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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Identify Unrealistic Expectations

Here's a third way to face the New Year desire for perfection:

Along with understanding God’s unconditional love and grace, I also began to see how I had unrealistic expectations. My perfectionistic perspective made me think I could do more than I could and that others should perform perfectly to meet my needs.

I’ll never forget the day I talked with my neighbor Pat and she mentioned how she washed her sheets every two weeks, sometimes even three! I was shocked. I felt pressured to wash ours every week—because that is the way I’d been trained as a child. Somehow it seemed like the world would end if I didn’t wash them that often. But Pat’s comment helped me see that the world wouldn’t end and I could relieve some of my stress.

I also realized that Darcy and Larry couldn’t meet my unrealistic needs to make me happy. I thought Darcy should obey me so that I wouldn’t be unhappy. When Darcy disobeyed, I believed she was doing it on purpose to communicate what a terrible mother I was. And when Larry valued working many hours rather than helping me with the children and paying attention to me, I concluded he didn’t care about me anymore.

In time, I began to see that I could choose God’s joy whether or not the people around me acted the way I thought they should. They didn’t hold the key to my happiness, God did. I released Darcy and Larry from my unrealistic expectations by forgiving them for being imperfect. As a result, I could discipline Darcy with more patience, and in time, Larry was drawn closer to me because I was no longer always nagging him. My perfectionism was diminishing!

4 comments:

  1. Another good blog post from you gently encouraging us into "The Relief of Imperfection." Thanks, Kathy.

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  2. Thank you, Joan. You definitely know about such things. I hope my readers will check out your book "The Relief of Imperfection." You will love it, everyone!

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  3. Kathy, I love your transparency in this blog. It is so refreshing - thank you for a beautiful reminder to let go of unrealistic expectations. I am always working on this in my life. I have to tell you that just today, I had a conversation with my mother, telling her it is "okay" to only wash her sheets every couple of weeks, instead of every week. She recently broke her leg, and has to stay off her feet for 6 weeks, so she admitted to putting pressure on my dad to wash those sheets every week, and he is telling her it's not necessary! She was shocked when she found out I didn't follow in her weekly washing footsteps! Mothers and daughters can learn a lot from each other, and you just never know what or when that may be! : ) I think she decided to give my dad a break!

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    1. I laughed while reading your story. It just means we're never too old for God to deal with our unrealistic expectations! Thanks for writing!

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