Do you have Great Expectations? No, I’m not talking about the book. I mean do you have great expectations in life, for holidays, for the kind of behavior you expect from your kids? I am all for finding the silver lining in any cloud, but sometimes, I expect too much from people or situations.
I recently read a post called, “Expectations Ruin Reality” from Jennifer at Heaven Not Harvard. The article said, “Our expectations ruin reality because we build up inflated expectations and life can’t measure up.” Referring to her husband and holidays, Jennifer realized, “When I quit having expectations…[it let us] live in the joy of the moment.”
It made me think.
When my husband proposed, I was mad at him. I was angry because I had this ‘great expectation’ that ‘tonight might be the night!’. But we went to dinner, and we walked around campus, and whatever else we did that night…and still no proposal.
So I thought, “Well, that was stupid of me to think he would propose tonight.” And then I fumed, “NO! He’s stupid for not proposing! Tonight would have been perfect because…[insert my reasoning]”.
(Yes, I started our marriage with these thoughts, lol!)
Then, as the clock tolled 10 (hours after our date had begun), he dropped to one knee. But I was still angry because I’d built up these great expectations in my mind. I wondered why he didn’t propose earlier in the evening so we could have enjoyed the whole date night as an engaged couple. I had to battle my feelings for a (long) minute or two while my boyfriend looked up at me from the ground where he knelt, waiting for an answer. Part of me wanted to say no, just to be irritating, but I was also afraid he wouldn’t ask again. 😉
As my husband would say, I obviously have issues. Ha! But this is the kind of thing that happens when you dream and fantasize about how things should go in life. So what am I saying, should we not dream?
I am not sure what the answer is, exactly, but I think it has to do with choosing happiness. In Philippians, Paul was hunted down, arrested, beaten, imprisoned, whipped, stoned…and he learned how to be content in all circumstances.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Paul wasn’t perfect- he despaired, and he was depressed, but he chose happiness.
Like Jennifer at Heaven Not Harvard so wisely said,
“Don’t let the darkness of envy and materialism steal true joy from your grasp.”
I need to remember these things every day of my life.
- When I expect a quiet, happy family relishing the dinner I lovingly cooked, but instead I get whiny kids with noses turned up at my meal…
- When I expect a quick, easy trip to the grocery store, just for the basics- and instead have needy kids wanting in and out of the cart, multiple potty breaks, “boo-boos”, requests for yummy looking things not on our list, and stops at every sample spot (ok, that last one is not so bad!)…
- When I expect getting most, if not all of my to-do list done, and instead have ‘nothing’ to show for my day…
- When I expect pretty much anything in my life to go a particular way…
- When, for some reason, I expect my husband to do the dishes for me (which he has done once in the last year- at my request- on Mother’s Day)….
I need to stop and remember, it’s ok. I can still be happy. My life doesn’t revolve around my perfect little plan. Stuff happens.
If everything went exactly as planned, life would be pretty boring, right?