Palm Sunday – Our Expectations

Palm Sunday is this weekend. I think of the Lord Jesus riding into the city on a donkey, the people waving palms and cheering. They heralded Jesus as their savior, their King, mistakenly thinking he was going to set them free from Roman rule. But their expectations turned to disappointment, anger and eventually led Jesus to the cross.

How many times have my expectations led me to disappointment and frustration, even anger? Especially when the holidays come around, I expect loved ones to want to participate in the festivities, enjoy a nice family get-together, and that everything go smoothly. Yet, how many times does it really work out the way I expect? There is always some kink, some challenge that threatens to ruin everything if I let it.

Then I become frustrated and upset when others don’t live up to my expectations. Who really is to blame for my unhappiness? Me, of course! If I learn to live and let live, all is well. All I can do is extend the invitation – no strings, no guilt, no pressure.

Jesus did not come to set the people free from Roman rule. He came to set them free from themselves. He wants to do the same for us today. He wants to set us free from our expectations so that we can let others be free as well. Jesus said in Luke 19:42 “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace.”

What is it this season that is stealing your peace? Is it expectations of others? Yourself? God does not have expectations of us. He knows and accepts us just as we are. Would we not do well to act the same towards those we love?

Until next time, keep looking up!

Fear Not

I usually consider myself a pretty brave person. I’ve faced a lot of difficulty in my life as a single parent, raising two sons. I don’t think of myself as being fearful, but this week I had a revelation that I am indeed acting of my fears.

My son, Jon, and I were driving to dinner one night this week when he made a comment that hit a nerve. “Why don’t you give me more credit, Ma?”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You don’t give me enough credit. I can handle things and think I am pretty smart. I am going to be 25 you know.”

Yep, that is true. So why am I constantly making suggestions to him? No one wants to be told what to do about their lives, right? And especially not a 25 year old young adult male.

I realized I am reacting out of fear when I have expectations of others: fear that they are not going to do the right thing. And then when they don’t, my fears are confirmed. I think it boils down to the old idea of getting what you expect.

I’ve decided to take a new approach and start thinking more positively about people and having faith that they can take care of themselves and that they know what is best for them. Stop trying to play God by telling others what they should and shouldn’t do. We are all responsible for our actions and their consequences and that’s how we learn and grow, right?

Today I am going to trust God more in this area. Trust my loved ones in their abilities to make their own choices and let go of this responsibility. I think I will be more content and so will they!

As Paul says in Phil 4:8-9, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard or seen from me put it into practice and the peace of God will be with you.”

Fear Not

I usually consider myself a pretty brave person. I’ve faced a lot of difficulty in my life as a single parent, raising two sons. I don’t think of myself as being fearful, but this week I had a revelation that I am indeed acting of my fears.

My son, Jon, and I were driving to dinner one night this week when he made a comment that hit a nerve. “Why don’t you give me more credit, Ma?”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You don’t give me enough credit. I can handle things and think I am pretty smart. I am going to be 25 you know.”

Yep, that is true. So why am I constantly making suggestions to him? No one wants to be told what to do about their lives, right? And especially not a 25 year old young adult male.

I realized I am reacting out of fear when I have expectations of others: fear that they are not going to do the right thing. And then when they don’t, my fears are confirmed. I think it boils down to the old idea of getting what you expect.

I’ve decided to take a new approach and start thinking more positively about people and having faith that they can take care of themselves and that they know what is best for them. Stop trying to play God by telling others what they should and shouldn’t do. We are all responsible for our actions and their consequences and that’s how we learn and grow, right?

Today I am going to trust God more in this area. Trust my loved ones in their abilities to make their own choices and let go of this responsibility. I think I will be more content and so will they!

As Paul says in Phil 4:8-9, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard or seen from me put it into practice and the peace of God will be with you.”

Tyranny of Should

Are you feeling pressured today? Too much to do and not enough time or energy to do it all?

For many years of my life, I felt this way. As a single-parent, I needed to be very responsible, obediently doing what I needed to do, disciplining myself to do things when I didn’t “feel” like it, and following the rules.

As a single parent, I didn’t have the luxury of time or feeling “in the mood” to take care of all the responsibilities of raising two children single-handedly while working full-time at a demanding career and taking care of a home and a car. There was always something that needed to be done, and it mattered very little if I was tired, the weather was bad, or I didn’t feel like it. I’ve always lived by the old adage “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”

Now that my children are grown and out of the house, I am seeing that not everyone has this approach to life.

As I contemplate what it means to live well, I’ve realized that being content means not having expectations of others, but also not having such demanding expectations of myself. What am I trying to prove? Nothing!

Now I am not advocating a lazy, do nothing approach to life. We are called to be responsible for ourselves so that we will not be a burden to others. Life is very busy for most of us. All I am saying is that for me at this stage in my life, I think it’s time to take a more relaxed approach and stop pressuring myself needlessly. The house will get cleaned, the bills will get paid, and I will go to the gym and exercise. I know this because I have developed disciplined habits over the years. So why do I get anxious when things start to pile up? Eventually, everything gets done. As it says in the book of Ecclesiastes, “there is a time and a place for everything under the sun.”

Where are you today? Are the pressures of life caving in on you?

Today, I will be content with myself and others. I will accept what the day brings me and not pressure myself or others. I will do what I have to do when I feel it is the right time to do it and trust that all will be taken care of in due time. How about you, beloved?

Tyranny of Should

Are you feeling pressured today? Too much to do and not enough time or energy to do it all?

For many years of my life, I felt this way. As a single-parent, I needed to be very responsible, obediently doing what I needed to do, disciplining myself to do things when I didn’t “feel” like it, and following the rules.

As a single parent, I didn’t have the luxury of time or feeling “in the mood” to take care of all the responsibilities of raising two children single-handedly while working full-time at a demanding career and taking care of a home and a car. There was always something that needed to be done, and it mattered very little if I was tired, the weather was bad, or I didn’t feel like it. I’ve always lived by the old adage “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”

Now that my children are grown and out of the house, I am seeing that not everyone has this approach to life.

As I contemplate what it means to live well, I’ve realized that being content means not having expectations of others, but also not having such demanding expectations of myself. What am I trying to prove? Nothing!

Now I am not advocating a lazy, do nothing approach to life. We are called to be responsible for ourselves so that we will not be a burden to others. Life is very busy for most of us. All I am saying is that for me at this stage in my life, I think it’s time to take a more relaxed approach and stop pressuring myself needlessly. The house will get cleaned, the bills will get paid, and I will go to the gym and exercise. I know this because I have developed disciplined habits over the years. So why do I get anxious when things start to pile up? Eventually, everything gets done. As it says in the book of Ecclesiastes, “there is a time and a place for everything under the sun.”

Where are you today? Are the pressures of life caving in on you?

Today, I will be content with myself and others. I will accept what the day brings me and not pressure myself or others. I will do what I have to do when I feel it is the right time to do it and trust that all will be taken care of in due time. How about you, beloved?

No Expectations

This week I continue to meditate on what it means to live well. To me, it means enjoy the present moment and learn to be content.

Learn to be content in the present moment also implies learning to be content with others. Now that’s a biggy for me. Whenever I find myself upset, disappointed, or disillusioned, there’s a good chance that I am operating out of some expectation. My problem is I expect others to behave in a certain way, the “right way”. I find myself thinking “Well, he should ….” or “they should”.

Problem with that kind of thinking is that the other person is not thinking the same way. What may be important to me, may not be as important to them. And, who’s to say what I think is the right way anyway?

Now, please don’t misunderstand, I’m not talking about unreasonable behavior. But people are human. Our selfish nature tends to tell us to look out for ourselves mostly. We all have busy lives and multiple priorities. Just because something is important to me doesn’t mean it is important to someone else. I need to stop thinking “Well, he should do this or that”even when it comes to my children or partner.

The only person who can really meet all my needs is the Lord. Period, end of story. When I let go of my expectations and my “should” thinking, I notice I feel lighter, freer. A heaviness is lifted. When I “let go” of my expectations and need for control of the other person’s behavior, I am free to enjoy the present moment. All I can do is ask for what I want or need, and then let go of the outcome. That way I won’t feel disappointed and let down. And in the end, for me, that’s what living well is all about.

Until the next time, be happy and enjoy your day!

No Expectations

This week I continue to meditate on what it means to live well. To me, it means enjoy the present moment and learn to be content.

Learn to be content in the present moment also implies learning to be content with others. Now that’s a biggy for me. Whenever I find myself upset, disappointed, or disillusioned, there’s a good chance that I am operating out of some expectation. My problem is I expect others to behave in a certain way, the “right way”. I find myself thinking “Well, he should ….” or “they should”.

Problem with that kind of thinking is that the other person is not thinking the same way. What may be important to me, may not be as important to them. And, who’s to say what I think is the right way anyway?

Now, please don’t misunderstand, I’m not talking about unreasonable behavior. But people are human. Our selfish nature tends to tell us to look out for ourselves mostly. We all have busy lives and multiple priorities. Just because something is important to me doesn’t mean it is important to someone else. I need to stop thinking “Well, he should do this or that”even when it comes to my children or partner.

The only person who can really meet all my needs is the Lord. Period, end of story. When I let go of my expectations and my “should” thinking, I notice I feel lighter, freer. A heaviness is lifted. When I “let go” of my expectations and need for control of the other person’s behavior, I am free to enjoy the present moment. All I can do is ask for what I want or need, and then let go of the outcome. That way I won’t feel disappointed and let down. And in the end, for me, that’s what living well is all about.

Until the next time, be happy and enjoy your day!