Have you been side-swiped by reality? Blind-sided by your unrealistic expectations? I have, but I like to think that my life’s experiences have tempered those ‘all or nothing’ characteristics that I used to retain. Being an eternal optimist, I have had to learn that reality never lines up with my perfect imagination. Does that mean I should stop trying? No. As one pastor said, “I would rather aim high and miss than aim low and make it.” On the way to success, we will encounter failure. It is all part of the journey.
We live in a fallen world, after all. Storms will come. It is simply poor thinking to expect things to be without problems or changes. As we mature, we learn problem solving and flexibility. I remember a friend’s mother saying, to us teens, that life is all about problem solving. I didn’t understand her words and they gave me pause. I have always remembered them.
We will find this to be true in all we attempt, whether school, marriage, parenting, career etc. “No relationship is free of disappointment. No institution is totally free of corruption. No location is free of difficulty. No moment in our lives exists untouched by the fall.” (http://paultrippministries.blogspot.com/2008/02/realistic-expectations_29.html)
I have learned the valuable marriage principle called the 80/20 rule, which states that many people, though getting 80% of what they want out of their marriage, spend their time focusing on the 20% that they are not happy with, thereby, missing the pleasure of a complimentary union.
This concept is not isolated to marriage and has been expressed in other idioms. “Focus on what you do have, and not on what you don’t have.”; “Count your blessings.”; “You don’t know what you’ve got until it is gone.”; “The grass is always greener on the other side.”; “A bird in hand is worth two in a bush.” etc., all sage reminders to keep our priorities straight.
Disappointments in the workplace may seem to be major roadblocks to our goals and aspirations. Do you know any bible examples? Joseph, the great-grandson of Abraham, was a vibrant and influential person who maintained his character, and faith in God, while experiencing a lifetime of unexpected detours including family that betrayed him, unacclaimed talents and associates who lied about him.
More troubling, many times, than the weaknesses of our spouses, family and associates are the inconsistencies we see in ourselves. We are imperfect. We let ourselves and others down. “In reality, we’re all in need of daily rescuing, forgiving, and empowering grace. We need that grace because none of us is free from the presence and power of sin. This means that, moment by moment, we need to be rescued from us!” (http://paultrippministries.blogspot.com/2008/02/realistic-expectations_29.html)
So what we are really talking about here is living free from the disappointment of unrealistic expectations. We should foresee, and even embrace, problems and challenges. The abundant life that God promises, to those who put their trust in him, is not about living a story book perfect life. It is to love, and do, the best we can with what is in front of us. The truth is we need to keep the right perspective. Sue Clark 11/20/13