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Redefine: Adjusting Expectations

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An attractive young woman struggling to get her jeans on

Have you ever tried squeezing into jeans that were just a little too tight?

Ladies, I think you know what I’m talking about. You wiggle, tug and pull until you finally get them on and then you hold your breath and pray that you don’t come undone.

Sometimes we do that with our lives. With our expectations.

We get it in our heads that our lives “should” look a certain way, whether it be from cultural standards, media, comparing with our friends and neighbors, looking to our families of origin or whatever the reason; over time we develop EXPECTATIONS.

In a sense we stop looking for comfortable jeans and become determined to squeeze our lives into the smaller size that we think we “should” be able to fit into because I mean look at _____(name of person you compare your life to), they have it all together, they can fit into those jeans.

Oh, expectations!

How often do we determine our success or value on the things we think we need to accomplish? And how often when we fail to accomplish such things do we end up feeling like failures?

I know I have. I’ve had expectations that I would have a certain kind of job by a certain point in my life, that my husband would be psychic and know exactly what I need at all times, that all four of my children would turn out easy and agreeable with minimal challenges, that my pregnancy weight would just magically come off right after I had babies, etc., etc.

You?

Well here’s the thing, expectations can set us up for disappointment because we often live with the idea that others around us (our families and loved ones) are aware of our expectations and can live up to them. When they fail to, it can cause all kinds of hurts in our relationships.

But worse than that, expectations they can limit us from living out our full story. They can keep us in a box so that we measure our worth in comparison to others rather than fully exploring and accepting what God has planned for each of our lives, that includes the good but also the painful, the disappointments and challenges that ultimately make us more resilient and more alive.

We keep our eyes on what our neighbor is doing and how great they are doing it but forget that:

  • you work full-time
  • you have more kids
  • you’re a single mom
  • you have a health issue or disability
  • you are caring for an aging parent
  • All of the many other things that are uniquely YOU

We need to stop trying to land the part in someone else’s story and start embracing our role as leading character in our own.

Don’t get me wrong, not all expectations are bad. My children expect that I will feed them on a regular basis, my husband expects that I can be trusted to take care of some tasks for him, my mom expects that if she calls I’ll answer or call her back, I expect that when I pray, God hears me.

But there may be some expectations that are a bit off for you right now. As we seek out to enter into a life reset, there may be expectations that we need to let go of, adjust or communicate better about.

  • Maybe you’re tired of squeezing yourself into someone else’s life and it’s time to realize yours is already pretty awesome.
  • Maybe you need to ask for help with something instead of expecting that others “should just KNOW” what you need.
  • Maybe it’s time to own your story, the good and the challenging and expect all circumstances with an open heart.

Today let’s consider where we might need to adjust our expectations.

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4 Comments

  1. I love the analogy of trying to squeeze into someone else’s life. Meaningful on many levels….and how often I forget the aspects that make my life different.
    Thank you for your words!

  2. Yes yes yes! I completed agree with this. I am deffo one of those people that had tried to fit a certain expectation so to speak..on more than one occasion. But I am starting to see the many flaws in this way of being. So thank you!

  3. I most assuredly do not want my unmet expectations to keep me from truly living my full story. Thank you for the reminder. Was thinking on similar things earlier today when balancing too many plates in the air.

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