Thursday, March 7, 2013

Expectations

This will probably be muddled and hard to follow... It's just my thoughts as they come. This is how I make sense of things... Or at least get them out sometimes.

I get frustrated when I hear people complain about things their parents do or don't do. Parents aren't perfect, they make mistakes and they are human. But realization has dawned on me lately as I have heard complaints on parents from family, friends, youth students... Random people I meet... It's everywhere really. We live with such high expectations that our parents should do things certain ways or do certain things for us. Everyone has their opinion on "good" or "right" parenting. Our main expectations of our parents should be to love us and to do their best to provide for our needs until we are able to provide for our own. Past that we set ourselves up to be angered or disappointed when they don't meet our expectations. We have a tendency to think that we do nice things for them when they don't ask it of us so down the road, when we need something, they should be at the ready to give us what we want or need. Each parent is made differently and responds differently to their children and it doesn't make them wrong or selfish. Parents who help their children are just as much of a blessing as Parents who dish out tough love and teach their kids how to swim on their own. Each has their benefits.

The problem lies in the fact that as we grow we somehow get the notion in our heads that our parents owe us something. A lot of us are lucky to have parents who have shown us their mistakes so we may learn from them and make good decisions so we can avoid some of the same troubles. A lot of the time we don't realize all the sacrifices our parents made for us along the way so that we could have what we needed or even sometimes wanted. We don't learn to adequately appreciate our parents for all they did or what they went through for us until we ourselves become parents. Some parents are lucky to be able to pay for their kids' education while others have spent their whole lives working themselves to the bone just to make ends meet. Our parents don't owe it to us to pay for things like college, etc. it's a nice blessing but I think those who pay for it themselves are better off. Yes it is incredibly hard and you face crazy difficult times trying to pay for school, food, car, and other bills but you learn to manage and budget... You appreciate it because you are sowing into it yourself. Those who get it handed to them don't appreciate it. They take it for granted and some squander it.

I know because I was in that latter category... I was young and unwise. Looking back I regret not working hard and making my parents proud. I wasted my A+ program at community college. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life and squandered a good education but now I will pursue it with my own money and time... And eventually will finish and have a degree. I know now what I want to pursue as a career. Like I said, nothing I am proud of... But I digress...

I dunno, long rant to come to this conclusion I guess but in noticing this in conversations I've had lately, (it always turns a spotlight on yourself internally ya know...) that we (myself included here) have a tendency to think that our parents owe us something... And just not something but to whatever our specifications are. Our parents may give us what we are "owed" but not the way we expect or we imagined it.

In this same way we treat God. Oh boy, I think in some ways He gets it worse than our own parents from us. We serve, we give our time and money to God... We live our lives to "His standards" and then feel that He owes it to us to give us the life we want with all our expectations and specifications. GOD OWES US NOTHING! He gives and He takes away but in everything He does, He sees the bigger picture. He knows what is good for us and what is not. God gave us His Son so we may have LIFE! What is a greater gift than eternal life?! What could He possibly owe us??? How we treat people in our life directly reflects how we treat God. YIKES! Thankfully He loves and forgives a lot better than we do. I am so thankful for a loving, forgiving, merciful God.

Lord, we are sorry for acting like You owe it to us to do things our way. Give us the faith of Abraham. Draw us ever closer to You and teach us to love and serve with the only expectation to bring Your name Glory. Amen.