great expectations

{back in early 2005, I did a retreat for the women of our congregation on simplicity in life :: this is an article I had written for our ministry newsletter to introduce the topic. As I was planning an impossible week of homeschooling recently, the Lord reminded me to adjust & I remembered these long-ago words}

For a week this past December, my husband and our eldest were gone on a trip to Texas, leaving the younger two girls and I home alone. For the first day or two we did wonderfully and then reality begin to hit a little. Jordyn {then 21 months} and Janelle {then age 6} thought life was getting a little too boring. I decided that we needed a change of pace and fast, so the decision was made to go to Pizza Hut to cash in a free pizza coupon.

However, when the assigned evening arrived, I had hesitations. Jordyn had not taken her customary nap and her sister had not slept well the night before—they were both very grumpy. I sifted through the mail while weighing the decision and noticed a note from a close relative. It read: “Thank you so much for allowing your daughters to come and visit us…they were the most well-behaved children…this speaks to the home training they are receiving and to the values you are instilling in them.” WOW! What further affirmation did I need? Throwing all caution to the wind, we packed up and left.
Big mistake #1.

The girls were jittery and jumpy as we tried to order and could not be still long enough to do any of the activities I had brought along. Trying to think quickly, I said, “Let’s sing a song, but softly.”
Mistake #2. Jordyn piped up from her booster and at the top of her lungs began serenading the entire restaurant with the song ‘Jesus Loves Me’, which sent Janelle into giggle mode. The jumpiness combined with the giggling caused a drink to spill, and Jordyn to stop mid-song and clap while loudly cheering “Yeah, ‘Nelle!!! Hoo-ray!!” I was beginning to wonder if it was a crime to run out without paying since we hadn’t eaten anything yet. Somehow, we managed to wait until the pizza arrived.

Later that night, I evaluated my mistake. I knew the girls were quite unprepared for the situation and yet I put them in it anyway. Why? It can be summed up in these words: unrealistic expectations. Webster describes expectation as a mental picture of, or a belief about the future. This is not a bad thing; we all must have an end in mind or goals that we work towards. The writer of Proverbs tells us that we can suffer without a sense of vision (29:18). What makes the expectation unrealistic, and sometimes detrimental, is that we can too often apply it in situations or to persons where there is not the capability for it to be fulfilled. Or we’re just plain-old impatient & tired of waiting for the right timing.
Always a major mistake.

My situation with the girls was a piece of cake compared to the variety of times that I placed unrealistic expectations upon myself, my husband, my family…and the list could go on. Ever done the same thing? Perhaps you even did like me with the note from a relative and ‘claimed’ a scripture, a passage from a book, or someone’s advice as the ticket to success, but misapplied it to the situation at hand. I can very much relate.

I think as women, mothers, wives…we can learn to simplify life by dealing squarely with our expectations. If we choose not to, a sickening cycle of hurt, disappointment & then disillusionment will follow. It’s a trap that’s fairly easy to fall into, but not impossible to get out of. So, are there areas of your thoughts that need an ‘expectation adjustment’? Start today by releasing yourself or another, and then enjoy the freedom.

By the way, two nights later at a friend’s home, the girls had impeccable behavior at their dinner table. Prepared for anything, I was pleasantly shocked!

photo credits to stock.xchng

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3 comments

Jackie

an apt quote from “Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit” that I need to remember more often: “High Goals, Low Expectations.”

mama

Hi,
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I am really enjoying your blog.
Looking forward to getting to know you and your family through your wonderful posts.

~yolanda

Great Post. I can visualize them in the restaurant singing. 🙂