Whose Expecting your Expectations?

Thought for the day: Over the years I have learned that the expectations I place on myself are at a lot higher standard than anyone has ever placed on me. When I became pregnant this last year, I began to put together a running list in my head of all the things that I was going to accomplish on my 12 week maternity leave. I had never had this long of a maternity leave before, so I figured I would be able to take over the world. Ha! My list included lots and lots of baby snuggles, reading new books I had already ordered from Amazon, organize the basement (there were still a few packed boxes from our move), write blogs and begin my book, dive deep into my new business venture of motivational speaking and music (schedule several engagements), exercise daily, do lunch and coffee with several friends–just to name a few.

After the birth of our beautiful son in February of this year, I started cracking down on my list only to find myself exhausted and disappointed. Yes, I accomplished a few things off the list, but my whole list got pushed to the side as the days went on. I didn’t expect to be so tired, even with a lot of helpers in the house; I didn’t expect to feel so much joy when holding my son that nothing else mattered except being a mom; I didn’t expect to feel blah (sad/depressed)–there were some days I just cried (darn hormones); I didn’t expect to feel lonely, even when I was surrounded by supportive family; I didn’t expect that I would have to press pause and give myself permission to have a messy house; I didn’t expect to feel guilt and shame for not getting to my list!! Wait, I was the one who created the expectations of completing my list! The only one expecting me to meet my expectations was me! It was time to re-evaluate and be more realistic.

I took my list and threw it out the window (figuratively, as I try not to litter). I had to give myself grace to move my timelines and restructure priorities. Yes, the things I want to accomplish will come to be, as I am a firm believer in discipline and a great motivator. Yet, sometimes we need a greater measure of grace in a season than what we originally thought and planned. And it is okay!

Proverbs 16:9 says, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” I totally believe in setting expectations, plans and goals, but I am learning the value of flexibility and grace to redefine and shift as needed. Life is too short to miss the most important moments, and it is too short to live disappointed by an unrealistic ‘to do’ list.

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