Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Are you sabotaging yourself in your closest relationships?

            When Kevin and I were dating, I found out he had a secret “list” of four things he most wanted in a wife. I don’t remember all of them, but he apparently thought I met his criteria. And I’ll bet he’s wondered at times if he should have had more than just four items to shoot for!

            When our son Ron was three or so, he brought me a sack of grass clippings he’d scooped up from the front yard.
            “What’s this for, Son?”
            “I thought I’d bring in a sack of grass to have in case Daddy ever decides to become a farmer. Then the cows can have something to munch on!” 
            Good thing he didn’t hold his breath on that expectation, because although cornfields surround our home in southern Illinois, Kevin has yet to become a farmer!

     How many times have we had expectations of a person,only to have them ruined? Even people who genuinely love us often disappoint us. We hoped and believed, and then our hopes were dashed to tiny pieces like sand castles at high tide. We became an Eyore, thinking it was easier to hope for nothing than to be disappointed. Could our expectations have been unrealistic, or even misplaced?  Did God mean for us to find happiness based on how others treat us or how well they fulfill our dreams?
      Our Heavenly Father made us in His image. That means we need other people to complete and help us. He never intended anyone to do life alone. But He also never intended that we look only to others to fill us up, so that we are crushed if they don’t meet our requirements for happiness. This is what is known in psychology as “co-dependence,” and it is not healthy.
      Let’s release our loved ones from such unrealistic expectations, and start relying more on God to make our lives complete. Only He can make our dreams come true, encourage us exactly the way we need, and give us custom-made strength for all the challenges our life holds. Of course He may use people to do it. But He wants our focus to be on Him as our source of supply, not the supply itself. That way we won’t be constantly disappointed and disillusioned when our spouse, our kids or our best friends don’t jump through the hoops we have set up for them.
      I love the John Stallings chorus, “Learning to Lean,” written in the mid-70’s:
Learning to lean, learning to lean, I’m learning to lean on Jesus,
Finding more power than I’d ever dreamed, I’m learning to lean on    Jesus.”
      God will not disappoint you like people will. You can lean on Him, and expect the greatest time of your life!

      Have you ever had to release some great expectations in order to find more sanity? How did it improve your relationships?