Monday, 13 October 2008

Why Bother?

Call me unrealistic, call me insane, call me naive, call me coward, call me what you may, but I hate expectations. I just do. I’ve never really figured out the point of engaging in such a time-wasting activity. If you are thinking it’s because I am wary of having my expectations not met, you’d be absolutely right. If you are really blessed, your expectations will get surpassed, if you are lucky, they’ll get met, and in a normal world, they’ll get crushed. Truth is, they are very rarely met, and once they aren’t, they lead to a lot of disappointment and pain.

You spend your precious Friday afternoon planning your Saturday with your husband. You get it all figured out: the time you are going to wake up, the restaurant at which you are going to have lunch, the friends you are going to invite to come along, the movie you are all going to see, you leave nothing out, except maybe one tiny little detail called ‘reality’! And, like it or not, it always checks in. Saturday arrives, and, nothing goes according to plan. Your husband is exhausted, and so really wants to sleep late, which means you’ll have to cancel your plans for lunch, because by the time you all get ready, you’ll barely have enough time to make it to the cinema before the movie starts. That’s a problem, because the friends you invited could only make it for lunch, and so you have to make other arrangements. But, finally, he’s awake and ready to go. You are on the move, and the lovely conversation you had expected, the one where he tells you all about his whole week at work, while you sit back and listen to him adoringly, has just gone down the drain, because now, you are upset that your plans got ruined, and he could read it on your face, and has retreated to his ‘don’t mess with an upset woman, just ignore her’ corner. To make matters worse, the premier movie you wanted to see has been sold out, safe for one seat, making you stew even more, because you know had you arrived just five minutes earlier, you would have beaten the old lady in front of you to that other seat.

Expectations, unless you place them on yourself, are potentially a huge let down. My question to you is, why bother? Why throw away your time focusing on things that you cannot control, while ignoring the one person you can control – yourself! We built up expectations because we want certain results. Then we spend time thinking about how to get those results, make plans and then sit back and wait for others to act according to our plan. Is it me, or is something wrong with this picture? What a waste of your good planning skills. Learn from your Creator. When God saw that His creation was in trouble and needed a Saviour, He came down by Himself. He had angels, cherubim and the entire universe at His command, but He didn’t risk His expectations being crushed. Too much was at stake. And so, He came by Himself and did what He had to do. You may say He is a Micromanager. I say He is a Visionary. He knew that certain things, you just don’t delegate.

So, next time, don’t expect others to act according to your plan. Never expect anything from anyone. Don’t burden your friends with always having to write you emails, call you on your birthday, send you gifts, because that’s what you expect them to do, and you throw a fit when they don’t. Allow your husband to exercise his God-given right of waking up when he chooses, let him take his time to get ready, talk to you at his leisure, miss the movie if you must, have a late lunch... What? Is that an angry, irritated ‘but’ I hear? Well then, why don’t you work on your own reaction? Expect not to be bothered even the slightest when things don’t go to plan. That expectation, after all, you can control!

Regards, and in faith,



Carol Verner said...

I agree with your conclusion. I don't expect anything from anyone - but I try to balance my life out by making time for friends, family but I have seen that in doing that people then expect you to do it all the time and that I DISLIKE - because I do love them all dearly and care for them but they end up forgetting my life is so busy and it is not all about them but about fulfilling the reason I LIVE. We should try not to expect anything from anyone and believe me you will have better relationships with people because everything you do for them or they do for you will be a BONUS into your relationship.

Evelyn Higginbotham said...

Sometimes the best moments are those we don't expect - the surprise date with your husband, the great movie you'd never heard about, the afternoon that you can actually put your feet up and take a long, guilt-free nap! I can't count how many times God looks at our choices to keep calm during stressful times, to have a good attitude when things don't go quite right, and then springs the most wonderful surprises at us that we never saw coming! Just like Paul says, rejoice always and be anxious for nothing...