When Expectations Hurt Your Motherhood

When I consider a common source of my irritability, it's summed up in one word: expectations.

I expect my children to be neat and tidy, quiet, simple to discipline, and free of health issues or sleep problems. I expect them to be the model of godliness at the ripe age of 3. I expect them to make me look like I'm doing a wonderful job so everyone can see how "under control" we are. I expect them not to overreact or ignore my direction.

I expect that I can wake up early, stay up late, and get up during the night for years at a time without suffering any emotional consequences. I expect to always hold it together, finding ways to strategically organize my life so I magically do more. I expect to do what I want without having to make sacrifices by laying down my own desires.

And with these expectations of myself and others, the stage is set for anger...frustration...irritability. Because no one in our family actually looks that way, even on the best days!

Part of applying the gospel to my irritable heart is admitting that my expectations aren't rooted in truth. The truth is that I'm utterly and completely limited in my humanness. I'm not able. Only Jesus is. The truth is that my children are born untrained, with a desire for themselves and not for God. They are limited and insufficient. They need Jesus.

When I think on the reality of our neediness and weakness, I'm reminded of our purpose: to glorify and worship the Lord and let all things be about Him. My expectations and hopes can only met in one person ----> Jesus.

Resting in this - in Him - is bringing such freedom! Not from my sinful tendencies, but freedom from my slave-driving expectations. Knowing that all of God's expectations for me were fully met in Jesus means that I don't have to shame or punish myself (or others) when my expectations go unmet.

Grace, grace, God's grace - Grace that can pardon and cleanse within.