Should: When We Have Expectations

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—SHOULD. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

SHOULD

Heat rising from the bubbling stew steamed her almost as much as her sister’s lack of helping. Martha stirred the pot again.

Why wasn’t Mary in here helping her? They were supposed to prepare the meal so the men could listen to Jesus, right? So what right did her sister have to sit at the Master’s feet and leave Martha to do all the work?

She should be in here, helping with dishes, and chopping vegetables and helping with  . . . . anything would be nice.

“Master, my sister should be helping me with the food prep.”

She was a brazen one when expectations weren’t met.

“Martha,” His gentle voice chastened. “Your sister has chosen the better thing. It will not be denied her.”

 

How would you have felt hearing those words from the One you were trying to please?

Isn’t it interesting how often we can get some great idea in our head, and it really is a good idea. But when we twist it up into what we think it should look like? We choke the life out of the inspiration the Master gives.

I’ve been guilty of this many times. I begin some grand endeavor, and then I get upset when others don’t go along with my plan (I might be hanging my head at this admission).

God challenges me to give up my expectations of what others should be doing to come alongside me in the great plan. Instead, He’s teaching me to turn to Him.

God has this amazing way of re-aligning my perspective when I begin to get out of sync with His plan.

When I take over the good plans He has, I always, always end up frustrated, discouraged, defeated. And then, I have to come back before Him, after His gentle (usually) chastening, and confess that I took His plan and morphed it into my less-than-great plan.

 

Instead of being the striving “do-er,” I need to become more like Mary and just be.

Be at the feet of Jesus.

Be attentive to His words and promptings.

Be open to His working in my heart.

What about you? When has God had to redirect you as you carried out a plan? What is one thing God has taught you when you chose to sit at His feet?

Click to Tweet: When we’re trying to “do our plan”

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—Should

 

Expectations: Looking To God

Lilacs almost blooming

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

How often does Jesus say to us, “Look at Me?” When we look, do we gaze at Him with specific expectations?

“If I look to You, Jesus, You’re going to make everything okay, right?”

“You’re going to help me get better at this skill, or solve that problem, or give me this thing I really want . . . right?”

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Plans: My Plans and Jesus’ Plans

Lighted Star

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

**Confession: I wrote this piece about a year ago, but I still find myself thinking about the truths I learned. So, I’m sharing it with you. 🙂

So, I’ve been feeling a little sorry for myself today. As I push forward hard to get things done before my favorite writing conference of the year—American Christian Fiction Writers conference—nothing is going as I planned.

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Am I Enough: A Thought on Mom’s Night Out the movie

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By Jeanne Takenaka

A couple friends and I saw the movie, Mom’s Night Out.  I came away uplifted by the story. My still-a-little-sore right side ached from all the times I laughed.

Along with great humor, beautiful messages shine through the story line. One thing that resonated with me was when the main character is in her darkest moment. She’s talking with an unlikely truth speaker. She’s certain she’s a failure at everything (Because really, what woman hasn’t felt this at one time or another?). And she says, “I’m not enough.”

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Surgery: Working Through Hidden Hurts

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Almost two weeks ago, my right side and back throbbed with pain. I suspected it was a kidney stone. Past experience revealed nothing would ease the pain, and I’d have to grit my way through it. The low-grade fever concerned me. The pain worsened the next morning.

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Expectations

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Image courtesy of marin with freedigitalphotos.net

I have a young friend who auditioned for her high school play a few weeks back. As she shared thoughts about her upcoming audition, I smiled. She talked about how she didn’t have to worry about dancing well because people who know her don’t expect her to be a great dancer. But, when it comes to singing, that is different. She has a beautiful voice, and she wanted to perform well for vocal part of her audition. I love that she knows and is comfortable with her abilities as a performer.

That conversation got me thinking about people and expectations and performance. I find it easy to be myself when I either don’t care or don’t worry about measuring up to others’ expectations. On the other hand, when I know someone expects me to accomplish something, I tend to falter. I set myself up for failure, worried I won’t live up to expectations . . . and then I don’t. I walk away from the scenario beating myself up. But, when I’m placed in a situation where the “role” was given to me, I feel safe fulfilling it in my unique way.

Expectations, real or perceived, place pressure on us. Some of us perform well under pressure, and some of us crumble. It’s taken years for me to feel okay about not bowing to the pressure of others’ expectations. I finally understand I will never fulfill what some people expect of me. And that is okay. I’m learning to shift my focus from living to appease people to learning what pleases God and doing it. It’s not always easy, but it is always the path with less pressure.

Your Turn: How do you handle expectations? What do you do to maintain a good perspective about them?