Great, Glorious Expectations (Let. Them. Go.)

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After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect in your own human effort?  Galatians 3:3, NLT.

As we sit here on the precipice of the holiday season (YIKES!), I thought we could have a little talk about expectations.  The great ones.  The not-so-great ones.  And the really whacked ones, too.

expectations

Because we all do it.  Create some whacked out expectations, I mean.  Not only do we place them on ourselves, but we place them on others, too, even without their knowledge!  Sometimes people put them on us, as well.  And the end result just never is a good one when we do that, is it?

Holley Gerth writes about expectations in Chapter 8 of our book, You’re Already Amazing.  She says,

Expectations are laws we place on ourselves and each other.  Yep.  Laws.  And expectation equals ‘You must do X or you will be punished in some way.’  Oh , the punishment might be subtle – rejection, guilt we lay on our shoulders, a look across the room that lets us know we didn’t measure up.  No one is going to throw us in jail.  But consequences of the heart can seem even more frightening.”  Holley Gerth, You’re Already Amazing, copyright 2012.

You know what I’m talking about, right?  It’s like expecting yourself to plan the perfect Christmas party and even though you just feel too burnt out to do it this year, you end up doing it anyway because you “always” have and you’re afraid of disappointing others if you don’t. And the sad result is that you miss a million little things at home and your family suffers because of it and you can see it in how they look at you…

Or you expect that your husband can read your mind and this year he’s going to get you that beautiful coat you’ve been eyeing in a local boutique window all Fall.  Only you never told him about it.  So you get mittens and an iron instead because he thought that’s what you needed.  And your heart hurts because you think he just doesn’t know you like you know him so you give him a little bit of the cold shoulder treatment…

Or your little girl opens her last gift from under the tree and you see her excited grin turn into a tearful frown when she realizes you didn’t get her every single thing she asked for like she expected.  You know you couldn’t have afforded it all, and you know that Christmas isn’t even about the gifts anyway.  But you still feel like a failure of a mom and the guilt eats at you for days…

Thankfully, there is scripture that gives me great hope in times of failed expectations, sweet friends.  Check them out and see if they don’t just give you a little lift, too:

Jesus looked at them and said, “With human beings this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26, TNIV).

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  (Philippians 4:13, NKJV).

You see, here’s the difference:  YOU put those expectations on yourself and on others.  God didn’t.  We know from Matthew 11:28-30 that Jesus promises to never put anything “heavy” on us.

And we know from our scripture verse from last week, God only expects three things from us:  to do what’s right through self-control from the Holy Spirit, to treat others like we want to be treated, and to be humble as we walk with Him without taking ourselves so seriously!  (Micah 6:8) That’s it!

There’s nothing in the Bible about having to the host perfect party, receive the perfect gift, OR meet every single want or desire of other people.  “Nowhere is it written…”!!!!

Any expectation placed on us BY GOD always comes with the assurance that we are not expected to complete it alone, without His guidance and support.  Scripture is very clear on that!

Um, and if He wants it to get done, it’s gonna get done, honey:

The LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen. (Isaiah 14:24, TNIV).

This TRUTH frees us up from the “expectation-chain-gang” and grants us peace.  GOD’S peace, not just a little respite from the “chaos of daily life” kind of peace.  We’re talking “everlasting life, secure-in-Him-no-matter-what-is-happening-around-us kind of peace”!  Can you even imagine being so free to feel that?!  Isn’t that what we crave?!

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV

Oh my goodness – how good does THAT sound?!  He wants nothing more than to displace worry at the center of our lives (Philippians 4:6-7)!  Because THEN, sisters, THEN we get down to the business of HIS expectations for our lives, not our own!  And that’s a lot more life-giving than trying to live up to the expectations (real or perceived) of this world!

I challenge you this holiday season to try and remove some of the crazy “oughts and shoulds” we somehow manage to place on ourselves and on others.

Oh, and refuse to accept the ones others try to place on you, as well.

Christmas will come and go whether you “live up to” all the expectations you associate with it or not.  Why not spend the time enjoying the season this year instead of holding onto things out of the fear of not meeting up to your skewed sense of what ought to be?

Let. Them. Go.  You have His permission.

love all please one

Love all.  Please One. (Thanks, Holley!)  

Let’s make that our new motto for Christmas.  Who’s with me?

Just two more little weeks left of our fall series, “I Made You Glorious!  xoxo, God“!  While I’m feeling just a tad sad about that, it sure feels great to think about all the wonderful Truths we’ve discovered along the way!  This week, let’s keep that up:

  • Read Chapter 9 of You’re Already Amazing and complete the Go Deeper Guide Questions at the back of the book!
  • Rewrite/memorize our scripture for this week:  We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith, and he is the one who makes our faith complete. He suffered death on a cross. But he accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing because of the joy he could see waiting for him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne. Hebrews 12:1-2, ERV
  • Listen to our song of the week – a FUN new tune by Jamie Grace called “Beautiful Day”!  Here’s the link to the official video on YouTube!  WATCH IT!  It’s so great and she is darling!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPy0ctqMwE0

Have a super weekend, sweet friends!

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

Up Monday:  The sweetest Monday Morning Glory video you’ve ever seen.  I think I really mean it this time!

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5 responses »

  1. Thank you for setting the tone for my heart going into holiday ramp up! In Julie B fashion, I now have two mantras I will be keeping handy when I start to feel overwhelmed… “Love all. Please One.” And “Nowhere it is written!” (Loved that you turned that on its head, my dear Wen!). It’s like a karate chop to all things Martha! ;). Missed you ladies on Tues! So funny–the sirens went off at 10 am in Vernon Hills and smiled to myself. Xoxoxo

  2. Wendie, loved your blog today! Many years ago I was a total spaz at Christmas. It is my most favorite holiday EVER – it takes me about a week to decorate the inside of my house! I mean pictures come off the walls to be replaced by Christmas pictures, dishes get swapped out, Christmas towels are hung in the bathrooms…it’s crazy! But I love it. When my oldest was a baby I would go bonkers! Up till 1:00 AM making cookies, tying elaborate bows on all the gifts, searching for and agonizing over the perfect gifts. As he grew older and was joined by a brother and sister I just did not have the time or the energy to do all that…but I still tried. Homemade goodies for teacher gifts – for 14 teachers, bus drivers, therapists, etc, hand written cards, Christmas cookies for the neighbors. Now it was just exhausting! So I started letting a lot of it go. Starbucks gift cards are perfectly fine for the gazillion teachers/aides/therapists in our lives (they might even like that better, who knows?) and baking and decorating Christmas cookies with my kids on Christmas Eve morning is totally fine (and kind of fun – except the mess I have to clean up!). In the end, I am still a spaz about Christmas, but I no longer need it to be “perfect”. Just enjoying it with my kids and family and my sister friends is all that really matters! Thanks for the reminder that God is totally ok with that too!

  3. I stopped putting up all our Christmas decorations every year and when I rotate them out, I seem to enjoy them more – and sometimes see some that I swear I’ve never seen before. Like Amy, I found ways to do some of what I wanted so that I could enjoy the entire season more. Thank you Wendie for setting the tone before we over committed.

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