Friday, June 20, 2014

The Grip of Expectations

I live white knuckled without even realizing it.
Fists clenched tight over the thing that wields power over me
from within my sweaty palm.
Concealed but not controlled.

I'm the one who's being controlled.
By my own expectations.

I don't mean to cling so tight to the lofty goals and unreasonable standards
that lay me to shame each time I can't measure up.
I say I'm doing better. I say I'm living real.
I'll let you come over knowing dirty drips from boys' backyard digging fingertips are
marring up the white bathroom sinks.
I'll invite you in even if the dishes are piled on the counter and crusted remains
from last night's dinner are soaking in pans on the stove.
I'll say "this is real life" when my kid throws a fit and you hear him fuss or see him hit.
I'll sigh and say thanks for understanding that life is a beautiful mess
and we've just got to embrace it.

But inside...

Inside my fist is the unbreakable thing that's making my insides break under the weight.
The weight of expectations.

The weight of I don't measure up as a mom or a wife or friend.
I'm failing as a leader. I'm flailing as a writer.
I'm smiling on the outside, smiling all is grace on the outside,
but on the inside I'm drowning, derailing.
I'm wailing on the inside because I will never measure up to these unmeasurable expectations.

I can't do enough. Be enough. Make others see me enough.
My boys, my man, my ministry, my calling,
Jesus, Father, Holy Spirit all deserve my best, but I'm falling.
Falling short.
Of the expectations. (Of perfection.)

Of whose expectations?

I breathe deep and will myself to loosen my grip.
My fingers trained long years to stay stiff, closed,
slowly loosen.
Relax, release.

Whose expectations am I faced with?

My own.

Just mine.

Yes, it's time to release them.

Release myself.

Into His Grip.

*     *     *

"It's Friday. The day we write together for five shared and sacred minutes. The prompt this week is RELEASE." -Lisa-Jo Baker
This post is part of the Five Minute Friday community. Please read Lisa-Jo's incredible words this morning about why your story matters. Then won't you consider joining us by writing for five minutes about what "release" means to you? Or share with me in the comments sections.
It’s Friday. The day we write together for five shared and sacred minutes. The prompt this week is RELEASE. - See more at:
It’s Friday. The day we write together for five shared and sacred minutes. The prompt this week is RELEASE. - See more at:


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing this on FMF. I'm right there with you battling that same internal struggle.

JRPrehn said...

Hey Becky, i've got a question for you... Do you ever complain or feel down about others expectations on you, only to realize later upon reflection that what you thought were their expectations were actually just a projection of your own on to them?

Becky Keife said...

Absolutely, JRPrehn. The struggle I have with feeling like I'm not measuring up is born from the fear that I'm disappointing others, not meeting their expectations. But I have come to realize that, more often than not, it is not THEIR expectations of me, but mine own of myself that I project on to them. I'm thankful for the ability to now identify this trap, but am still learning how to live in God's grace, valued by who He says I am, and thriving in Christ' freedom. ...thanks for asking. thanks for reading.

michelle said...

Well Becky, I can totally relate to this post. Except I don't do such a good job keeping it all together on the outside either. Or maybe I do? Thanks for sharing your struggles. You are not alone. ❤️

Elise Hurd said...

My sweet friend!

I apologize in advance for writing you a book here.

But God just helped me find you, my heart-sister!, and He made us insta-friends from my end so I love you already and what can I do?

I tell you I have already been praying and when I'm done writing this comment I am going to literally get on my knees and ask God to CRUSH the enemy that wants to wound and discourage through your sweet voice to whisper (or shriek) to yourself that you don't measure up.

I know because last year, literally the entire last year from the beginning of January through the end of December it was a fierce fight to ever even get out of bed. All the things you wrote here about the weight of expectations? Yes. It was so heavy, like a stone in the center of my being that would silently choke me as I struggled to breathe and keep moving forward and loving and giving. My emotional and spiritual muscles were exhausted so easily because of this struggle... because of the constant enemy attacks.

I leave this ultimately between you and Christ and trust that He will speak to you and give you discernment -- but I do not think this is just your voice, just your expectations -- I think our enemy is attacking you.

We fight differently if we believe it is the enemy we are struggling against, or just ourselves, so that is why I am making this distinction.

The enemy is attacking you my friend precisely where you are STRONG. Not where you are weak.

There is no true strength without tenderness!

Tenderness, in fact, is a hallmark of real, Christ-like strength. So the enemy is attacking you where you are TENDER, not weak. You are tender because of your sincere love for Christ and that is beautiful and excellent and praiseworthy!

As a mom, wife, friend, writer, Jesus-follower... These are your most God-honoring, God-centered places and desires and roles to lift Jesus up and you DO. Oh my goodness you do! The JESUS in you is what hugged me here through your words. What greater reason could the enemy have to attack you here? It is not because you are ineffective, but precisely because you are effective.

These are the EXACT areas where you are so tender because you are so STRONG!

I'm calling his game here and screaming LIAR! LIAR! LIAR!

Doing battle with you today against the discourager, the deceiver, the flippin' evil LIAR who wants to slow down this beautiful race you are running so effectively.

I adore you.

You are the apple of Jesus' eye.

The enemy doesn't stand a chance.

Getting on my knees...

Peggy said...

Becky, thank you for sharing this wonderfully worded post! I've been there. I think most of us have. But, being over 50 now, I want to encourage you to step back and spend time with our Lord, in His Word, and cling to His expectations of us: weakness so He is strong, humility so He can shine, etc. It really does get better--if we can draw near to Him and release. LOVED this weeks theme!

Loralee said...

You wrote with such honesty and it will help others to know that are not alone...It was also help others to see that they can release anything to HIM. God is so good.