The weight of expectations can be a joy killer. Do you know this story? I know it well. We hope and we plan and we control and create a situation to be just so-- and then it isn’t. It may not even be close.
It's fabulous to have goals. It's a completely other thing to be rigidly stuck to something that must change.
What do we do with those feelings? How do we reconcile hope with flexibility?
How do we say yes, I want this to happen, but also hold it loosely?
I think much of the answer lies in our ability to ground ourselves in a bigger story, stay present, call on our courage, and release the result.
In my own life, this is a painful realization and yet a glorious one to grasp.
Somewhere along the way, I learned I had to control for there to be peace. And then later I learned, the more I tried to control, the less peace I had.
Last year, in a dare with myself, I took the whole month of November and wrote nearly every day. I didn’t publish anything. I just wanted to know if I could do it. At the time, I had an inkling I might enjoy blogging consistently, but a piece of me had no idea if I could. I mean logistically, could I actually write?
All I knew is there were bunches of things I wanted to write and talk about and I wanted another outlet to chew on these things. Some beautiful voices had inspired me along the way. Ann Voskamp with her poetic prose, Sarah Bessey with her authentic stories, and Shauna Niequist with her almost rebellious celebration of life.
I began to notice another friend of mine from graduate school had begun to blog and I realized, I think I could do it too. I love when we are spurred on by another's courage.
I also confronted the fact that it would be hard for me to have an open hand with the results. I had to face my perfectionistic tendencies-- again. I had to stare at my expectations and wonder, what’s real and what’s not?
I also considered, where did all the voices I admire begin their journeys? How did they take this dare, to try? To be so bold and as to think they could use their voice and yet not become crushed by their own expectations. And I realized, their paths must be at least a little like mine. They believed they had something to say, and so they trusted it had been given to them, and then they said it.
I wonder if all of us realize we have a little bit of that? We all have a story and voice that is unique and yet we aren't guaranteed the result.
I'm curious-- what would happen if we turned down the volume of our expectations, so they weren’t so loud?
So what's the dare your soul is aching to take? If you knew you were fully loved no matter the outcome, would you be willing to try?
I hope you will. You are so deeply loved.