Episode #61 Setting Realistic Expectations- Intentional Living

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From Today's Episode:

Welcome! We're in our Intentional Living Series and today's topic is Setting Realistic Expectations.


Philippians 3:12-15

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God, in what ways do my current expectations fall short of what you have for me, and how can I adjust them accordingly?

Here's the episode transcript

Hey friends, it's Jen, and we're continuing in our series about intentional living and we're talking with God about ways that we can partner with him in our everyday lives.

Today our topic is about setting realistic expectations, and I'll be the first to admit I don't do a great job at this. I can feel the pressure to be perfect and constantly do more, and I'm learning that that is not what God has for me and that's not what God has for you either. So today we're talking about setting those realistic expectations and the power of progress and how instead of focusing on perfection, we can celebrate the journey and the wins that we have along the way.

There's a variety of ways that I have seen this come to be in my own life. One of the ways that I have struggled to set realistic expectations is not giving myself any margin or enough margin for things to go wrong. Especially when I'm learning new things, which feels like constantly, I need to give time, I need to give space for, emotional, mental, spiritual recovery. I need to give myself space for other things to come up besides the big project that I'm working on, to allow myself space for things to not go perfectly.

It used to be that I would pack my schedule so full that I held myself responsible for everything to go perfectly because it couldn't not. I needed everything to go perfectly. There was no space or grace for anything otherwise. Oftentimes I have felt stress or disappointment because I have set goals that totally disregard, celebrating progress along the way, and only goals that focus on perfection in the ending.

So, one of the other ways that I'm learning to set realistic expectations is setting goals that represent progress.

Did I learn that thing?

Did I grow that skill?

Was I able to adapt or show up in a way that is different than I did before?

The end goal is not the only thing that matters. But instead, I can set goals for how I want to grow. Goals for how I want to show up when plans go awry, and I can celebrate those as victories too.

And the third thing that has been huge and probably the biggest change for me is not thinking that everything is dependent on me.

Now, depending on your own experiences in your family or school projects growing up, or even in what you've experienced in your walk with God so far, sometimes it can be easy to feel like everything is dependent on you. That you are the one who's going to have to figure it out. That at the end of the day, the buck's going to fall to you. We might have responsibilities in different areas, but we can also anticipate that God is going to see us through it, that God is going to show up, that we can be sustained by him. That the things that he's calling us to do, he will equip us to complete.

We don't have to go in anticipating, everything's going to depend on us. We can actually go in expecting we're going to get to partner with God. We're going to do our part and we're going to get to learn and see from God what his part is.

The passage I'm reading for us today is from Philippians 3:12-15. It says,

"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, (and Sisters) I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you."

One. I just think that's hilarious that Paul's like, "Hey, let us be wise and mature and think this way. And if you don't, God's going to show you." But he says, "Hey, I, I haven't achieved all that yet, but I do press forward toward the goal in Christ Jesus."

Sometimes I can become discouraged with the reality of my own limitations. But instead of setting my expectations on me, that I have to figure this all out, that I have to be perfect in what I'm able to do, or how I show up or what I execute. I can set my goal on this. That I'll forget what's behind and I'll press forward toward what God has ahead of me. That I can anticipate that God will show up in ways because of his faithfulness. That I can approach the things in my life, asking for God's guidance and believing that he will guide my steps, asking for God to cover the things that I can't handle, and grace to cover the things that go wrong.

This isn't a demand that we put on the Lord. This isn't, "God, this is my expectation of you. You better show up." But this is a recognition of God as present with us, our acknowledgement that even in the most significant things we get to do here on earth, our greatest goal, our greatest prize, is Jesus. And that we get to draw near to him and partner with him even in this goal that we're working toward.

One of the best ways I know to set a realistic expectation is by asking God what to do. So, let's go talk with him about it and here's today's question:

God, in what ways do my current expectations fall short of what you have for me, and how can I adjust them accordingly?

Have a good talk.

And if you've been encouraged by this content, please share it with a friend and help them grow in their conversational relationship with God too!

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