I affectionately want to refer to 2018 as the year of spoiling for my oldest daughter.  Before the year is done she will have been to Disney World 4 times. When I compare that to the 1 visit to Disney World I experienced in my first 33 years of life…well you can see why say this is the year of spoiling.  Disney is still a big treat for us; but since we invested in annual passes I have noticed we view the mouse house a little different than we used to.

I was reminded of this during my most recent trip with my daughter.  During a breakfast where we get to meet characters I was very aware of a couple sitting directly behind us.  The couple was visiting from Japan and came with a souvenir specifically for each character to take a picture with. As each character came by it was like they were meeting a celebrity.  This couple was as excited if not MORE excited than my 4 year old when it came to meeting Beach Club Minnie.

Why did my daughters excitement not match this couple? The answer can be summed up in one word – familiarity.  She loves Disney – but the more she has been around it the more familiar it has become. The more we visit the more I notice she and I subtly replace the magic of a moment with expectation and critical thoughts.  We got on the ride that she loves – but we didn’t get to sit where she wants. We would love to go to the next show – but the line is longer than I want to deal with. The mouse house is supposed to be magical…but the more we are there the more we start noticing the flaws.

Usually these are the moments when my wife will remind me, “this place is supposed to be magical – focus on the magic, not the problems.” Think back to the couple from Japan – they traveled across the globe for what will likely be their 1 trip to Disney World. They experienced many of the same problems we experienced – but I bet they took them in stride and stayed focused on the magic.

Disney might not be familiar to you like it is to the Lebovitz clan, but I am sure there are areas in your life where you are in danger of missing the magic. Those things which are most familiar to us – things like our family, our church, our circle of friends and our careers can move from being precious and magical to commonplace.  Each of us are in danger of losing sight of the magic.

Those things which are familiar to us are not perfect. You can lose days, weeks or your life focusing on the problems, the blemishes and the frustrations. I want to challenge you to focus on the magic. Don’t let familiarity and frustration rob you of the joy God intends for you to experience in life.