Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Letting go of expectations

My dear friend Ruth at a messy life wrote last week about being unhappy. She had recently come to a place where she realized, as we SG-1 fans might put it, that she is never going to be Colonel Samantha Carter. I think we all reach a point (perhaps several times) in life when acceptance dawns us, willing or no, that this may be as good as it gets, and we have to let go of some of the dreams we had for a time. Fortunately, God generally has better things planned for us than we did. As Ruth discovered in a moment of epiphany, she is the most important person in the world to her beautiful children -- in her family's eyes, Colonel Carter could never come close to filling her shoes! 

In considering Ruth's words and reflecting on my own periods of unhappiness, I've come to believe that a large portion of the unhappiness we run into in life is due to expectations we embrace that we perhaps shouldn't have. I can spend so much time trying to figure out what life is about or what I'm "supposed" to be doing (scientist, stay-at-homemaker, editor, writer, entrepeneur???) that I lose sight of the fact that God loves me just because I am His daughter. There's nothing I can do to make Him love me more or less. As Dave Ramsey put it on his radio show the other day (when questioned by a new Christian about tithing), God lays out what we should do to have a good life, but even if we completely mess up He still loves us just as much as his other children -- we're just one of the "dumb" ones! I like that. It's liberating. 

There's a blog I recently discovered that has some wonderful homemaking advice. Skimming through the topics that interested me, I ran across one of many posts encouraging wives to stay at home. Well, that's putting it mildly and politely. You can read the full post here, but all I could think of after reading it was, "Oh my! God's going to pop down here for a surprise visit and discover that my secondary bathroom is sorely neglected and my bedroom is a disaster! How disappointed He'll be that I wasn't a better caretaker of my home!" You know what? We (humans, women, mothers, Christians) need to stop being so hard on each other, and especially stop being so hard on ourselves, as if life is some great big test. 

Oswald Chambers had something to say along these lines in Tuesday's "My Utmost for His Highest":
The impregnable safety of justification and sanctification is God Himself. We have not to work out these things ourselves; they have been worked out by the Atonement. The supernatural becomes natural by the miracle of God; there is a realization of what Jesus Christ has already done -- "It is finished."
Just rest in your Daddy's arms and enjoy the beauty He's given us (trusting He will take care of us through the ugly). 

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