January 15, 2018

great expectations

most days, i wake up with some idea of how my morning will go - how my husband will interact with me, how great my coffee will taste, how my daughter will behave, etc - and unfortunately, if something feels subpar to that ideal, i'm bummed.

bummed that the morning felt rushed and stressful and i left the house makeup-less. bummed that my husband didn't wake up sooner to help me. bummed that my coffee now tastes cold and burnt because i made it myself [and it always tastes better when the husband makes it]...oh and now that cold/burnt coffee is spilling all over me because i'm carrying a toddler in one arm and my keys/phone/purse/coffee in the other. and now said adorable toddler is throwing a fit the size of mount doom because she doesn't have a book to read in her carseat.

"just one of those days" i mumble, annoyed and frustrated......
but what if i didn't place my expectations on the variables? what if i placed my expectations on the Constant? so that when the variables do change [because they will], my mood becomes immovable.

right before i got engaged, a friend of mine gave me some very poignant advice for my future marriage: "don't place your expectations on your husband. God is the only one who can take care of your expectations, only expect from Him. your husband is human, just like you, and if you place high expectations on him, he will inevitably disappoint you."

a light bulb clicked on. the concept of unmet expectations was absolutely enlightening. i had never heard anything like that! from childhood, i think most americans [and most christians] are taught to expect great things, even entitled to great things. great things as in that perfect house you found on pinterest, that luxurious european vacation, that perfectly curated closet... etc etc etc. i don't think there's anything wrong with having great expectations [or 'great' things for that matter] they're not inherently bad, but if those impossible expectations are continually aimed at someone or something that just doesn't have the power to meet or exceed them, then we will find ourselves feeling shorthanded, disappointed, and discouraged way more often than we find ourselves feeling happy, content, and fulfilled.

whether or not we realize or admit it, expectations tend to billow up and gravitate towards whatever we have our eyes on... and if you're married, your spouse is most likely the target, because he's tangible. but expectations can even be aimed at sibling/friend/parent relationships or anything else; and if our expectations are set to the highest bar for any of these, disappointment will inevitably grab hold of us, steal our joy and maybe even plant some seeds of bitterness in our hearts. only the steadfast Source of all faithfulness, encouragement, contentment, love and all the good things, can deliver perfection in everything... and our great expectations are already met, fulfilled, and exceeded in Him. God has already gone far beyond what any relationship, any person, and any thing can offer us.

"My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us." 
Psalm 62:5-8

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and He will give you the desires of your heart." 
Psalm 37:4

"If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and knows all things."
1 John 3:20

He alone is fully aware and capable of handling my expectations, my desires, and all the other immense longings of my heart... and when i give Him all that's in my heart, i'm able to truly have healthy relationships with the people around me.

when i stop expecting seeable perfection from my husband/parents/friends/kids/situations, then i can start enjoying the present, then i can let go of my ideals and cut my relationships, my home, my life some slack and actually cherish how they are, right here right now. when i stop expecting everything to look and be a certain idealistic way, then i can whole-heartedly experience contentment and thankfulness, because only then will i see that my imperfect life is already full of greatness.....
because the lovely mess of reality is much, much better than some imaginary picture of perfection.

let's strive to live in the now.... present over perfect [as shauna niequist quite perfectly said]. :)


......aaaaand this should go without saying, but with all that's happening right now, i feel like i need put a little disclaimer here: there's a certain level of behavior that should always be expected in our relationships - like mutual love, respect, honesty, and effort.... those are things that are vital to any relationship, SO no amount of verbal or physical abuse or manipulation should ever, EVER be tolerated. this post is in no way referring to toxic relationships, because that's a completely different issue. this post is more for the idealists like me - who are just expecting a little too much from the people and things around us.... and i hope that comes across. :)

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