Expectations are one of the dominant ways that we attempt to control our lives, our relationships and God. Largely, they are disappointments waiting to happen. When one has a system of expectations, then ‘I’ become the center of the universe and everything and everyone is subject to my judgment and punishment depending on how they are ‘currently’ meeting up to those expectations (whether my expectations have been communicated or not).
Expectations are all about ‘doing’ … about performance. There is little room for ‘being’ within the web of expectations and ‘being’ has little to offer the one trying to control through expectations. "Who cares about who you are as long as you are doing what I think I need and expect." Expectations are largely a substitute for God, or in some sense, the need we have to play God ourselves.
And remember, ‘control’ is all about ‘fear’.
Letting go of ‘expectations’ is soooo risky; it feels like a free fall since our world was held together by that web, but it is in that ‘risk’ that you find a God who does not meet your expectations (thankfully), but loves you and is involved, and in that ‘risk’ is where ‘faith’ grows. Then we begin to live more in the environment of ‘expectancy’, the edgy, free flowing realm of wonder and surprise.
Then I read Baxter Kruger's blog entry about the 'Keys to Marriage', and Kent commenting on Baxter's post. These got me thinking about 'where I'm at' currently in my relationship with Father and with others. There a still a great many things that I'm learning to let go of, but I also see Father's progress in my life. I'm finding that I am much more free from the expectations of others than I used to be, and that is good. The opinion of others used to dominate my life, and I would run myself ragged to meet their expectations. This isn't the case any more, and I'm much happier for it.
Today I finally finished 'Families where Grace is in Place' by Jeff Vanvonderen and it was challenging in a good way. I still struggle with how to be a graceful parent of 4 and sometimes I fall back on my old methods when I get frazzled. This book certainly helped me to see what grace-full parenting can look like. I may want to read this one 3 or 4 more times, just to help get the concepts through my thick head :-). As I read the last 2 paragraphs of the book, the same themes of freedom, expectations and letting go of control appeared again:
I have offered the principles in this book, not as standards to measure up to, but as new ways for you to think about God, His grace, and how it can become real and life-changing for you and your family. If you are a believer, your value and identity is settled because of Jesus. It is not up to your family members to validate you with their performance. You are free to let go of controlling; you can learn what it means to server without becoming everyone's slave. You can learn more and more to act toward others out of a new spiritual fullness.
With God's grace, you can become a more effective, more grace-full husband, wife, parent. As these truths sink deep into your heart, yours will be more and more a family where grace is in place.
Random? or not?