Do You Need to Reassess Your Expectations?
Are you finding yourself increasingly frustrated and perhaps not really knowing why? Or feeling as though you are failing to “get things done” that you think you should be doing?
Sometimes we enter into a small season change without realizing it and suddenly we are mad, frustrated, depressed, etc… (or like me this week, spiraling down the dark hole of despair wondering what the heck initiated it)
We make more elaborate To Do Lists or try and figure out where we have some extra chunk of time to squeeze in more things. Or perhaps we feel as though we just need more discipline to stay on top of things.
But maybe what we really need to do is to stop and reassess where we are. Has something about our season changed? Do we have new limitations or demands on our time that we haven’t accounted for and are simply going about expecting to be able to produce the same amount of results even though we do not have the same amount of time to work with?
Or perhaps, like me, you realize that even though you don’t necessarily have more “things” to do with your time, the time you do have is not able to be utilized the way you had previously.
For example, my daughter is now crawling super fast, pulling herself up on everything, not staying put, and just in general getting into everything. I didn’t see at the time that even though her schedule of waking and sleeping was still about the same, my ability to walk away and clean the kitchen or file papers, or scrub the toilet pretty much vanished or was severely crimped.
My attention has to be much more focused on her and what she is doing, or what her brother is doing to her! And after my day in the “pit of despair” (cue the creepy albino guy from The Princess Bride), I finally realized that I had crossed over into a bit of a different season, a “mini” season if you will and I needed to stop and reassess my expectations.
So I sat down and made a list of the bare minimum “Must Get Done” things. You know, things like feed the children, change diapers, brush teeth, wait outside the door for ten minutes while my son goes to the bathroom “BY HIMSELF”, make sure we have clean clothes to wear, and clean dishes to use.
Then I wrote out the things that I “Really Would Like to Get Done”. Things like keep the surfaces cleared off, and pick up toys before Daddy gets home, and maybe do some writing.
And then there was the “Everything Else” list to dump the rest of my To Do items that eternally kept getting written down and never done.
Now having decided that my goal is simply to do the “Must Get Done” things, if that is all I do in a day, the day was a SUCCESS.
If I do something off of the “Really Would Like to Get Done” list, then BONUS! It was a REALLY GOOD day.
If I do all that plus something off the “Everything Else” list, then it was an I AM A ROCKSTAR day.
Now I could say goodbye to that pesky feeling of failure for not getting enough things done and instead feel a sense of accomplishment for even the regular days that are filled with dishes and diapers and laundry and potty training.
As my friend says, our To Do lists and schedules and routines, and all of those things are simply tools. They work for us, not the other way around. And if something isn’t working, then we need to remember that it is only a tool and it’s ok to find a different one.
DON’T let your To Do list rule you.
Use it how you need to and revamp it when it becomes obsolete or burdensome.
DON’T think that you have to do everything in every season.
And some seasons change more quickly than we might think. Though it may not feel like it when we are in it.
I know that realistically, I only have 6 months to a year of this hyper watching season (even though it feels like that will be FOREVER, it really isn’t).
I know that my husband will be out of school for the summer, so all the projects like painting our furniture, and decorating Gabrielle’s room, and going through all the papers in the house can wait until then. And it will be like 115 degrees here so I’ll be wanting to stay inside anyway.
So it’s ok to spend my days taking the kids for walks or to the park or the library, because we won’t be feeling like doing much of that in a couple months.
I’m feeling so much more at peace now that I’ve revamped my own expectations for myself to match the current season.
Maybe your season looks like taking on new projects at work, or extra classes at school, or wedding planning, or growing a baby, or extra commitments for your children.
Whatever it is, think about whether your circumstances or time commitments or limitations have changed and if you have adjusted your expectations accordingly or if you are still charging ahead trying to match the same output from before.
If you are feeling frustrated or anxious or depressed about what you may not be getting done, you might not be matching your expectations to your reality. And take it from me, there is so much more peace when you do.
And here’s a little food for thought…
“If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there…” -Elisabeth Elliot
How many of those items on your To Do list are ones that He put there and how many are ones that you’ve added over time?
There are a lot of GOOD things out there that may not be the BEST things for right now. Take some time to ask God which ones they may be.
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1