictures with some of the tanks and cannons outside the facility!) I just decided to try to enjoy myself despite those hiccups.
I have always struggled with managing my expectations whether it was school, work, vacations, being a wife, a mum, whatever it is. I think it because I expect perfection or some ideal of myself that just isn’t real. Especially with my chronic illness, depression, and anxiety. I have the expectation that I should live, act, work, parent like everyone else when my reality is just different and probably will be.
Some of you may know that I recently purchased a book called “Nothing to Prove” by Jennie Allen. If you have not read this book I highly recommend it! This is one of those books you want to highlight every single sentence of and plaster it on your eyeballs so you never forget a single word of it. The amount of truth it is filled with is so refreshing. It has and continues to meet me right where I am in my life. There are so many hurts I am trying to carry in my life and carry alone in my “backpack” (as Jennie calls it). Hurts I don’t like to really talk about or name or say out loud because I want to be ok, look ok, perform, measure up, and appear to be enough. There is so much F.R.E.E.D.O.M. in reading the words on the pages of this book. Learning that I am not enough and that is ok. This vacation is just another way I can tell that I am not. What incredible freedom that statement brings to me. Christ has already been ENOUGH for me for all of eternity. (I will be talking a lot about her book in many blogs to come because I just can’t get enough of how freeing it is)
Here is one of my favorite quotes from the past couple chapters I have read:
“Jesus didn’t come despereately needing something from us, He came to BE WITH US. ”
“We struggle with our backpacks filled with weights we never name. And we are doing it alone. And we are doing it disconnected rather than looking into each other’s eyes and saying “I’m dying here.” If we could just utter the words somebody could speak the truth of grace over us. They could remind us of God and his love for us and pray for us and, for goodness’ sake, fight for us.”
(in her book Jennie Allen talks about the concept of carrying around weights or heavy burdens in a “backpack” like Reese Witherspoon does in the movie WILD. As a visual she continues to mention this weighted “backpack” and how we lug it around with us.)
This whole trip was a huge blessing to me. I am so thankful I had such incredible people at home taking good care of my baby girl so I could spend quality time with my husband. I am so thankful that I serve a God who shows me grace when I don’t have the right outlook or attitude. I can look back on this trip with such a happy heart and a pocket full of incredible memories and experiences.
I can’t wait to go back again and take my sweet girl! I’m praying that the next time I can manage my expectations just a little better.