faith, Fortitude, Personal Development

The Pain of Expectations

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Do you ever feel really stressed, frustrated, bitter, or just in a dumpy mood? Maybe so much so that you feel exhausted? These feelings describe the opposite of happy. And we just want to be happy, don’t we? I’m going to share something with you from my personal journal that may offend you. I have an answer to this stress & exhaustion that may surprise you. It surprised me and I wrote it. That happens to me on occasion. I believe deep insight, inspiration and encouragement come to me by simply taking the time to write. You should try it. You might be surprised at the wisdom you have locked up in your mind. I digress.

 

I believe that a major cause for our stress, exhaustion, frustration, and general unhappiness is because we blame others for our unmet expectations. We have expectations (from deep in our mind, but rarely verbalized) that others will do as we please, or as we need (expect), for surely our needs are simple and reasonable. The trouble is that we subconsciously tie the satisfaction of our expectations to our happiness. If others don’t comply, we get upset. And it’s all their fault. They must fix it (behave differently) for us to be happy. This of course, is a terrible way to live.

 

To have our mood and attitude dependent upon the actions & behavior of another must be exhausting and stressful. A sober self-assessment is required for we will never easily acknowledge this is really happening to us. The truth is, we can never control the behavior of another, but we can always control our own behavior. We are in charge of ourselves.

 

love-always-winsSo someone close to us is not behaving well according to our opinion of the matter. (Isn’t the expectation we hold more strict for those closest to us?) What are we to do? We should take the advice of Jesus. He said we are to simply love. Love always wins. Being frustrated, bitter, stressed, and exhausted will not make another’s behavior improve. But love will. Yep. #lovealwayswins

 

One of the hardest things to do is to love those who hurt us or make us upset. Jesus said we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. To me that means to love those who make us upset. Jesus said we are to do to others what we would have them do to us. What would happen if we really did this?

 

imagesI believe this is just like what Jesus has shown us. Jesus loves us with an incredible love, an everlasting love, a love that pursues us even when we turn away, even when we are bad. Jesus died for us because of his great love for us and so we could be with him in heaven for all eternity. There is no other way for us to get heaven than by the loving sacrifice of Jesus. His love is entirely selfless and perfect in every way. We don’t deserve his love and we can never earn his love. Our response to that love is to love Jesus in return. To obey him and know him and serve him. Not because we must earn his favor (because we already have it), but because we’re so grateful for Jesus’ love and loving him is a natural way to express gratitude.

 

In the same way, If we can REALLY love those who frustrate us like no other (aka those closest to us), if we can just love the people we expect to behave a certain way to make us happy but always fail, I believe the natural response of that person will eventually be to love us back out of gratitude for the grace, mercy and love shown them. That’s just how it works. #preachingtomyself #easiersaidthandone

 

As followers of Jesus, we are to be known by our love. We can draw others to Jesus by simply loving them. We can make our relationships better by simply loving those close to us despite their flaws and frustrations. It’s our choice. Stop waiting for others to “get it together” and just love them. I’m willing to bet that if we love others well, our frustrations will decrease and our overall happiness will increase. Love always wins.

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