Hello Friend! Day Six

Hello Friend!

I am going to challenge us both a bit today.

Do you have a lot of rules and expectations on how people should behave? Do you find yourself regularly disappointed in people and situations and complaining about it to the nearest person, even if you don’t know them? Are you a grumbler?

I will be honest with you: I hate when I am in that kind of space. I don’t like being around me and I wouldn’t enjoy being around you either! And really, who wants to be around someone who regularly complains?

One of the worst things you can say about me is that I complain too much. Of course, there are things here and there that might not go as planned and I might mention them, occasionally. But if you can honestly say to me “You complain more often than not,” well, that will crush me. I do not want to be that person. Please tell me I don’t do that. But, I need you to be honest with me too. So, please tell me the truth.

Complaining is ugly. And it can make the most beautiful person ugly.

I know I am a person who verbally processes and so the first thing I have a tendency to do is open my mouth, for good and for bad. But if I am not happy about a situation, grumbling and complaining to those around me cannot be my default. I have to find another way to process disappointment.

Once in a while I like to try to disguise my complaining as “making an observation” but is that just semantics? Probably. At best a complaining spirit is a bad habit. At worst, it’s a habit of my heart.

When I am unsatisfied with things I try to ask myself “Where is my heart today?” If I spend time each morning recalling the new mercies I have been granted by my gracious God I think it will become easier to grant grace and mercy to others!

Tell me, how do you process disappointment?

Love,
Liz

This is NOT What I Expected!

“Hope for the Best. Expect the worst. Life is a play. We’re unrehearsed.” ― Mel Brooks.

It’s funny. You dream of a day, a meal, an experience, a career and it doesn’t turn out the way you expected AT ALL!

Now what?

Sometimes we aim too low on our expectations and we are pleasantly surprised. Other times, and likely much more frequently, we expect too much from something or someone and it doesn’t happen the way we hoped.

Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin!

Expectations can be the death of a relationship (and sometimes that is ok) but a dose of reality is always important.

Take my most recent haircut, for example.

I always agonize when we relocate because it surely means two things: I need to find a new mechanic I can trust and I need to find a new person to cut my hair in a way that looks good on me.

Ugh on both points!

What I was going for....
What I was going for….

I have been avoiding a haircut since September when we moved. I did break down and get a trim in February but that is all I had the courage to do before yesterday. And by yesterday I was already way overdue for a haircut. I called in the morning and she could take me at 1:30 the same day. Wow! I was excited! I even had this photo as an example of the cut and style I was interested in.









What I look like now!
What I look like now!

Granted, I was not going to wear makeup and I was not dressed quite as fancy and I don’t have the same smile BUT this is what I walked out with:








I guess it is close, but not close enough to what I was hoping for. This experience reminded me of some important truths:

We are working with people who most often do not always see things from the same perspective or we have more confidence in them than is warranted.

And let’s take it a step further: We are dealing with people who have some deep wounds we don’t know about or they think have been healed or ____________ (fill in the blank)!

Working with human beings is pretty tricky stuff. When we are deep in a relationship with someone we sometimes experience some very difficult things with them. Other times we miss things that are very important for others because we are in the middle of our own stuff. All of that messes with expectations: yours, mine, and theirs.

Pay attention to your relational expectations. Even if they are truly justified and reasonable, sometimes the other party is not in the same book as you, let alone on the same page.

I do believe God’s grace covers a multitude of sins. I have a multitude of my own sins to worry about. So while I might want to stomp around being ‘justified’ about my irritations or aggravations I most often need to move along and let God work on me and my attitude. As I ponder His grace poured out on me and my life, it feels pretty stingy to withhold it from others.

Are you struggling with expectations today? How do you work through those times of disappointment when you or others have “dropped the ball” or intentionally challenged your hopes and dreams?

When I am in a good space, I tend to seek God on the matter. When I struggle with it the most it seems I have drifted a bit from God’s perspective.

As for my hair, I just have to wait for it to grow out. I suspect that strategy of waiting (and praying) works well with a multitude of unmet expectations. I trust that God will work it out even when I can’t possibly see the solution.

Do Your Best…

We are told “do your best”! But what if your best isn’t:

a) good enough?
b) possible?
c) worth the effort given the circumstance/time frame?
d) [fill in the blank]

And how often do you find yourself disappointed in others when they don’t choose to do “their best”?

There are many times I don’t give my best effort. I make plenty of mistakes. Sometimes I am tired and overcommitted. And if I wait to be sure I only “do my best” than some things simply won’t ever be done! Can you relate?

What is good enough? What is close enough? If you berate someone for their effort–even if you know it wasn’t their best effort–what are you accomplishing?

If you have demanded or simply expected the best of others this week it is very likely you were disappointed with the results. Aside from Jesus, perfection isn’t possible. So look at those around around you. Look for ways to encourage and celebrate their contributions. Don’t always try to sneak in correction with a compliment. Recognize that there often isn’t only one right way. Instruction is good but constant instruction can be exhausting to receive.

Have you been too hard on yourself because you have made decisions that weren’t “the best” and they have lead you to a difficult place? I think we probably all have regrets. And some of our concern for others involves our regrets about our own behavior. Most people will not glean as much from the experiences of others as they will from their own experiences, as difficult to watch as that may be. Most people learn life lessons by living their life.

If you have been difficult to live with due to your incredibly high expectations of yourself or others, maybe it is time to re-evaluate your hopes and dreams. Be sure they are closer in line with reality and bathed in God’s love and grace. No one makes the best choice or invests their best effort all the time and your response to those choices will say a lot about the future of your relationship. Your love and grace can make all the difference!

1 Corinthians 13:1-8

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Expectations

It is so easy to be moved from being satisfied to dissatisfaction when we allow our own or someone else’s expectations run the show.

Not all expectations are bad. I am referring to the expectation that you will be able to pull off the unrealistic perfect family gathering this weekend! We see those photos in ads where there aren’t any dirty dishes or dust bunnies and every outfit blends or coordinates with every outfit in the photo and all of that is accented by the perfect food, makeup, and….well, the list goes on. Media and advertising have painted unrealistic and unattainable “picture perfect” moments for us to try to reproduce in our own homes.

Can you imagine how long it takes to set up those photo shoots?

And when we aren’t able to pull it off we become dissatisfied with what we have.

Don’t do it. Don’t go there.

Folks, it isn’t happening at our house. We won’t be serving perfection but we are serving love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace. We have been busy with life so we might be a wee bit tired and the house isn’t perfectly clean. We didn’t buy new dresses. We probably won’t be color coordinated but we will be enjoying one another’s company. When it is time to share the big meal, my goal is for all the food to be ready at the same time but even that isn’t always easy.

Expectations. Sometimes they kill the joy of the moment!

God sent Jesus in an unexpected way to save ordinary people like you and me. Jesus died an unimaginable death to set things right with God on our behalf. This isn’t the picture perfect situation by the world’s standards but God’s love for us is perfect, so this evidence of God’s love is perfection.

God has given you His all. Ask Him to open your eyes and heart to be satisfied with all He is and all He is doing.

Thank You, Father, for Your perfect love!