Monday, May 16, 2011

The Contentment Killer

Today is my birthday. I guess all the kids remembered, because they are starting out the day by sleeping in. What a nice present! That sleeping in has given me time this morning to sit quietly, drink my chai, and think.

As I've been pondering, it has occurred to me that I have all to often fallen victim to what I will call The Curse of the Birthday (and Other Big Holidays). What is it? Expectation.

It is such a killer. Believe me, I know. I have been the road kill far to often to be able to deny it. When it comes down to it, expectation, whether on a particular day, or toward a particular person, or in a particular situation, is almost always going to end in disappointment. The whole basis of expectation is faulty, so there is no way I can ever expect to build something on top of it, and it stand.

Almost always, expectation is self-focused. It does not spring from love, but from a desire to get what I want. It is the ultimate all-about-me game, and if it is not met, then it usually results in another all-about-me activity, self pity. And self pity is a dangerous thing indeed. It breeds dissatisfaction, and dissatisfaction can mutate into a whole host of ugly things.

Expectation can cripple a marriage, frustrate a parent, and ruin a friendship. It can do so much damage, yet it is so preventable! In so many areas I have learned this the hard way. I have failed at this again, and again, and again. But God is the God who forgives us again, and again, and again. That is something I can expect. I can also expect His help to erase those expectations when I ask Him. And that's really what it comes down to. Asking. Expecting God to help us to find our contentment in Him and not in our expectations of others.

It is in Him, and only Him, that we find our Freedom.


Five Musgraves at Ten Oaks said...

This is very timely for me, Angie! With 1 son having just graduated from college and 2 still in college, I'm dealing with unmet expectations in various forms. And more than that, "Hopes!" There are so many hopes that we have for our children to live what they believe, to not forget the lessons we think they've learned, etc.... Then when they're making their own decisions, I want to say, "But you knew better . . . ." After helping our oldest move out of an apartment last night that was absolutely filthy, I am reminded again.

Pam said...

Such a good reminder, Angie. Thank you for articulating what I have so often thought in regards to myself. You are exactly right about it being preventable and the need to allow God to erase those expectations in favor of finding contentment in Him.

Happy, Happy Birthday, dear Angie. Happy Birthday to you!!

BTW, I love the changes to your blog template. : ) So good to see Graham join the girls on here!

Mel said...

I totally agree... I really don't enjoy the actual day of my bday b/c I always expect it to different than other days, better in some way, feel like I have more attention on that day... i think the anticipation of a big day is so much more fun than the actual day.

Candace said...

Happy Birthday sweet friend! I am also very excited that you're blogging again. I am so encouraged by you!

Betsy@Living in the Moment said...

Thank you fo writing this post and thank you for coming back to blogging. I have missed your insight. I fell victim to expectation on Mother's Day and ALMOST had a crummy day but i righted myself with a lot of revelation from God and I saw the beauty that He wanted me to see. Thank you!

Deb D. said...

Happy Birthday, Angie.
And thanks for that good perspective.

Sandra Sandra said...

I do all I can to maintain good health. I eat mostly plants, as Michael Pollan would say. I get a lot of exercise. I lead a purposeful daily life. I stay current with the dentist. I made the formative decision of where to live over thirty years ago when I settled in a 'main street' small town in upstate New York.