About a month ago, I needed to update my glasses prescription. What I thought would be a straight forward optometry visit quickly turned into multiple exams, three different sets of lenses, poor customer service, and a venture with my insurance provider. The most frustrating part was when optometrist number one asked if the warped distortion I was seeing in my lenses was really that bad. Isn’t the point of glasses to correct the distortion and replace it with perfect precision? I wasn’t about to pay for “good enough.” I wanted pristine clarity.
I am going to swallow my pride and admit that this little saga says so much more about me. For as long as I can remember, second place was the first loser, a minus next to a letter grade meant it could have been better, and good enough was never good enough.
Expectations are tricky. They drive us toward greatness. They pressure us to strive.
When our expectations start to diminish our sense of self-worth or deflate our joy, we should pause and take a closer look.
We might find ourselves mumbling internally, “When _________, then I’ll be happy/satisfied/fulfilled.”
We want the end goal. We desire clarity, fulfillment, and resolution.
What makes you so uncomfortable in the “not yet?”
Why do the questions in your heart cause unrest?
Why are you trying so hard to get there?
Wherever there is for you.
Rainer Maria Rilke writes, “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distance day into the answer.”
Since letting Jesus into my heart as a young girl, he has been on a mission to rewrite the scripts in my mind that pressure me to strive toward worldly expectations. He calms my anxious heart when the supposed clarity or answers the world offers fall short.
Jesus teaches me to find joy in living boldly. He’s invited me to live the questions, as Rilke puts it. And there’s no shame in admitting I had expectations that have gone unmet. Jesus holds the weight of my disappointment tenderly as I struggle to surrender.
It’s a dance, really. One hand on his shoulder and the other in his palm. It looks effortless and sings of freedom, but only if you surrender and let him direct your steps. Then comes the glorious moment when you unclench your jaw, release the tension in your shoulders, and throw caution to the wind. There’s nothing like it – the rush, the thrill, the beauty.
It shows vulnerability and strength at the same time. This is living the questions.
Let Jesus into your questions. Share your emotions, your thoughts, your expectations. He knows what to do with them.
And lastly, the hardest part. Let him lead – you follow.
“Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.” Song of Songs 2:4