God has been really impressing on me to release some things lately, mainly my expectations of others. My mom once said this profound statement: “Lower your expectations of others. Raise your expectations of yourself.” Although when she said it I may not have liked it, but I never forgot it. And now that I am older, it’s just starting to sink in. She was right. When I lower my expectations of others and raise my expectations of myself, the judgmentalism stops, and I maintain my peace. I’d like to share some other ways you can put this into practice.
RELEASE EXPECTATIONS ABOUT YOUR STANDARDS
We all have standards, and sometimes we expect others to adopt our standards. When they don’t, we get annoyed and tend to lose our peace. For example, you may have set the standard for yourself to show up on time for meetings. But what if your colleague does not show up on time? How can you reframe your thinking in such a way as to not lose your peace? We have to remember that they may not have the same values. Everyone doesn’t think like we think. Maybe promptness wasn’t given a priority in their home where they grew up. Maybe there was an unfortunate mishap that kept them from being on time. Whatever the case may be, we have to lower our expectations of others and raise our expectations of ourselves. Let’s be led by the Spirit in what actions we take, refrain from judgment and take the behavior in stride instead of taking it personally. That is what we must do if we want to stay in peace.
GIVE PEOPLE MARGIN
I am also learning to raise my expectations of myself in the sense that I try to give people margin and lower my expectations of others by not expecting them to be perfect. Colossians 3:12-13 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” If we are to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3), we have to be long-suffering and forbearing with each other. We have to be forgiving and willing to overlook offenses and believe the best. That’s hard sometimes. But we can do it with the help of the Lord, and if we know who we are in Christ, we can and will choose the high road that God has called us to travel.
RECOGNIZE HOW HARD IT IS TO BE A HUMAN BEING
Furthermore, we have to recognize how hard it is to be a human being in this life. Let’s face it. We all come from dysfunctional families. All of us are capable of being deceived by the devil. When we get saved, we have the huge job of renewing our mind after we have been programmed wrong for years! To be a decent, law-abiding, functional citizen of the Kingdom is a huge challenge. We all are swimming against the current just like a trout swimming upstream. In the same way, the forces of hell are arrayed and working against all of us with the goal of dividing us, destroying us and keeping us from fulfilling the plan of God for our lives. Therefore, we need to raise our expectations of ourselves, lower our expectations of others, give one another a break and pray for each other!
Saints, we have to keep in mind that every one of us is a work in progress. Hebrews 10:14 says, “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Thank God that in Christ we are covered by the blood while we are being sanctified. If we can hold on to that thought, we will be able to maintain our peace and joy even when people don’t live up to our expectations.
What are your thoughts about managing your expectations? In what area do you need to raise your expectations of yourself to improve your life? Please leave a comment below.
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