Breathe: Unmet Expectations

Unmet expectations. The feeling of letdown is not only disappointing and depressing, but often can spiral into discontentment and delusion. This is the spiral I often find myself caught within. Whether I place my expectations high or low, when unmet I sink into feelings of overwhelm. I feel weighty but loose, untethered but stuck. No rational arguments or logical facts can release the building tension and I can’t run or jump out of the chasm. It seems like there is no way out.

Maybe for you it’s your job that doesn’t feel as fulfilling as you desired. Maybe it is your family that doesn’t seem to understand you or your needs. Maybe it is your social circle that appears to exclude you from notice. Maybe it is your church that doesn’t care over your concerns. 

Yet, when spiraling through your expectations and desires it all seems so… selfish. That’s where I always end up. It is selfish to need that appreciation, that recognition, that extra time, that thoughtful gift, or that helping hand. It is selfish to only think of your own needs and not what other responsibilities your employer, family, friends, or church might have also. It is selfish to feel alone, unseen, and unknown when everyone else is probably feeling the same way. That’s probably the actual problem: you’re just selfish.

Or maybe the comparison game creeps in and begins to torment you. How can you feel overwhelmed when someone else has much greater problems? How can you be ungrateful when you even have a job, family, friends, and church in the first place? You must be a terrible person to not appreciate what you have and to constantly crave more and more.

The right answer here is: don’t fall into this trap! Don’t believe the lies! Take every thought captive! 

But when you’re spiraling those truths just make the guilt expand and push you deeper into the self condemnation you’re already feeling. 

So I’m here to tell you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. 

Another day we can chat about those “right answers” and the truth of who God is and how He helps us when we’re in those low moments. Because He absolutely is and He is greater than all our emotions and weaknesses and sin natures. But in the middle of the struggle those truths are rarely calming or helpful and feel like a kick in the face rather than a propelling kick in the pants.

If you’re in the spiral and cannot see a way out, breathe. Wait. Write it out. Scream it out. Punch it out (on a pillow or some other safe surface). When this passes, then we can talk. But you will make it! You must make it! You are not alone. I am there too. 

Sometimes our expectations get the best of us. I find myself here during the week of Christmas of all times! (But also, how unsurprising!) Sometimes the trigger is something so small and seemingly insignificant that it even surprises us! But that doesn’t detract from your feelings snd that doesn’t make it any easier to slow the mental and emotional spin. So try not to beat yourself up and wait for it to pass. It will pass. And our anchor and foundation will right us eventually. Then we will hold fast to those truths that we know that we know that we know.

Until then, breathe.

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