[Editor’s note: The author explains her family’s Lenten commitment to take the Love Dare here . Regular updates will be posted all through Lent. Click here to catch up on previous posts. Due to CE staff scheduling, we will not be able to keep up with these posts daily, but we will make sure they are all posted, even though it means they run past Lent. ]
Lowering unfair expectations is our challenge today.
“Guard my soul and deliver me; do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You ” (Psalm 25:20)
Today’s dare came at the perfect time. I was frustrated with the messy house. My husband was frustrated with the noise, and the kids were frustrated with each other. All of this revolved around unrealistic expectations.
We have six kids still at home; my house (no matter how I try) will never look like a magazine picture. We will have noise around us for years and the kids will argue. Realizing the reality in which we live can help us have more realistic expectations about our life together.
I have a friend who is a professor of economics. He works with numbers all day long. So when his six children were driving him a little bonkers at church (due to their interruptions) he decided to work it out statistically. He took the number of children, their ages and the length of Mass and figured out what a realistic number of interruptions would be. Much to his surprise, his kids were actually causing fewer interruptions than the statistical probability! This knowledge helped him adjust his expectations during Mass and he felt calmer and less irritated by his children’s behavior.
Due to our youngest daughter’s cognitive delays and Asperger’s she acts like a much younger child (than her chronological age). We often react at her with frustration when she doesn’t “act her age,” and yet the reality is that she is incapable of “acting her age.” When we remember this, we are less likely to respond to her in an inappropriate or disproportionate way.
We all harbor unrealistic expectations either from pride, ignorance or because we just haven’t looked at the situation correctly. Keeping this in check will help us live more harmoniously.
Lord, open our eyes and help us to be realistic about our family expectations. Help us to focus more on acceptance than perfection.