Do you ever find yourself either frozen from meaningful action, or over-exerting because of the task master of Invisible Expectations? By “invisible,” I mean that no one is currently telling or otherwise coercing you to do or not do the thing. You just have this nagging discomfort inside about it, and that discomfort might sound like the voice of someone criticizing your alleged shortcomings (possibly an actual voice you’ve heard before), or which looks like a model of someone you’re supposed to be — a composite of others you know, perhaps.
I don’t. I was just asking. Pah! I can’t even type that with a straight face. Possibly my biggest victim of Expectations is my self-expression. For example, this blog does suffer from life-changes, technology hiccups, and time management, but it most profoundly suffers from Expectations. I write because I love it, and because, for myself and my family, I want to record snippets of the prismatic life of being a Stay At Home Mom.
I don’t write because what I want to say right now doesn’t fit what Expectations says I’m supposed to write. I’m >supposed< to tell a funny story about the kids. If it’s not funny, I won’t be that made-up person I’m >supposed< to be, and people will lose interest. Wow, where did those other people come from? Did I not just say I’m doing this for the joy of it? And, any way, what does this imply about you? That you can’t be trusted to appreciate depth and authenticity?? Mercy, me.
Let’s get a butter knife and cut into the gooey psychological center of this, but only just enough to find a hint at the cure. Emotionally- and spiritually-speaking, this is all connected to the anchoring of my identity. If everything is relative, that means my sense of worth has to be derived through comparison. I have to decide what I admire, and successfully be like that. I think we have all tried that to some extent and we know that exercise is exhausting and futile.
A beautiful alternative is the presence of an Absolute Good. My love relationship with Jesus invites me to exhale and experience Him transforming me into my truest self — the me He designed, and the me He already sees as a done deal in eternity. Jesus doesn’t accuse; He invites. My Invisible Expectations can dissolve in Jesus, the Living Water, and be washed away. It’s like standing next to a breathtaking waterfall, which renders a rusty, drippy faucet existentially irrelevant. I can do what he inspires my growing heart to do. No more, no less.
So, practically speaking, what am I doing about my frozen self? I am:
1. Filling my mind with His inspired written, and gently whispered words every day (staying close to the waterfall).
2. Staying connected to friends and family who know the metaphorical songs of my heart and will encourage me to sing them.
3. Re-forming creative habits, starting small with anything that resembles what I love to do.
4. Intentionally exposing myself to what inspires me – nature, other people’s creativity, humor, etc.
I hope you will join me by the Waterfall. And now, I leave you with this thought from Philippians 1:6.
“God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won’t stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns.”