You are a twenty-first century woman. Most of us carry a part or full-time job as well as the laundry, cooking, ministry, kids, husbands, maybe parents with failing health, and some homeschool. It’s a busy time. Expectations. They can bring us agony, disapproval, self-accusation, and feelings of failure. We measure our success and failure by whether or not we were able to reach the expectations that we set forth for ourselves.
As Christian women we also feel the pressure of verses such as Eccl. 9:10, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might….” And Phil. 3:23, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for men.” Expectations. A few verses back in Phil. 3: 15 it says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts….” How are ya doin’? There is no time for peace when our expectations are unrealistically high. Take a breath. Breathe. How can we find the peace of Jesus when the world is demanding so much? Wait a minute! Is it the world, or is it me? Maybe, it would be okay to lower my expectations and find that peace.
Perfectionism, fear of failure, trying to please or impress others all help in the losing battle of expectations. It’s time to reevaluate. Why am I doing such and such? What is driving me to work so hard that I fall into bed every night exhausted to wake up the next morning and do it again? If we are to do all that we do with all of our might, then doing a few things well seems better than trying to do a lot of things partially, minimally, or sloppy.
When we were first married I tried to keep; house like my mother-in-law because surely that was what my husband expected having grown up with organized junk drawers and hyper-clean floors. One day I asked him what he needed done in the house to feel comfortable. He said if the bed was made and the dishes were done, he was fine. Whew! I could do that! I usually did more than that, but those days when I can’t get to it, I am okay. Lowering expectations to a point that they are achievable, is refreshing, relaxing, and necessary. We need wins, not losses in this game of life. Lowering expectations is not failure; it is taking care of you so that you can take care of others.
Picture: My grandson, Tyler wanted to dig. Grandpa so need to spend time digging for no purpose. They dug, and then they planted a tree. Win, win!
Hint of the day: Homeschooling moms: You have two full-time jobs. If every subject is not done every day, that’s okay. Get the basics: Bible, English, and math done as much as possible and know that not getting science, history, and other subjects every day is fine because your child is getting one-on-one tutoring. One day of intense study trumps a week of frantic and hurried study. Working moms: Setting a breakfast and dinner schedule by day can take the frustration out of planning meals 30 days a month. A five day plan such as oatmeal on Mondays, cereal on Tuesdays, pancakes on Wednesday, etc… can take some of the pressure of meal planning. Moms caring for others: Remember that these are precious days to spend with your aging parents, sick child, or needy neighbor. There is great reward now and through out eternity for sitting patiently and serving others through listening and being present not just in getting the tasks done.