I had plans to post a blog all week last week but I have been super busy and, much like life, things didn’t go as planned. So here I am, a week later, finally finding time to write my blog. So often, this is how life goes. We have great expectations of how we want things to be or things to turn out. I never thought my life would be the way it currently is.
I recently read an article that talked about the biggest problem in relationships, and it wasn’t anything most people think. It listed the biggest problem in relationships as “expectation”. I completely agree with the article. And although it was referring to romantic relationships, I feel expectation is the biggest problem in every relationship; including our relationship with God and our relationship with ourselves.
Expectation creates so many problems in life. I live in Idaho and we “expected” thousands of people in our area for the eclipse. As of today, those expectations haven’t even come close to reality. And, that’s the problem with expectations. So often, we have a prefect picture of how things are “supposed to be”. We know in our heads how everything is going to happen. We worry and fret over this picture in our heads and when things don’t turn out like the picture, we are angry and frustrated; and often feel like life isn’t fair. The thing is, life isn’t fair and nothing is certain.
Living in my Mormon world, there were a lot of expectations but the outcome was certain. I knew if I was good enough, I would reach the highest level of heaven with my family. That was the ultimate goal. I’ve talked in many blogs about all of the requirements that the Mormon faithful have to accomplish. The picture that is painted is one of bliss and happiness if you remain faithful to the end. But I struggled to fit into the picture of what those expectations were. I liked the picture but had a hard time being one of the faithful followers. It didn’t matter how much I tried, I would always give into my sinful nature at some point.
As I mentioned, the biggest problem in relationships is expectation, that includes our relationship with God and ourselves. As I progressed through my Mormon life, my expectations for myself began to change and hopelessness filled me. How could I ever reach the perfect picture if I couldn’t even manage a day without doing what was expected of me. Hopelessness turned to depression and suicidal thoughts. I hated life and myself. At times, I was angry with God. The expectation was that God would help me through my struggles and God would give me strength. But time after time I failed and the only thing that was certain was that I wasn’t going to make it. I have never done well with expectations.
As a Mormon, my expectation was that I could complete the requirements necessary to go to Heaven. My expectation was if I lived according to what the Mormon Prophets taught, I would be happy and be able to be with my family forever. The requirements were black and white and I could check them off as I completed them. Baptism ü, Young Women’s awards and recognition ü, Marry a return missionary in the temple ü, and so on. The criteria are clear and the expectation is that you will complete all criteria to go to heaven.
As a Mormon, I relied a lot on myself and the Mormon leaders for my salvation. Becoming Christian and understanding what it means to give your life to Christ was a life saver for me. I learned very quickly that my salvation had little to do with me and everything to do with Christ. I also learned when you truly rely on God and try to live life for Him, expectation goes out the window. So often as a Christian I think God should do things the way I have pictured in my head, and a majority of the time, that is not what happens. The best part of being a Christian, is when I have those expectations and the perfect picture in my head, God’s is always better.
There are many times when I have gone through difficult times as a Christian and I have cried out to God to make things different; or there have been times when I have been angry with God about the struggles in my life. The biggest problem with both of those scenarios, those are my expectations. And even in those times when I am struggling and saying to God, “this isn’t fair” the positive results far outweigh the struggle.
I have said many times, I don’t think I could have gone through my current situation if I was still Mormon. I truly feel that way about most experiences in my life. This most recent struggle is life changing and sometimes it’s difficult to see there might be something positive that comes out of it. But if there is anything that I expect as a Christian, God is always faithful, and he wants more for me than I could ever even imagine for myself. On the hardest days when I get overwhelmed with the struggles in life I focus on that. I know Who is in control and I know He only wants the best for me.
I’m just a Small Town Girl…living in a world of great expectations.