Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Simplifying Your Expectations

I have a tendency to see things differently on the inside of my mind than they appear in reality. This is truly a valuable trait, seeing as faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I am a visionary type, and love to get inspired by something: to get excited about a new idea. This is great! I love being this way, but... Occasionally when the way I envision things doesn't immediately match up with the way things are happening right now, I can be tempted to get upset. The answer to this today, I am thinking, is to simplify my expectations.
Why do I need to be upset that I can't find time in the day to have a "home ec." class in our homeschool, to do an in depth devotional and biblestudy with the kids, to get all the laundry done, and make fresh homemade sourdough bread? Why can't I just be satisfied that my daughter was at home with me today, and that she did a good math lesson?
Sometimes in depression when a person elevates their expectations, it can lead to disappointment, anger, a sense of failure, and more depression. Have you "failed" because you didn't get the house vaccuumed today, or the dishes washed? Nowhere is there a statute declaring that if you are not exceeding everybody else that you have failed. What about your life? What are God's expectations of you?
When you look in His word, you realize that He is not holding a high standard against you, He is stretching out His hand to you in love. Can you accept that? That right now, wherever you are, He has accepted you. He does not see you as a failure. However, if you want to build your confidence, and enjoy greater success each day, simplify what you are expecting of yourself. Maybe you can't drive everybody to hockey, soccer, baseball and ballet practice right now, but you could cuddle them beside you on the sofa and read to them. Maybe you didn't get all their laundry done today, but you could lay beside them at night and talk intimately for a few minutes when you tuck them in. Maybe you weren't the woman today that your husband thought you should be. Even so, you can do a great thing by forgiving him, and smiling tenderly anyway.
If you use this time to focus on doing a good job at what you can do, you will not feel so intimidated or dissapointed by what you aren't doing right now. Look to the Lord and to His Word for the help, strength, and guidance you need to live each day to the fullest. Reading your bible each morning will straighten your path for the day, and you will accomplish each of your simple, joyful expectations well. In time, as you grow, you will be able to add to those expectations with no stress, and no risk of disappointment or depression!

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