I lost it. I was tired. The kids were tried. And the three of us do not do tired well, individually or as a team. We had packed way too much into one weekend. We didn’t just push the limit we pushed past it and I was paying for it. Complaining, short fuses, fighting, negative attitudes and no one was listening.
It was Sunday night, and most definitely bed time. We still had dinner to eat, showers to take, homework to finish and bags to pack for school the next day. I was admittedly short tempered and rushing the nighttime agenda along when one of the kids snapped at me again.
It was game over. I didn’t even think, I erupted.
I started listing off all the things I did for them that weekend with no appreciation and no awareness. The chauffeur services, the planning and coordinating, birthday parties, sleepovers, all of it. I yelled over sour attitudes and ungrateful hearts. At the end of my rant my heart sank knowing I took it too far. We all needed a little space.
As the kids showered and I cooked dinner, I let my attitude calm down and my mom guilt simmer. We were all tired which requires more patience and more grace. We all had said things we didn’t actually mean, myself included. But there was still a gap and I couldn’t place it until we were talking over dinner.
After sincere apologies were exchanged from both parties we talked about how we can all do better next time. Off the cuff, I asked the kids what was expected of them as members of this family.
I backed up and explained what expectation means and then asked the question again, “As members of this family, what is expected of you?”.
Blank stares. Again.
That was the gap. The kids had no idea of how I expected them to act and behave so they were untethered. I had an expectation that was unmet because it was never communicated and it grew out into resentment which caused me to breathe fire.
Expectations are something I have been working on in myself over the last few years. Brene Brown says “Expectations are resentments waiting to happen,” and that is an ugly truth. Unfortunately we don’t often realize we’ve set an expectation until we are experiencing resentment. Over time and lots of error, I’ve learned that some expectations are ok but only if held loosely or clearly articulated.
What expectations are you holding others to that you’ve never articulated? What resentment have you experienced that might point to an unfair expectations? What would it look like for you to let go of expectations and love freely?
If we’re not careful expectations can breed a conditional love. I don’t want to be on the giving or receiving end of a conditional love because it’s exhausting, restricting and insecure. I want to mirror the love that God so freely gives. I want to offer a love that’s built with roots and substance not fleeting feelings. I want to reflect God’s love that offers rest, grace and freedom to come as you are. If we really accept the fullness of life and depth of love God offers, it will change the way we live out our life. If we let go of expectations we can make room for a life of great adventure that is sourced by unconditional love.