I’ve sat disappointed in my writing chair for two years now, staring at the mobs of words I’ve written, wondering how it hasn’t turned into a real book yet. Recently, it has been increasingly difficult for me to work on the book. What keeps me melancholy and from writing is not the challenge it presents, but how I have fallen short of the expectations I laid out for my life.
Nineteen year old me would have sworn on my mother that twenty-six year old me would have two books published, a full-time speaking career, international non-profit ministry, wife and a kid. So far, none of those exist.
And it’s this terror, the failed expectations I set for myself, that snicker in the corner and dance in my visions of the future, disillusioning my mind and tricking me into inactivity.
You may know this feeling too. It isn’t fear that keeps you stalled, it’s disappointment—the jeers of “you should have done better or tried harder” and realization of how you’re not as good as you thought you were.
We tend to be our own worst critics, and by doing so, are blinded to the truth of what surrounds us.
I was unraveling this failed expectation burden to a friend last week and they were quick to adjust my perspective to something quite beautiful: all that I have done.
No agenda, no story can be pre-written by us and perfectly executed. There are too many variables in life that we could never account for and they will minorly or majorly change our life plan. So those expectations that we hold so tightly are really rather silly to bind our self worth to.
Living life expecting expectations to occur just as we planned is a great way to lose confidence in who we are and what we do because we don’t allow ourselves to be content with where we’re at.
And where we’re at is a beautiful story that we never thought of, but is really the path we should be on. That’s what my friend reminded me of—all that I have accomplished— the mission trips to Tanzania, the Ebooks, the speaking at conferences and youth groups and churches and much more.
There is so much beauty in the process of reaching for lofty dreams—we can’t forget this.
And that’s why we need to quit our expectations. Stop evaluating life by due dates and successes, throw away the master plan and check lists, and hurl your dreams into the future. Let them collect like stars in the night, quietly awaiting to be discovered, always beckoning exploration but never telling you how to get there.
Journey on—free of the need to expect anything to happen, full of the vitality to live life as it comes.
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