Saturday, January 08, 2011

The Year of Un-Expectations

There are very few people in my life for whom I would sacrifice my normal Saturday sleep-in time. This morning was the first week our small group from church met at our new early Saturday morning time. I am not a morning person, at all, so you know these people mean a great deal to me.

Today we talked about the relational dynamics of an effective small group:  the power of vulnerability, the fear of disconnection, the disappointment of expectations and the courage to share whole-heartedly.

In every relationship, I want to live and share out of my authentic self. This same transparency is absolutely essential for small groups and for one-on-one relationships. Transparency is harder to attain in large groups because we naturally put up walls as a means of self-protection. The larger the group, the greater the perceived risk of betrayal.  Transparency suffers. Relationships may become shallow and unsatisfying.

We are all wired differently in the ways we are energized by being with people. Some prefer one-on-one, others small groups, still others love the big party. One member shared today that he intentionally limits the number of his friendships. Another member said she asked her son if he had enough friends. Her son replied, “I don’t need as many friends as you do, Mom.”

If we look at friendships as a numbers game, we can get an overload of casual friendships which strain expectations when we become too busy to spend quality time cultivating each one. Invariably, we disappoint someone.

I was struck by the idea of intentional limits. This sounds so much more palatable than “lower your expectations.” Setting boundaries leads to a more sustainable pace. A sustainable pace provides better quality of life and lends itself to making deeper, more satisfying connections.

So, instead of being disappointed and exhausted from a hectic pace of life this year, I am declaring this to be my year of un-expectations. Where I am feeling stressed, it is a signal to re-evaluate if I need to set some limits.

How will this take shape? This year of Un-Expecations?
  • Limit the number of friends, Facebook time, twitter posts, regular commitments and impromptu appointments.
  • Demand LESS of myself and others. This does not mean I abandon duty. On the contrary, it becomes my priority. However, my duty is not “perfection.”
  • Relax into creativity. Muse more.
  • Savor the freedom of anticipation 
As I limit my expectations and put my hope in God, not people, I open a window to the possibility of surprise. Pleasant surprise.

Yes. The year of Un-Expectations.

What does your year look like? Are you saying goodbye to disappointment? 

1 comment:

  1. Great post! It reminds me of what I just posted about recently.. expectations vs expectancy.
    Your list of un-expectations is a good one!