Friday, July 1, 2011

Unrealistic High Expectations

I just had a wonderful, much needed visit with a great friend. Kim and I met back in January of this year at a Bible Study from our church, we clicked instantly- it's honestly hard to believe we've only been friends for 6 months. We are very similar people, but are still different enough to challenge, strengthen, and "sharpen" each other. This afternoon, we sat pool side chatting while our girls (Kim also has 2 girls) swam- it turned out that we both desperately needed this time today.
We both have some things going on that brought us to a discussion on High Expectations. As we talked , I knew what I wanted to write about today. We were not discussing the expectations others put on us- but the unreasonable HIGH expectations we put on ourselves. From being a parent, a Christian, a wife/husband, an employee/boss, or even friend- we tend to put unreasonable expectations on ourselves- or at least I do (and Kim does).
I mean, yes- many people tend to put unreasonable expectations on us also- but so often we measure ourselves against some crazy picture that WE have painted. It could be an article we read, a conference attended, a book, others peoples perspective or way of doing something- It all gets lumped together in this picture of perfection that we never will achieve. Honestly, the only person who says that it's the "perfect" picture is ourselves. 
My perfect picture would be this: My size 3/4 self, would wake up on time everyday to a house that is constantly maintained/organized/clean- but yet still fun. Before making my happy/content/well rested family a perfect homemade, from scratch, breakfast- I did my 45 minute devotional and 45 prayer time, showered, completely ready and beautified with straight hair. I drop my happy children off at school, arrive to work with an encouraging word for everyone all day- even when I am treated badly. When my husband calls stressed- I am ready with an answer, scripture, and encouraging word that will launch him through the rest of the day and the same will happen for my children when they challenge me- and I would never lose my patience. Pick up my children with lots of love and arrive home and pop my perfect- from scratch- dinner in the oven as a greet my husband at the door with a smile and kiss. Accomplish my whole "to do" list plus some- playing with my children to their contentment- putting them to bed after their bath with a smile. Ending my day with a devotional and prayer time.
Mind you- I've never had a day like that and I've never seen that perfect picture except in my head (or on Leave It To Beaver). So, WHY would I even think I would ever be able to accomplish this? Because I've seen or heard other people talk about the wonderful parts of their lives- and I try to think up what their magic formula may be.
I believe in order to be "spiritually sound/mature" I MUST spend a minimum of 1 1/2 hours in God's presence every day- and how dare I not do that! I have to remind myself that God doesn't want just a small chunk out of my day- He wants relationship- and that comes from moments- big, small, long, short, happy, or sad, morning, night, or afternoon, 5 minutes or 5 hours. I tend to put this "all or nothing" expectation on myself which only creates stress, and frustration.
I do the same thing with my home and schedules some times- do it right or not at all- that always ends eventually with me having an emotional, explosive breakdown- it all comes from unrealistic high expectations that only I put on myself. I'm also coming to realize that these things trickle down to those around me- and they feel the effects of how I treat myself and expect to much from me. I'm coming to realize that for my family, they don't want any of that stuff I just mentioned, the most precious thing I can give them is my time and attention- those things aren't always so easy, but for the most part- it's effortless.
God, My Family, and My Friends do not walk around with a measuring stick- I do- and I need to put it down and focus on the things that really matter. I've gotten better about much of it, and worse about others. But, while talking with Kim today- and helping her recognize her crazy measuring stick, I found some  places where my "crazy stick" is still going into overtime. I love that I'm recognizing it- which gives me the power to tackle it head on. So, here I go trying to be reasonable...and determined to succeed at it..........

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