Let’s get real and talk about expectations. Anyone ever sat down and thought about those pesky little things before? What happens when you go to a restaurant or somewhere with really any type of customer service? I know that I have these expectations that if I go out to eat, my food is going to be amazing and my server is going to be wonderful. When I go to Starbucks, I expect them to hand me the right drink and the stopper stick to automatically come with my drink without having to ask. (Not really sure what that stopper stick is really called, I just always make hand gestures that try and help me to explain it is when I ask for one.)
The point is, we all have expectations in life; of each other, society, our jobs, and of ourselves. Expectations are necessary in our world because they help to create order. They instill rules in our communities. When used appropriately and in the wellbeing of everyone they are aligned with what is right and fair. But what happens when we turn realistic expectations into something that we can never achieve? What happens when we unrealistically expect too much out of others, and of ourselves?
I have come to realize that without thinking I tend to focus a lot on expectations. Way more than I would like to admit. I can sometimes expect too much out of others, and I often times I expect things of myself that are quite unrealistic. Like to be perfect in my friendships, job, with my family, and throughout regular life.
What I have come to realize, (and I am sure that I’m late to the party on this one), is that unrealistic expectations shoot for perfection, and perfection is not possible. I am coming to the understanding that although we strive for perfection, there is only One who can achieve that, and He is constantly extending me grace for my faults. God is so cool like that. He sees us trying to achieve what we will never be able to, expecting others to do the same, and yet he extends this unexplainable gift to us, His Son, to show us that we won’t ever have to be perfect.
I was reading in Hebrews recently and the author was mentioning how Jesus was the highest priest, the one who brought gifts and sacrifices. He was different than the high priests before him because he was the ultimate sacrifice. He, being completely perfect, came and died for us, conquered death, was raised from the grave and permanently intercedes constantly on our behalf. God sent Him solely because he loves us and knows that we will never reach perfection. It’s literally impossible. He broke the unrealistic expectation and extended grace.
How often I forget this. I choose to keep telling myself, “You must do better, be better”, for myself and for others, and I forget that it’s impossible to reach that perfection. That expectation is too high. But, how big of a relief it is when I finally remember and make the connection, that Jesus is enough. I don’t have to have it all together, or expect others to because Jesus is enough. It brings so much freedom. I have begun to realize that people are sometimes going to fail you, you are going to fail others. And that if we don’t reach that unrealistic expectation we set for ourselves, it will be ok in the end anyway.
I have also tried to find the delicate balance between recognizing unrealistic expectations and still trying to become a better person. I think for me, it falls into my relationship with the Lord. I want to strive to be better and live a life giving thanks to him because he died for me, so that is what I am going to do. I think sometimes we also have the perspective that we want to leave a positive mark on this world for others, our families, and for ourselves, so we strive to be the best that we can be. I think this is so wonderful, that we strive to be more. But I think it can pair well with knowing that we sometimes have to extend grace and receive grace. We have to freely extend it, and remind others that they can breathe easier because they too have it. We have to remember that we aren’t all going to have to together all the time. That we are broken people, living in a broken world, trying to work hard to leave it a little bit better than the way we found it. And that is a business that is going to need a lot of grace for one another. Wishing you all the best in conquering your own expectations, and resting in the fact that you don’t have to do it alone. 🙂