Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Problem With Expectations

Expectations can be a source of hope or anticipation in our lives. Giving us things to look forward to like a vacation or a friendship.  However, unmet expectations can lead us into a place of disappointment or failure which can drastically change how we think and feel about ourselves.

Problems arise when expectations are unmet. It causes feelings of...
Loss of approval

Which in turn causes us to... 
Trust less
Risk less
Feel we are less
Become resentful
Become angry
Take matters into our own hands 

So how do unmet expectations bring us to this point? Lets take a look at 4 areas in our lives that we have expectations
1. Expectations in what we do
2. Expectations in our relationships
3. Expectations of ourselves
4. Expectations of God

Expectations in what we do...
You look outside and the snow is piled high. The weather forecast is calling for another bitterly cold and cloudy day and you think to yourself what a wonderful respite a trip to sunny Florida could be for you. So you get some time off work, you make your reservations and you begin to imagine yourself on a hot, sandy beach reading a book while you listen to the waves crash upon the shore.  However, when the time for your trip comes your flights are delayed, the airline lost your bag and it rained the whole time.  Because your expectations are unmet, it leaves you feeling frustrated, angry, disappointed. 

Expectations in our relationships...
But the same thing happens in our relationships doesn’t it? We expect things of our friends, of our spouse, of our children and of our extended family and when those expectations are unmet we have to deal with the flood of emotions it brings. Often expectations are not expressed so our loved ones let us down without even knowing it.  Regardless, this changes the dynamic in the relationship and if not dealt with can cause lasting damage. Communication is key to minimizing unmet expectations. 

Expectations of ourselves
But what about the expectations we have on ourselves? I don't know about you but I tend to place pretty high expectations on myself--higher than I place on others. Therefore when I/we can’t meet our own expectations I/we feel like failures, unlovable, displeasing which in turn changes how we view ourselves. We must be careful about how we are coming up with our expectations.  What are they based on? If they are not from God, then they are not worth pursuing.

Expectations of God...
But what about our relationship with God? What happens when we feel like God isn’t meeting our expectations of Him? Beloved I would ask you to explore why you feel that way? God doesn’t promise to answer all of our prayers. He doesn’t promise to fix everything. He doesn’t promise to make it go our way. In those prayers we are telling God what we would like Him to do which makes us god-like. Friends we serve an audience of One. One who is good, faithful, sovereign, powerful, omnipotent, timeless and we must remember that “Gods ways are higher than our ways”. One thing we can expect and put our hope in, is God.  Everything else will fail us.  Our great expectation of eternal life and the hope of heaven will be fulfilled as promised.

Beloved "trust in the Lord with all of your heart lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight" Proverbs 3:5-6

Check out this link to Bill McCrae's article for more information about how to manage your expectations and build strong relationships with others

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


I just saw Jessica Reedy sing her song "Better" for the first time this week and I was reminded of how God walks alongside us through the mountaintops and the valleys and how He will never leave us nor forsake us.  God is on your side beloved.  Keep going.  Its going to get better...

I used to be so broken, lost, empty.
A heart with no beat.
A singer with no song to sing.
So I know the feeling
The silence is deafening
But in your pain lies a blessing
A sweeter song of victory
So keep walking, walking, walking
Though it seems so far.
No matter who you are
See, there is one thing that I know
Life it can leave,
You so bitter bitter, bitter, bitter
But you must believe
That it gets better, better, better, better

Is alright, dry your eyes, send a prayer
To the skies. I know its hard to fight
But you must believe
That it gets better.

Listen to me, I know you're scared
Your heart's bleeding.
But what are you gonna do now?
I think is time you break free!

And walking, walking, walking
Though it seems so far.
No it doesn't really matter who you are
See, there is one thing that I know ohhhhh!
Life it can leave,
You so bitter bitter, bitter, bitter
But you must believe
That it gets better, better, better, better
Is alright, dry your eyes, send a prayer
To the skies. I know its hard to fight
But you must believe
That it gets better, better

Almost out of here
See, I was almost took,
I wanted to die
From how I was doing wrong
I cried out every night
Looking for a helping hand
That's when it happened
Jesus took me in

He held me close
Gave me love
Refilled my heart
Helped me grow better
Because his love made me whole
He's available anytime.
Try Him out
He will change your life
Because I know Yeah

Life it can leave,
You so bitter bitter, bitter, bitter
But you must believe
That it gets better, better, better, better
Life it can leave,
You so bitter bitter, bitter, bitter
But you must believe
That it gets better, better, better, better

Monday, November 23, 2015

Perfectionism: Why are we so caught up in being perfect?

Definition of Perfectionism:
Perfectionism is refusal to accept any standard short of perfection.  A doctrine holding that religious, moral, social or political perfection is attainable, especially the theory that human moral or spiritual perfection should be or has been attained.

As a recovering perfectionist, I was asking myself, why do I get so caught up in being perfect?  The definition above says it is impossible to be perfect yet something deep within me drives these thoughts.  Pursuing perfection only pushes me into a vicious cycle that leads me down a path of destruction.  This pursuit leaves me feeling like a failure, frustrated, depressed, inadequate and unworthy.  Because I feel this way, it causes me to retreat, isolate myself, give up, engage in self harming behaviors and ruminate on what I could have done better.  Anybody with me?

Where does it say in God’s word that we have to be a certain body size or shape?  Where does it say we have to have a clean house?  Where does it say that we have to please everyone around us?  Where does it say we have to do everything right?  Where does it say we have to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, have the perfect body, have the perfect house, the perfect kids?  God doesn’t call us to perfection.  HE calls us to Him. 

When we get stuck in that vicious cycle, we need to remember who God says we are: beloved, forgiven, redeemed, chosen, loved, holy, accepted, precious, a masterpiece, and worth dying for...

So why are we so caught up in being perfect? 
1. It's measurable: It allows us to judge how we are doing whereas love and grace are immeasurable.
2. Because perfect means that everything is good.  But life isn’t perfect. Its messy.  But if we are focused on this futuristic unattainable goal, we can’t live in the present.
a.     It makes our present imperfections become more pronounced
b.     It makes us feel like we are constantly failing, not measuring up
c.      It makes us feel like our wheels are spinning because we aren’t making progress
3. Because Jesus was perfect.  If we are going to be like Jesus then we have to be perfect, right? Wrong. Yes Jesus was perfect but does God demand perfection from us? NO. God doesn’t ask us to be perfect or to pursue perfection, He asks us to pursue Him.Through our pursuit of Him, He will make us more like Christ (more perfect). ONLY God can do the work

Example: If your child painted you a picture and she holds it up to you with a big smile and says “Mommy look what I made!”  Would you say—"that is terrible.  You didn’t even stay in the lines. Since when is a turtle purple? Y ou spelled your name wrong and some of the letters are backwards." NEVER!  You take delight in the picture they made for you.  You celebrate their effort.  You thank them and give them a hug.  Do you expect a 4 year old to color perfectly?  NO.  Just like I don’t expect perfection from my children, neither does our heavenly Father expect perfection from us. 

Reflect on these verses:
Romans 3:23 “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 
God knows we aren’t perfect.  He knows we are going to sin.  But He doesn’t give up on us.  

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do”.  
Who prepared the works?  GOD!  Not us.  If we are pursuing the things we think will make us perfect, we are off track.  We must pursue the things God has for us.

Philippians 3:14  “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”. 
Just like a 4 year old child grows and continues to learn and practice coloring, their skills are going to improve.  If we don’t keep growing and pursuing God our skills will remain stagnant as well. 
Pursue God.  

Beloved, if becoming perfect means becoming more like Christ, then are we really in pursuit of perfection if we are pursuing things of the world and not the things of God? 

Zechariah 1:3 "‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,"