Expecting... Less

Friday, August 24, 2007 16 Comments A+ a-

“The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time.” ~Abraham Lincoln

Ever since my first counseling appointment on Monday, I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about things. While I’m fairly confident that a number of things contributed to my “breakdown” last week, there seems to be a recurring theme.

A couple of months ago, I received an email from a friend saying that she thinks I’m too hard on myself and that I should give myself a break. It made me pause. I agreed with her but didn’t think it was that big a deal.

The night that we closed on our house, Sarah and her family came over to celebrate with us. I looked (and felt) very overwhelmed at the idea of moving and unpacking. Sarah kindly pointed out that I needed to lower my expectations; that I couldn’t do it all at once, and that eventually, I would get settled. Again, I thought about what she said but did not act on her suggestion.

Then I had a meltdown last Wednesday… Jon and I went for a drive Thursday afternoon, just the two of us, to talk about things. On this drive, he expressed his concern that my expectations of myself were too high. He reminded me that I wasn’t perfect, that I couldn’t be Super Mom all the time, and that I needed to cut myself a little slack.

(Do you see the theme emerging?)

Then during my first counseling session with Dr. Laura (no, this is not the doctor from the radio station and the term doctor is used loosely here), she made an observation that (by now, it should be no surprise) I have really high expectations of myself, expectations that I do not hold for anyone else in my life. My homework until my next appointment? Be easy on myself.

(Ok, God, I get it…)

Expectations… We all have them, large or small, and they pretty much take over every area of our lives. I had high expectations about our first house; Devyn would adjust easily, the unpacking would happen fast, and the privacy fence would be up within two weeks… tops. As Sarah mentioned, those expectations were unrealistic and in turn, created much stress in my life. After two weeks, boxes still lie in each room of the house, Devyn is just now starting to refer to the house as “MY” house, and we’ve yet to start the fence. But you know what? Its okay, it’ll happen eventually.

As for myself, I’m realizing that I AM hard on myself; expecting myself to be everything to everyone and feeling like a miserable failure when I don’t even come close. I have be an exceptional employee at work; a fun, loving, and spiritual guide to the kids; a supportive, loving, helpmate to my husband; create a warm, happy home for the family; and then throw in my daughter, sister, and friend roles and you have an overwhelmed woman who can’t possibly do it all. At least, it’s not possible without affording myself some grace.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say on this subject as I examine my need to be perfect with the counselor, as well as ways to better handle my many roles. I have more questions than answers at this point, but I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about these counseling sessions. I think its going to be a hard, but necessary, journey of self-discovery and I’m looking forward to sharing what I learn.

I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.

16 comments

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dareth
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4:36 PM delete

Oh Jenn, I am so happy for you. This will be a difficult journey. But, in my experiences thus far, the hard ones are the best ones. They are the ones that stick with us and help us grow into the women that God wants us to be. Praying for you.

I can't wait to see you next week. I hope we an carve out some more girl time...I can already taste the Panera :)

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HappyMama
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4:53 PM delete

Dear, sweet Jenn, I am so glad that you made this discovery. I too have felt that you are much, much too hard on yourself for everything. You are only one person!! You need to take a breath and enjoy life, perfect or not. I'm so glad that your counselor will be working with you on this. Like Dareth said, the hardest lessons are usually the best ones. Thanks for sharing your heart and I'll be lifting you up in prayer.

Love, Missy

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Mary
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5:06 PM delete

I'm so glad to hear that these sessions are of help to you! And yes, it's hard not to be "hard" on ourselves when our personalities demand it. But with God's help and grace, you can do it.

I'm praying for you my friend. And I'll 'cyber' walk this journey with you!

Much love,
Mary

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Wendy
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5:34 PM delete

That is great that you are learning this. I know it is a hard lesson. It took me a long time to learn that it is ok to say "no." It is still hard sometimes.

Take everything a day at a time. Try to enjoy slowly getting your house together. It will come together in time.

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Christina
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5:59 PM delete

I'm so happy that your sessions are going well. The lessons your learning is one we all need to learn at one (or many) points in our lives.

I look forward to reading about your journey.

((HUGS))

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Joy
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7:06 PM delete

Thank you so much for sharing this with us. You are an amazing woman. I am so grateful to know you (well sort of, in the bloggy way, anyway). My expectations of myself are always way off. I'm struggling with that now and the tears have been flowing for the last couple days. I. just. can't. do. it. all.

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7:15 PM delete

This is something God is using to shape you. "Whatever God asks you to lift, He gives you the grace to carry." He will bring you through this to the other side. I am praying for you and your family.

Love and Prayers,
Julie

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7:15 PM delete

This is something God is using to shape you. "Whatever God asks you to lift, He gives you the grace to carry." He will bring you through this to the other side. I am praying for you and your family.

Love and Prayers,
Julie

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Liz
AUTHOR
8:42 PM delete

I can so relate to this! The Lord continues to teach me about my expectations of myself and my limitations. I tend to be hard on myself too.

"As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. psalm 103:13-14

I love this verse and often think of it. God remembers what we are made out of...dust! He knows my limitations. He knows that I cannot do it all, so why should I expect myslef to be able to? He loves and accepts us and pours out His grace even when I don't deserve it. I still struggle with resting in the truth though. God doesn't want me to do it all and be it all, He wants me to rest in Him.

Thank you for sharing your heart. I am excited to hear more as the Lord teaches you!

With prayers!
Liz
P.S. Sorry this is so long.

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1:24 AM delete

First of all, I love your honesty and candor, I find it so refreshing. Next, I am so with you. I am my own harshest critic...so I'll join you on your journey, ok?!
Blessings,
Joy

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Liberty
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1:41 AM delete

Wow! That sounds like one of my first sessions with my counselor. Did your parents have high expectations of you when you were growing up?

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8:43 AM delete

Thank you for being so transparent, Jenn! Between Joy's post about mother guilt and these last posts of yours, I'm realizing how many moms feel just the way I do...that if we don't do it all ALL THE TIME, we've somehow failed our children and everyone else in our lives. That's just not true. I'm looking forward to what you're learning as well. I think it's these are lessons we can all take from.

If we were perfect, we wouldn't need Jesus, now would we?

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crystal
AUTHOR
12:34 PM delete

Oh how I needed to hear this. I am fairly new to your blog but already you inspire me. I too have a hard time saying no and feeling like I have to do it all....I feel like such a failure alot of times because I dont do everything I think I should do. My husban is constantly telling me that I too am "human". God doesnt expect us to do it all why should we expect it of ourselves.

I am looking foward to sharing this journey with you. I hope and pray that the counseling will help you. Keep taking it one day at a time, use your support system, and keep taking it to the Lord. It will get better.

Love and Prayers
Crystal

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Sarah
AUTHOR
2:39 PM delete

I'm glad your counselor could reinforce what I told you and that it stuck coming from her. I love you so much and I hope you know that I think you are wonderful and successful right where you are at! We can be our own worst enemy, but we just can't let that be, it makes Satan too happy. I'll be praying for you on this journey of self-grace sister. With God, all things are possible!
Love, Sarah

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Amy
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3:55 PM delete

Clearly, you are so not alone! It is really neat to see you reflecting on all of this. I think you are on the right track and I'm so excited to see how God uses this time. You are loved...as you are:) Amy

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Overwhelmed!
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11:41 PM delete

Oh Jenn, you're not alone. Many of us women set too high of expectations for ourselves. We try to be the adoring wife, the perfect mother, the sweetest daughter and sibling. There's no way we can be all of those things perfectly all the time but society makes us feel as though we have to keep trying harder.

I'm so glad you're seeing a counselor and that you feel good about that. I'm sure that you will gain much insight and comfort from these sessions.

Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Good luck on your road to self-discovery!

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