Sunday, November 27, 2011

Expectations: Epiphany

You know what I love about God? He inhabits my thoughts. He wakes me up, leads me through my thoughts and into a greater revelation about life. I am writing this particular blog simply to record what he laid on my heart early this morning.

A few weeks ago, I had read on a friend-of-a-friend's blog about advice that she would give to a couple getting married. She was given this advice and it has been a life-saver. The earth-shattering advice? Have no expectations.

Wh-what? NO expectations? None? Are you kidding me? And then your my know-it-all heart says, "Yeah. Right. How is that even possible? It's not. And how is that healthy? Shouldn't we have expectations for behavior? How do you know what is good & what can be improved upon if you don't have expectations?"

Spoken like a true educator, right there, Jessica.
But is it spoken like a supportive, respectful, gracious spouse?

Kinda sounds like a big, fat NO to me. Unfortunately for Dan, it's taken me nearly six months to figure this out. During this present season of gratitude (still is Thanksgiving weekend to me; although Advent does start this morning - and perhaps this is why my present epiphany is so special), I recognized that while I may feel grateful for my husband's presence, my words haven't really communicated just how thankful that I am.

It's been a heart-to-heart holiday for us (which is good considering we are two days away from that half-year-of-marriage mark). I had begun recognizing the ugliness of my heart-attitude, but talking with Dan definitely confirmed it. I may think of them as expectations but they are communicated to Dan's heart as short-comings and failures. What a way to boost my husband, huh? What a way to show respect.

I have this very strong desire to be right. I want to justify my case and position until I am blue-in-the-face. I do this with Dan; my parents; God. Last night, I was thinking about it like this:
So, you have no expectations - is this the same as giving grace?
If it's the same as giving grace, then does this mean that God doesn't have expectations of us?
Surely, God has expectations of us. Right? OR, is it different because God is the Creator and therefore is fully justified to have expectations of His creation and we I am not God, and therefore shouldn't be standing in judgement of my fellow created being, my husband?

Honestly, I am not sure how God led me to my morning revelation - but He did - and here it is.

It started thinking of Matthew 7:2, "Judge not; lest in the same way you, too will be judged." I have thought before on this verse and decided that you can often recognize the way that people are judging themselves based on judgements (or opinions since 'judgement is so unpopular of a word) that they cast upon other people.

When we have expectations of another person's behavior, very few times has that other person been informed of the expectations - or - been involved in the creation of these "important" expectations. We are setting ourselves up as the judge, ruler and executioner when we impose expectations upon another.

Last year, I read the works of Paolo Frieire, a Brazilian philosopher (for lack of a better word) and educator. He regarded that man are subjects because they have been created with the ability to create and transform their world/present reality. Animals are objects because they can only act upon their world - not transform or create it. They have the ability to act upon it, but not interact. Their actions may change their world (over time) - but it is not because they consciously thought, planned and deliberately acted thusly.

My expectations objectify my husband. He was not involved of the creation of them. He just knows when he falls short. (And let's really be honest, when he does meet them, I haven't been really good at communicating that. I mean, it was just a benchmark. Ugh. I would hate being married to me.)

Suddenly, I thought about my workplace. We have been doing the same thing to our students. We have ideas and beliefs about their behavior, attitudes and learning development; we create objectives so that their progress can be measured. We have gone to great lengths to communicate expectations TO them. What involvement have they had in the creation of these ideals? Until they are involved, the benchmarks will be unmet; expectations on both parts will be unfulfilled.

We need to allow our fellow men (husbands, students, even children) to be Subjects. This does mean that we will have to give up control; let's be honest, though, the results of my control don't bode well for anyone. They have been created to be creative and transform their world.

My role needs to focus on encouraging them to think critically, to understand their power, and to use it to better their world. When I can do this, I am honoring God in my role. When I don't, I become frustrated, angry, ungrateful - but, I should. I am 'kicking against the goads,' so to speak. God created all of us to act creatively and thoughtfully to transform our reality. When I objectify people, His power & plan have become impotent.

Well, I need to start transforming the transforming myself.

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