Expectations Are Killing Me
Time To Fly the White Flag
Have you come up with a word for 2023 yet? I like the idea of coming up with one, even if it’s a temporary signpost to guide me through these initial days of the year.
My word is: Surrender. And maybe it has been for a few years, but for some reason, my lack of surrender and profound commitment to maintaining expectations about how life should go seem to keep hanging around, like bad milk you find hiding in the fridge.
Whenever I share something vulnerable, my goal is to help you not feel alone in your own struggle, even if it’s not completely the same as mine. And perhaps, together, we can find value in working through them.
I’m a big fan of author @IAmMarkManson and his no nonsense approach to psychology. (FYI: he uses a lot of profanity, in case you’re sensitive to that.) I’ve been thinking about this particular tweet from Mark as I write… and I had an enlightening realization that I’m excited to share with you.
Mark Manson said: “A happy life is not a life without struggle, it’s a life with meaningful struggle.
He talks about how our quest for a “happy” life can, at times, be driven by a desire to eliminate struggle from our lives—that somehow if we could just live in constant comfort, all will be right with the world. This is fantasy, of course. Mark and other psychologists agree that even if we experience comfort (or too much comfort, as many of us are), we will still construe problems to focus on, creating chaos to keep the cortisol coursing through our veins.
When I think about what I’d like to struggle with, it’s not about trying to achieve more comfort or security. It’s not about getting more, or accomplishing more. But there is something that seems to have been put in my heart—a nagging struggle that I would like to help lessen. Here it is…
Throughout my whole life there’s been one thing that continually breaks my heart: How so many people don’t seem to believe they are loved or lovable. (I’ll beat you to the punch, because yes, it’s undoubtedly rooted in my own desire to believe that I’m loved and lovable.)
I’ve chosen this as a problem I want to help solve, regardless of how grand it sounds. All my life’s work and creative efforts have been to help people know they’re loved, by me, by God. Maybe one person will be helped, and maybe… just maybe, I’ll uncover some truth for myself and find healing for some wounds that have led me to believe that I’m unlovable.
What Keeps Me Going?
I’m certain that some people have found hope and have been helped through what I’ve done. And that keeps me going. And I’m grateful for the beautiful progress I’ve made myself—learning better how to love and be loved. But I seriously dislike that I haven’t been entirely selfless in my efforts.
Here’s the ugly part I don’t want you to know…
I’ve been tangled in a mess of expectations of what I should receive in return for my noble efforts. Sure, some expectations have been met and there’s been a good amount of joy and satisfaction derived. But there’s still some rooting out to do. I want to get rid of the stinky, festering parts in my psyche that still hang on to expectations that I should be receiving more for all I’m giving.
I will hold on to hope for me, and for you, that freedom is possible. I can continually choose to surrender these expectations, most of which are rooted in discontent. And maybe this will inspire you to consider doing something similar. I hope so.
Gratitude will be my secret weapon against discontent. I’ll combine that with faith that good will come about through my efforts… and not just for others, but for me, too.
This is my meaningful struggle.
New Music January 27th!
One of my most recent creative efforts is the writing and recording of a new song called “Jesus Kind of Love.” It’s set to release out into the world in just two weeks on Friday, January 27th on all digital outlets: iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube, etc. It’d be incredibly helpful to me as an indie artist if you would visit iTunes on that date and spend $.99 to purchase the song. Or find the song on your favorite music service and share it with your friends on social media. The more people do that, the more people will be exposed to the tune, and hopefully, inspired to love like Jesus.
Here’s a clip…