Wherever we look in the days and weeks leading up to Mother's Day there is every type of media urging people to buy things for their mom or wife that lets her know how much she is appreciated. Some creative ad campaigns bypass family altogether and aim their message straight at Mom: "Pamper yourself this Mother's Day!" or "You deserve a break on Mother's Day!". It is very easy for me to get caught up in the expectation of special treatment and gifts on Mother's Day, and indeed, every holiday. I have allowed myself to participate in this self-seeking attitude for not only this holiday, but Valentine's Day, my birthday, and anniversary.
For the past few years this has been my pattern when it comes to gift-giving holidays:
1. Drop reminders about the upcoming holiday, so my husband doesn't "forget" about it. Because he doesn't own a calendar and would never even realize the holiday was coming if I didn't remind him every other day for two weeks.
2. Drop hints about items I might like or things I might need. You know, subtle hints, like an itemized wishlist from Amazon.com organized by priority of want.
3. Build up high expectations of what the day will be like and how pampered and appreciated I'm going to feel when my husband presents me with flowers, massages my feet, cooks dinner, gives me that long-awaited and much-deserved gift, all while he watches the kids all day to "give me a break."
4. Be disappointed when the day comes and my (extremely high) expectations are not met.
5. Whine to my husband (in a very grown-up way, of course) about how disappointed I am and how unappreciated I feel because my fantasy was not fulfilled.
That doesn't sound very nice, does it? God didn't think so either, so for the past few holidays where this has been my pattern, He has been convicting me of my un-Christlike behavior.
Philippians 2:7-8 says,
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!"
Right before Jesus is betrayed, as he is washing his disciples' feet at the Last Supper, he says, "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them." John 13:14-17
How humbling it was to be reminded of the humility of Christ, who left His place in Heaven to come to Earth to live among sinners in order to save the very people who hated him...and I was whining about not feeling appreciated because my husband didn't buy me flowers?? Who do I think I am? I am nothing more than a wicked sinner who placed my trust and hope in Christ as my savior. I am owed nothing. I have been entrusted with the care of my family and my task is to serve them without any thought of earthly reward. Yes, some tokens of their appreciation on certain holidays would be nice and certainly welcomed, but this attitude that I deserve recognition and appreciation has got to go.
So, this Mother's Day, I haven't reminded my husband about the upcoming holiday (even though I've really wanted to!). I haven't dropped any hints about what I might like as a gift or an activity to do on the day. I am doing my best to not expect anything. But because he's an amazing husband, I have a feeling he'll remember the holiday and will plan something special for me. And he'll be able to do it without the burden of having to face my hissy fit disappointment if he doesn't get it just right.