It began during my late 20s. In many ways, it’s unavoidable after you graduate college.
I have been to dozens upon dozens of parties to celebrate the weddings and soon-to-be-born children of friends. For the past five years I’ve lived in a constant state of registries and gender reveals.
While I am thrilled for my friends who walked down the aisle and into marital bliss, I am also at a point of frustration.
Our society has a “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” mentality. No matter what we do, it has to be done in the biggest, most expensive and elaborate way possible. Let’s be honest, the first thing many of us do when we hear about a party or gathering (or even a casual get together) is binge-scroll Pinterest to make sure the party we throw not only serves its purpose but also fits into the what the internet deems a trendy party.
This phenomenon isn’t just true of hosts—if you’re bringing a gift or choosing an outfit, it better be Pinterest-approved, too.
This is especially true of getting married and having children.
For every wedding there’s an engagement party, “stock the bar party,” couple’s shower, family shower, friend shower, church shower, lingerie party for the bride, bachelorette vacation (one night simply won’t do) and the list goes on.
And these aren’t suggestions, they are requirements. A couple who doesn’t receive an onslaught of festivities will feel slighted. Every friend before them got five showers and mountains of gifts, so why shouldn’t they?
It’s as if someone watched the Kardashian wedding on TV and decided their chaotic, glamorous way of life was the new standard. We’ve been trying to keep up ever since.
If we are honest, no one really enjoys the chaos. We go mad creating exhaustive décor for events we’re too exhausted to enjoy. We drive ourselves crazy to keep up a lifestyle we don’t want to live in.
Yes, parties are fun. It feels great to be showered with love and affection. But it does not feel good to work overtime so you can prove the value of your friendship through the price tag of your perfectly packaged present.
You want to be happy for them. You are happy for them. But that nagging feeling in your gut never goes away. Was my gift good enough? Was my party as good as hers? Should I have decorated more?
Do We Even Give Jesus This Much Attention?
Recently, a thought struck me and really wrecked my heart.
Jesus, the savior of the whole world, was born of a virgin and died on the cross. We celebrate His birth on Christmas and His resurrection on Easter.
If Jesus only has two holidays to celebrate Himself, why do we need five parties to celebrate our weddings?
Truthfully, I’ve caught myself getting wrapped up in the Kardashian-type mentality.
One day while running through a list of gifts that need to be bought and parties to plan for, I thought, “If I’m doing all this, they better be there to do it for me when it’s my turn.”
And there it was. The craziness bit again in its vicious cycle.
It Won’t End Until We End It.
What if we just stopped? What if we had one, maybe two parties and called it a day? What if we gifted each other with our presence instead mountains of presents?
Look, I know sometimes you can’t help how crazy momma and grandma get. Please don’t think I expect you to feel guilty if you are blessed with a plethora of people who throw piles of parties. But I do think we need to be more aware of the useless pressure we put on ourselves and our loved ones. This mentality is not healthy for us or anyone else in our lives.
The pressure leads to chaos. Chaos leads to stress. Stress is the opposite of peace. This exactly where the devil would love to have us on days when there should be nothing but joy and gratitude in our hearts. Days that should be full of love and laughter end up being filled with madness and mayhem.
I know it’s easier said than done. I know I speak these words as an outsider. I’ve never been engaged. I’ve never tried to plan a wedding. I have no idea what it feels like to create the day you’ve been looking forward to your entire life.
Though I do know that I want that day and every day leading up to it to be filled with joy. I want to spend those days swimming in gratitude for the blessing of marriage, instead of drowning in mayhem.
Maybe that’s where we can start. Be grateful for today. Have no expectations for tomorrow. Tomorrow has enough trouble of its own. Maybe that’s where we can collectively calm the krazy and come back to reality (and not the kind found on TV).