Saturday, January 30, 2010
My previous blog about my humorous and death-defying search for the perfect pair of jeans really got me thinking a lot about "expectations". And what I've come to realize is....we really expect a lot....great expectations. We are all just a big bunch of expectors (new word). We expect a lot out of life, out of our friends, out of our families, out of our spouses, out of our jobs, out of our educations, out of our blue jeans, and especially out of ourselves, and so on and so on. People, places and things aren't adding up to our expectations and we as people aren't living up to the expectations of the people, places, and things. No wonder we are so darn unhappy.
When we have expectations about something, and it doesn't happen the way we envisioned it would...we are disappointed. Along with our very long lists of what we expect, we have ideas of what we deserve and should have, which are greatly skewed as well.
I've realized that expectations are a huge part of why we are so sad, depressed, stressed, and disappointed. Expectations keeps us in a mold. They keep us weighed down. They keep us from dreaming, wandering, and flying free. We all want to be free, but we keep bogging ourselves down with trying to be all that we are expected to be...for others and for ourselves.
In my own life, I've been feeling overwhelmed with stress and pressure because of what I feel people expect from me, and even more so, what I expect from myself. I worry that if I don't always smile, laugh and say positive things that people will think that I don't trust God, or they'll worry that somethings wrong with me, or that people will think I'm a negative person, or that....etc. I worry that if I don't show up for church every Sunday that people will think that I gave up on God, or that I'm leaving, or that somethings wrong, or that I'm doing bad things, or that....etc. I worry that if I mess up at work or don't work till I fall over that people will think I'm lazy, or that I don't know what I'm doing, or that I don't care, or that I suck, or that...etc.
I could go on...believe me....my neurosis run deep.
But here's the deal, I don't deal well with unhealthy expectations. None of us do. When people start putting unhealthy expectations on me and then don't like it when I don't play the part they want me to play...I get the heck outta Dodge. Not gonna do it.
In my personal opinion, I think unhealthy expectations is a large reason we have such a high divorce rate, as well as high depression and suicide rates. We expect a lot from each other when it comes to relationships. This applies to all types of relationships...friendships, dating, marriage, families. I'm not talking about people expecting me to show up for work on time, and things like that...we need those types of expectations. I'm talking about the unhealthy ones that are self-centered, selfish, and just plain yuck. I am guilty of putting unhealthy expectations on people...we all are.
When I was writing my blog about finding the perfect jeans, I realized that the reason it's seems so impossible is because....it is. There is no such thing as the perfect jeans. They can be great, they can be nice, they can be comfortable, they can lift your butt, they can make you look taller, etc, but they will never be perfect. They will change over time. It's inevitable. They're denim for goodness sake. Even if the jeans stayed the same....I will change over time. All I have to do is walk by a Krispy Kreme and I gain 5 pounds. Nothing stays the same from one millisecond to the next. We live in an ever changing universe....alive and jumping. We realize this...and yet, we refuse to be forgiving and understanding when it comes to each other. The perfect jeans don't exist and the perfect partner doesn't exist. We are all flawed...we're a little somethin' I like to call...human. But for some reason we want to make excuses for why we aren't perfect, but blame everyone else for not being perfect. We're SO WeIrD!
We are living in crazy times. Since the industrial revolution the world and the people in it have grown and changed exponentially, and I don't see it slowing down. Everything is moving faster and faster, and getting bigger and better. We have drive-thru's, vending machines, and the whole world at the touch of our finger via our cell phones. Society is telling us to get what we want, take what we want, look out for ourselves, and screw anyone that doesn't fulfill our every hope and dream. If your love life isn't The Notebook then it's time to jump ship, right!? We're supposed to live the dream , but I kinda want to wake up from this dream because it's turning into a nightmare.
We think that our love lives should be like what we see in the movies, and then we're disappointed when they aren't. We think our friends should be our crutches instead of people to just walk beside us on our journey, and then we are mad when they aren't there. But God tells us to be humble, give selflessly, put others before ourselves, love our neighbor, and above all else, love God....put our trust in Him. Until we are willing and able to do these things, we are going to be sad, angry, disappointed people. We are a self-focused society and we need to start giving and stop taking. We are willing to donate our money to charity and give our old things to Goodwill, but we have a hard time giving forgiveness, charity, and kindness to the people sitting in our own living room. Our boyfriends, parents, friends, husbands, wives, bosses, teacher, etc can't carry us through our lives...only God can do that. But instead of leaning on God and trusting in God, we turn to people...and people....let us down. No matter what, everyone that you love, even the people you think are as close to perfect as you can get, will let you down. It's inevitable. The key is, to not have unhealthy expectations and to lean on God instead of on people. It's not fair to put unhealthy expectations on people...especially when none of us like having them put on us.
When you have God living in your heart, your life changes even without you trying. You trust in God and not people. You love people with the love of God. You see people through God's eyes. You forgive people, because God forgives you. God loves us, and He wants us to want to be with Him and follow Him, but He doesn't force us to. We have free will. We don't have to do anything that we don't want to do....we aren't robots. God loves us too much to force us. God loves us even if we don't love Him. Isn't that amazing!? I can't imagine that. Can you imagine loving someone so much that you would die for them, but they wouldn't even look at you or talk to you? That would be pretty awful. But God does that. So, if God loves unconditionally, then shouldn't we try to do the same?
Think of all the ways that you put expectations on yourself or that other people put on you, or that you put on other people. Are any of those expectation unhealthy? Are you leaning too much on other people? Do other people lean too much on you? Do you kill yourself trying to be everything to everyone all the time? Do you love with conditions? Do others love you with conditions?
Live in the knowledge that you are free in God.
John 8:32 - Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
Galatians 5:1 - It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened by the yoke of slavery.
Psalms 27: 1-3 - The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?
Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
1 Corinthians 3:16 - Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?
Expector and Expectee....Katie