Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Realistic expectations.

We successfully returned from another road trip this past weekend. Successfully, I say, because there were no angry exchanges in the car, no hurdling over seats to squeeze cheeks and utter threats. Why was this trip different from the last? One reason: realistic expectations. 

Everything is better when I'm realistic about life and about myself and about others. 

I've been starting my days with thoughts like, "This day is going to be hard. There's a lot of work to do." The babies will be fussy, the house will be chaotic, and I'm going to be exhausted. Period. Don't expect more than this. And if God grants a quite cup of coffee in the afternoon with twenty peaceful minutes to read, embrace it as a gift. But don't demand it.

Second, I'm getting more realistic about myself. "I'm a screw-up," is what I decided my most recent mantra should be. Which has sent me into a tailspin theologically. I've started to wonder, What's the most important thing we are supposed to acknowledge about ourselves? Is it that we are unconditionally and fully loved by God? Or is it that we are fatally flawed at the core of our being, sinful as the Bible puts it?

For me, I find it helpful to remind myself that I'm going to screw things up. Yes, thank God, He's changing me, rooting out some of the ugliest parts of who I've been for these part 34 years. But I'm still a screw up. No longer should I be shocked when I fall short of my own expectations. Ideals are good. Goals are important. But the truth is, try as I might, I'm failing. Each day that I acknowledge that, I'm closer to relying on God's grace.

And if I can acknowledge my own shortcomings, perhaps I can give a little bit more grace to those around me. Let them fail me. Instead of anger or buried disappointment, maybe there could be patience. 




2 comments:

Lynne said...

Boy does this message hit home! Thanks for being so open and honest. I'm always learning from you : )

The Miller's said...

Jen,
You sure don't screw up your writing! I love how God has gifted you in this area...it encourages a screw up like me. Tricia Carrier and I are in a small group together again and talk about our Chicago group frequently! Love, Holly