I’ve been thinking alot about the word “expectations” lately, my expectations of my children, of myself, God’s expectations of me. Are my expectations reasonable? Are my expectations built upon the world or upon God?
First looking at my expectations of my children, I know I must have them. The kids know I do have them. They strive to meet these expectations with their chores and schoolwork, with their attitudes. But what happens when my expectations are unreasonable?
I remember being so frustrated with my son when he could not keep his room clean. Repeatedly we would clean up his room, he would keep it tidy for a few days, and then the whirlwind would hit. I would get frustrated with him. I’m sure I frowned alot, and I know I yelled some too. Then we would start the process over. God just broke my heart one day when He told me that I was the problem. My expectations of this boy were unreasonable. I had not properly trained him and was not holding him accountable the way he needed. So with a broken and humble heart we started again. This time I shared with him how I had failed, that I did expect him to keep his room clean, but that I would help him to succeed. We’ve both failed several times since then, but his room is staying clean for longer and longer periods of time! But we have succeeded in that the anger and frustration was plucked out and replaced with love and mercy and patience.
School had been much the same thing, except I would get frustrated with myself, not the kids. The year would be planned, the breaks, all down to the detail of the weeks. Then I would feel miserable if we got behind, or if LIFE happened and we weren’t able to complete the assignments, or if we all just needed a break which would completely throw off our schedule for the year. My expectations of our school year were not realistic. What would happen if we didn’t do every little thing planned for a week? This was not important, but that my children were learning to learn, and to love learning.
And then there are my expectations of myself…I once thought I could do it all, career woman, mother, wife (in that order). I often wonder why I thought that, but believe that a whole generation of us were raised to believe this. Women could bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan…Society taught us this. I can’t tell you how baffled and disappointed I was when I realized that I couldn’t do it all. But in my weakness, God prevailed, was merciful, and began to teach me His expectations. Selah
I have found God’s expectations of me to be very simple and yet so deep and profound. He expects me as His child to love and desire Him, to search for Him, to cry out to Him. He waits for me to do this. He loves me to do this. And by doing this He shows me an outpouring of love that is beyond comprehension.
This is what I want to expect of my children. I desire for them to also know this love. When they are met with this love, it is so easy for them to succeed. So when I get frustrated with them for not meeting my expectations, or when I feel the floor crumbling around me because we are “falling behind,” I know it is time for me to reexamine my heart because I am most likely expecting the wrong things.