Soldiers in Afghanistan have reported a sense of desperation at times, when IEDs (improvised explosive devices) surround their positions. They say that it’s smarter to risk a sniper’s bullet than to “guess” their way across a zone not officially cleared of landmines.
In my frantic everyday life, I, too, can feel hemmed in — by EXPECTATIONS.
Expectations can be innumerable, unexplainable, and irrational. Do you, too, feel overwhelmed by:
- meeting deadlines
- remembering appointments
- taking care of people
- saying ALL the right things
- solving problems before they get worse
- projecting a professional image
- spending funds within a budget
- keeping up with the political scene
- planning for the future
- preparing for crises
- tending to all safety measures
- keeping up appearances
- giving back to the community?
(What’s on your list?)
I carry a personal rucksack stuffed with expectations, knowing that many will never be met. My human nature will get in the way, or traffic will ruin my punctuality, or (for a million reasons) I will fail to meet someone’s need.
This Fathers Day these questions come to mind:
Is my contentment based upon meeting expectations?
Am I obsessed with hitting the bullseye every time?
Is my self-worth tied to fulfilling expectations?
Do I feel condemned if I miss the target?
Who laid these burdens (expectations) on my shoulders?
Will the world end if I don’t do what is expected?
What or who is the source of the expectations?
At 66 years old, the truth is sinking in: I am not God and no one should expect me to be God.
As Jesus’s disciple, I will serve him with the physical strength and mental tools he has given me. No more. No less. When I rest in him and stop stewing over my inadequacies, God multiplies the effectiveness of any efforts that may be lacking.
By yielding to depression over failing to meet expectations, I torture my loved ones as well as myself. But if I empty my rucksack at Jesus’ feet, and ask him which expectations to pick up, and which ones HE will attend to, I bear my burden easily–assured that God will clear all landmines from my path of purpose.
This is the only way that Jesus’s yoke can be easy, and his burden light. (Matt. 11:30)
(From an old dad.)