Great Expectations

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Lessons from “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” by Peter Scazzero.

I had a swift kick in the butt a few months ago when my sister-in-law recommended I read “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” by Peter Scazzero.  

Great.  I couldn’t wait to read how emotionally immature I was.  Please tell me how I need to get over myself (said no one ever).  

Well, I bought it online and started to read immediately.  Partly because I knew it was going to be helpful, and partly because I was terrified and wanted to be done with it already.  Come on, people. Just get me mature.

I had no idea just how spiritually unhealthy I was.  I realized I struggled with my feelings: as if I shouldn’t feel a certain way when something happened.  I shouldn’t get frustrated at my kids every three seconds and open my eyes with stress before my feet even hit the floor in the morning.

What helped me gain a better understanding of my emotionally healthy (or the lack of) spiritual level was the chapter on knowing yourself that you may know God.  The author talks about the significance of knowing yourself.

“The vast majority of us go to our graves without knowing who we are. We unconsciously live someone else’s life, or at least someone else’s expectations for us.  This does violence to ourselves, our relationship with God, and ultimately to others.”

So many times in my 36 years I found myself thinking more about somebody else’s perception of what happened in my day rather than figuring out exactly what I was feeling myself.  The joy or stress wasn’t related to my thoughts and my relationship with God but rather how the situation might seem to others.

Our youngest son has special needs (you can believe I am going to share how that relates to our daily life) and as we tried to keep our head above water for about four years we are finally coming up for a big deep breath.  In doing so I have realized every single feeling coming out in a big jumbled knot. I have had to name them and walk through them. I have had to understand that it’s okay to feel them. Other people aren’t going to feel them exactly like me because they haven’t taken the steps I took today.

Just as I have not taken the steps they have taken. I feel like I could read this book all over again and take just as much from it.  God gave me the ability to have every single feeling and if I am not calling them by name, walking through them, and trusting God with them, then I am definitely missing out on how He made me and what He is doing through my life.

I have named this part of my life “Great Expectations.”  It’s funny because in studying a little bit of this book to write this post I have had several “well you went back to that way of thinking, didn’t ya, Girl” moments.  Darn it! Perfection is impossible. Being consistent is hard and doesn’t always go as planned.

While I was reading this book I used the words “expectations, expect, expected, expecting” about every other sentence that came out of my mouth. I got several “Mom, are you really going to say expect again………” comments.  Chapter 7, about Growing into an Emotionally Mature Adult, put me in my place. We have expectations in every single relationship.

The trouble is that more often than not, our expectations are: unconscious, unrealistic, unspoken, and un-agreed upon.

For pete’s sake.

I would get so frustrated because I would expect my kids to not act a certain way that we discussed how they shouldn’t act in front of people.  It’s not nice. So maybe we spoke about it, but was it realistic? No. I can do my best to teach them to be kind to each other and model kindness (most of the time) to them, but they aren’t perfect.  Just as I am not. So what in the world am I getting so huffy about?

When we have expectations that are not realistic, not talked about, not agreed upon, we have no right to to be overwhelmed when things don’t go as we expected.  Obviously I still struggle with my expectations but I am working on that. I need to work a little harder. My kids would appreciate that. My husband would appreciate that.  My friends would appreciate that.

When staying home and taking care of little people and trying to get all the things done and feed them all, make sure that you give yourself some grace.  Feel the feelings you are feeling. Name them and talk to God about them. And, take a look at your expectations. In rewiring your expectations, you might find the relationships in your life getting a boost you didn’t know was possible.

  1. Name your feelings and talk to God about them.
  2. Take a look at your expectations.

Also, if you want a swift kick in the booty, I recommend “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.” Please let me know if you have read it as I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you found any helpful tips on managing your expectations that you’d like to share with me? I need all the help I can get.  Can’t wait to read your suggestions!

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