Ever since the day I found I was pregnant with our first son I always assumed that I would make an awesome mom. I even remember one of the first dates I ever went on with Nick where I told him my one dream in life was to be a mother. I told him it was one of the few things I knew I would be good at. Most things in life do not come easy to me, but when it came to taking care of kids I have always been a natural. So it was safe for me to assume that when the time came for me to have my own kids it would be something that would come easy for me. I quickly realized once my kids were born that 1. having your own kids is very different from watching someone else's and 2. there is so much responsibility that comes with raising little humans.
"Expectations ruin relationships" is a quote I heard in the past and seemed to stick with me. In life whenever I have been disappointed with my husband, friends, family, or kids it was because my expectations were not met. Recently, I have noticed I have a short temper and my patience is running on empty. In my mind, I try to blame-shift but really I am failing at my own expectations. I expect to always know how to correctly discipline my kids. I expect to know how to rightly balance my social, personal, and church life. I expect to be liked and loved by everyone. I expect to be listened to. I expect too much and then my expectations are not met. I expect to be this unrealistic super mom who can measure up to all the other moms I see but in the midst of it all I fail to see what I am doing well and right in the here-and-now.
Instead of having a heart that cries out to God and waives a surrender flag, I am finding myself asking God why don't I have the answers? Why are my kids not listening to me? Why aren't my hours spent reading parenting books working? Why are my recipes not coming out right? And the lists go on.
Jen Pollock Michel wrote in her book Teach Us to Want, "Struggle is the prerequisite to surrender." The struggle part has been happening for quite a few months now and finally I am at surrender. Failing at your own expectations only leads you down a road where you focus on what is not working instead of a road to surrender, asking for help, and becoming more thankful.
I will never be the mom I always dreamed of being if I set myself up failure from the start. I can't expect everyday to go as planned or prepare for every scenario. My kids are not going to obey me everyday and I can't take that personally. Their sinfulness is not mine, just like my sinfulness is not theirs. My desire for control will keep me from being the mother and wife I want to be if I don't surrender my inabilities and insecurities to the Lord. My worth and identity can't be found in what I can or cannot do, but rather in who I am already in Christ. Thankfully, I serve a God who will never fail and who has clearly laid out what I can expect from him in his Word and through his promises to me and my children.
Jen Pollock Michel goes on to say in her book:
Instead of walking in shame and guilt for what I am not, I want the desire of my heart to be that I am pleasing God. God asks for perfect obedience and trust. Knowing our sinfulness and inability to achieve this standard, God sent his Son to do what we could not. God gives us the perfect obedience he requires of us in Jesus. May we rest in the knowledge that Christ has accomplished God's perfect expectations on our behalf. We can't do anything to gain his love and approval, it is a free gift. That is love!!!
Are you failing at your own expectations? Do you wish you could live up to something that is an unattainable self? Be reminded of the truth and remember that God knows our deepest desires of who we want to be, both the good and the bad. And he gifts us with a more satisfying identity through his son, Jesus.