Dealing with Expectations

Expectations. That seems to be a word that everyone hates. No one likes it when people expect things of them that they cannot deliver. Whether it be parents expecting a 4.0 gpa from their children or coaches expecting winning streaks from their athletes, expectations are hard to deal with. I am a pastor’s kid, so you could say that I know a thing or two about expectations. Life as a pastor’s kid is comparable to being a fish in a fishbowl. Everyone can see everything that you do. People watch your every move and are always quick to criticize. I have built up a lot of resentment of people in the church over the years because of their unrealistic expectations of me. I am a pastor’s kid so I have to dress to their standards, behave according to their standards, date according to their standards. I resented them because I did not get to enjoy going to church growing up. I was constantly focused on what I was wearing or how I was acting because I knew that people would tell my parents if they disapproved of something. I did not get to come and be open about my struggles because I wasn’t allowed to have any. I had to be perfect all the time. I was not raised in a super legalistic family, but I in a way became legalistic because of these expectations. I thought that if I messed up God would love me less. I thought that if I dressed inappropriately God would love me less. I am 19 years old, in college and yet I still struggle with this. I will never not be a pastor’s kid. When I go back home and go back to church I have to face the same expectations. It just isn’t the same. It is sad when you get to the point where you would rather go to church at school because no one knows that you are a pastor’s kid than go to the church you’ve been at since you were born. There are expectations of my clothes, my conversations, my boyfriend, the list could go on and on. It was not until recently when I heard, yet again, of how I had “messed up” and not met people’s expectations, that I found there was resentment in my heart.  So here is a disclaimer to anyone reading this before I continue. I am not perfect. I will never meet everyone’s perfect expectations of me. I will never be good enough. I will never dress modestly enough, behave well enough, be godly enough, my relationship will never be pure enough. The truth is that no one can. There is not one person on the face of this earth that can live up to the impossible expectations we are faced with. If we could there would be no need for the grace of God. If we were perfect, there would be no need for the cross and for salvation. I now rejoice in my imperfection. My imperfection means I do not need to worry about meeting everyone’s impossible expectations. In my imperfection I can see Jesus because he takes my imperfections and uses them for his glory. Expectations lead to one thing and one thing only, disappointment. However, when you learn to embrace your imperfections and mistakes you can find peace in God. He uses imperfect people to accomplish His perfect plan. So next time you are faced with expectations that you know you cannot live up to, give it over to God. He will use you and your imperfections to achieve His good and perfect will, not everyone else’s. I will always struggle with this. I will always struggle with resentment, even while writing this I can feel an anger welling up. I will spend the rest of my life working on this. I now have two options and so do you. You can choose to let anger take over and be mad and resentful, or you can choose joy because your relationship with Christ is not based on works. Your relationship with Christ is based on faith. After all, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. Choose joy.

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