Each birthday since I was 20 Ron has worked hard to make me happy. He plans, gets all the details worked out, asks me what I want, and bribes the kids to behave for one day. One eventful birthday was my 40th. I wanted to go to Dogwood Canyon in southern Missouri and bike ride as a family. August birthday’s are hot, I am just saying this in case you may not be familiar with near 100 degree Missouri summers. Hot + bike ride + little kids= misery. I expected a lot and got frustrated, Ron was coercing, kids were crying and I was awful.
Fast forward a couple of years, my kids are now 16- 20 years old and we see them less and less. Ron asked the annual question, “What do you want to do for your birthday”. We had a long talk about expectations and I decided to expect less. I decided I would be delighted with anything just having all 6 of us + 2 girl friends. The girls live in the Branson area so the boys picked them up and we met in Branson (we did not expect to haul 8 of us in one car) and that was good start to the day! When we went to lunch at a favorite sea food place, I did not expect the kids to like the menu or choices. They didn’t, but I found it funny this time. We went to a shop and I did not expect us all to stay together and we disbanded, girls one way and boys went another. It was fun being with the girls and I am still not sure where the boys went but they came back smiling and happy to carry our bags to the car for me and Alex had a balloon hat on!
Ron had told them to meet at 11:30 and hang around until 2 pm and then they can do what they wanted. We were going down to my Dad’s at the lake to swim (remember the hot reference) and they were welcome to come but we did not expect it. They hung out with us until almost 8 pm and we had an awesome time, swimming, talking and hanging out. I did not expect it and I was pleasantly surprised!
I have high energy, high expectation and work hard. I am passionate about the people I love and now I love them enough to expect less. My kids, friends, family and Ron can be put on a pedestal that is all too easy to fall off. We can still have high expectations for greatness in our lives we just need to ease up on people. It has been quite freeing in my marriage and family.
I also decided I needed to give myself that same gift. I will always be committed, hardworking and expect the best God has to offer, I am just not going to beat myself up with unmet expectations. I got to the point I was almost too afraid to set a high goal knowing it might not happen.
Darren Hardy in the Compound Effect said it best “Set your goals very high so your actions will follow. You may not meet that goal, but the actions you accomplish get you closer to the goal.”
I am always going to be a goal setter, and a reach for the stars kind of girl. I am have learned to watch those unhealthy expectations that harm relationships with myself and others.
I have a sign in my home office that has been there for years; Work Hard, Pray Hard, Trust God. The message has been there all along. There is a balance in life we need to keep and I know God has no intention to set us up for failure.
This has been one of the best birthdays I have ever had and it began with zero expectations from my family and I never felt more loved!