We can be overwhelmed with expectations. We collect them and mentally organize each to ensure we’re “hitting the mark.” On the days we perceive to meet the expectations, “it’s a good day!” On the days we fall short, “it’s a bad day.” Finding peace from this perspective is an exhausting roller coaster ride of highs and lows.
Before we can get off the crazy ride of managing expectations, we need to focus on this one word: Overwhelmed.
We know this word well, don’t we? We can be overwhelmed by:
Impossible todo lists
Getting behind on projects
Desire to do ALL things with excellence
We can also be overwhelmed by something else: Gratitude.
We don’t always feel like being grateful, but when practiced, the heart will follow. Gratitude changes our outlook on life and is empowering. When was the last time you were overwhelmed with gratitude? When hiking in the mountains, I can become overwhelmed by the majesty and beauty of God’s creation, and my heart fills with gratitude. Gratitude for a faithful God who has the entire creation in His hands and mine as well!
How to Manage Expectations
When life gets hectic, and you feel overwhelmed, it can be easy to get caught up in the chaos. When this happens, take a moment to pause and reflect on the people and things in your life that you are most grateful for.
Practicing gratitude in the midst of overwhelm will be hard at first! An overwhelmed heart intensely focuses on the chaos. When this happens, ask God to train your mind to focus on gratitude.
Expressing gratitude will not make your difficulties melt away, but it can help put things into perspective and appreciate the good that still exists.
When you have an attitude of gratitude, it can be easier to push through frustrating troubles and find the silver lining in any situation. As Dana Arcuri wisely said, “When you focus on gratitude, the little things fall by the wayside.”
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 118:29 NLT
Acknowledge your expectations and replace them with gratitude. One by one if you need to, and allow the expectations to lessen. Overcome the burden of unrealistic expectations with God and radical gratitude!