Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Expectation of Perfection

As you wake this morning, what is it that you are looking for? As your feet hit the floor are you wishing for a great day at work where everything seems to go your way? Is it that promotion you are deserving of? Maybe the approval of all around you? Could it be something like hoping that as you put on your coat and hop in the car no one will pull out in front of you? Maybe something as simple as the perfect cup of Starbucks coffee on your way to work? A day where the kids do everything you say and come home with a happy smile. A phone call from a friend. The words you have been waiting to hear. The email that will change your future. An easy day of chores. Maybe a quiet day where no one in the world seeks you out.

It's funny really. We wake with hopes of all kinds of things, but are they our expectations or what we think is perfection? Here we go. Are you ready? Disappointment is sure to follow when we are expecting things from others. The truth? Those things may never happen in  our life time. So then what? Do we just keep hoping for that perfect day or do we change the way we think? Do we change the way we approach our day?

There isn't a whole lot we have control over, especially when it comes to others. But take a good look at yourself. (Me included) Do you meet the expectations of others? Are we always on time and always there for others? Have we let others down? We fill our minds with what perfection is and what we expect of others, but we rarely think about the expectations that others have of us.

When I was teaching Junior High in Awana it was one of the greatest teaching tools in my own life. I think at times these kids taught me more in one hour than I could ever teach them in a lifetime. On our first night I always shared my expectations of the class, but I never stopped there. I shared what they could and could not do in class and what I hoped to achieve, but I looked to them and asked, "What is it you all expect from me, as your teacher?" I think that threw them for a loop, because most of the time all they hear is the expectations others have for them, but no one really asks what they have hopes for. Simply put..we cannot expect from others what we ourselves are not willing to give.

So, with that said, we are all, and I mean ALL, going to fall short. We cannot expect perfection in an imperfect world. People are people and most are self seeking. If we are not seeking Christ we are seeking self. Just in that there is a lot to ponder about our walk here on earth. Too often we think about what we expect to happen to bring us a happy day, but we never seem to spend enough time pondering just what we can do to make others smile.

We end our day thinking it to be a failure if all was not perfect. Friends, we are a work in progress. Yes, today could be our very last, so take each moment and live it! Breathe in life and exhale God's boundless love. Stop and think about others. We each have a story. One that goes untold to most ears. We hold back so much of who we are. So we are left to try to figure others out. Oh my, we cannot figure people out no matter how hard we try. This is where grace is so important. Grace is an extension of Jesus.

We expect to hear, "I love you", from our husband. We expect our children to obey our every rule. We demand the attention of others. We search our whole lives for the approval of those around us. We look for perfect teachers, a perfect government, a perfect road to success. We take our day and end it with a good or bad. Friends, there is no joy in living this way. We must be able to let it all go. We must let the expectation of perfection die. With in that we surrender our lives to Christ and in that surrender we find a joy that surpasses all expectations.

It has taken me a journey with Christ to understand joy. I'm still learning. It's not my circumstance that decides the joy my heart contains. It's my Savior. Things in my life have not always turned out as hoped. What if I just stopped right there and died to any kind of joy? Life wouldn't be worth living. Sure, I'd be living, but what kind of life is it if we determine our amount of joy on the expectations of others? Why wait on others to find a pureness and a life of peace? Real peace is being able to trust the Lord in the times we don't understand and believe me, there have been plenty.

Times have been hard. Life happens no matter if we want to be a part of it or not. I mean, the sun is going to rise whether I get out of bed or not. The rainbow is going to appear even in the midst of my madness. The rose still blooms amidst my tears. So, why not be part of this precious gift of life that Christ has given? He died so that I could find true life. That isn't a life determined by others, but a life that He has set before me. I think our idea of perfection is a little distorted. God has brought forth beauty from times in my life that I thought had no hope. Friends, there is always hope. As long as your heart is beating, don't waste a minute of what has been given to you as a wondrous gift.

So what, the dude pulls out in front of you. He's in a rush to get no where fast. Let him go. Let him be and sing your song of joy. So the boss is screaming down your neck. Just maybe the guy has more going on that you can imagine. Give him grace. As he is screaming words pray for his soul. Pray he too can find joy in the craziness of this world. You haven't heard your parents say they are proud of you. Look to Jesus. Measure your life to His Word and His will for your life. Sometimes people just simply can't communicate what they feel. We must stop expecting others to be perfect so we can have ourselves a perfect day.

Bottom line? Give people room to make mistakes. God can take those mistakes and create wonders beyond our comprehension. Give yourself room to make mistakes. Strive for a God centered life. Give all to Him. Live in His standards. When we fall He will be there. He will guide our steps. Pay more attention to the perfection of Christ and all He can accomplish in our obedience than in the imperfections of others and all we expect them to do for us. We can find joy in the midst of the mess. Choose to see and you will see much more than this world has to offer.

"For everyone has sinned; we fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins." Romans 3:23-24

"Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice!" Philippians 4:4

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" Galatians 5:22-23
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