What happens when we can’t fulfill people’s expectations of us? Their belief that they will obtain something from us can quickly turn into disappointment that weighs us down, causing us to drown in a sea of frustration and rejection. The pressure can seem insurmountable and can cause us to take on characteristics unbefitting to us in order to meet their wishes. How do we survive and swim ashore? Let me start by sharing a little bit of my story in hopes that it will help you stay afloat, allowing you to swim towards the shore versus drowning.
For the longest, I always felt like I was drowning, drowning in the sea of expectation. I allowed people to put their expectations on me, causing me to sink further and further into the abyss because I couldn’t always fulfill them. I was a people pleaser and I never wanted anyone to think negatively of me. Any type of negativity always pierced my soul and caused severe damage to my spirit, I never felt good enough! Words wounded me, leading towards a feeling of defeat and eventually rejection. I would criticize myself to the point that I tried to change in order to make everyone else happy but making myself miserable in the process.
I finally had to look at how these emotions were causing me to drown and begin the process of swimming above them. I started by holding on to the only lifejacket made just for me and that was my identity in Christ, just as 2 Corinthians 5:17 states,” therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come,” I grasped onto the fact that I am new in Him so who I am and what I can achieve is designed by Him. Also, Ephesians 2:10 states, “For we are God’s masterpiece, created to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do,” this reminds me that even if I don’t meet someone’s expectations I’m created to do good works, therefore, missing the mark doesn’t define me entirely. God assures me of who I am as a person so that I’m not changing who I am to please someone else.
We can swim above the sea of expectations if we stay true to ourselves and realize God is the only one who has the blueprint and constructs our lives. If we happen to fail to meet the expectations of others, if we focus on keeping criticism about ourselves at bay, it will allow us to continue to move forward and do the good works God created us to do.
BY: Rhonie McBerry
Rhonie, is a licensed radiation therapist providing care to those battling cancer. She learned to embrace a new normal after being diagnosed with Crohn’s. disease and uses the power of words to encourage others to see past their darkest day to a brighter horizon.
She is the author of Embracing a New Normal, God Has Drawn The Blueprints Vol I & II, Words That Surround Your Soul devotionals.