The Expectation Gap: Accepting Our Beautifully Imperfect Reality
One of my closest friends and I are working through a Bible study. As part of one of our exercises, we were supposed to ask someone close to us to answer a few “difficult” questions. I sat down with my husband and asked him the following question:
“Do I seem joyful to you, and if not, why do you think that is?”
You can’t ask that kind of question unless you’re ready and willing to hear the truth. I knew his answer would be no, but the insight he gave me was not something I was expecting. Truth has a way of sneaking up on us like that.
My husband told me that he suspected I wasn’t happy because of an expectation gap.
An expectation gap is the difference between our expectations and reality. It’s the place where nothing quite measures up and we’re never quite good enough. It’s the place where shame, fear, and doubt replace gratitude, contentedness, and joy. And far too many of us have pitched our tents there – and if we’re not careful, we’ll begin to put down roots.
Life is rarely what we expect it will be. Our bubbles burst and our expectations fall flat. Almost nothing goes exactly as planned and we often don’t find the “magic” we were hoping for. The thing is, the real, dirty, everyday, mundane life we actually encounter is pretty darn magical…..we just need to alter our expectations in order to see it.
Today I want to encourage you to stop waiting for the perfect moments. Stop wishing that things would be the way you envisioned. Learn to accept your day to day reality as the beautifully imperfect blessing it is. Relish and enjoy the everyday wonder going on around you. Smile in the midst of the mess. Become comfortable with mistakes and less than perfect results. Don’t let moments to simply “do life” with your family slip by as you allow your disappointments and unmet expectations to take control. Stop waiting for the perfect day, and simply enjoy the day you have, imperfections and all.
In the coming year, I’m going to be working on being present – living in the moments happening around me, rather than waiting for the “magical memories” and “scenes out of a movie” to occur. Join me?