Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Blessings of Low Expectations

OK I really love to read. Anything and everything. I even read the entire cracker box. So when I stopped by the library the other day and found a pile of parenting magazines free for the taking I was delighted. I love to read magazines. I love books. But they suck me in and I have a hard time putting them down. I only like to read good books because they take my time and energy. Magazines on the other hand are quick, easy to drop and pick back up. Also I can tolerate a page or two of someone's different viewpoint even if I disagree, its a learning experience.

Anyway, back to the parenting magazines. Is it just me, or are we just a little bit too caught up in our own problems these days? Are we much to expectant of a life of comfort, ease, and perfection? It just seemed like article after article, magazine after magazine was devoted to the trials and travail of motherhood. Of course interspersed was the latest toys, gear, and gadgets, marketed to make your life easier or your child the next prodigy. And yes there were a few articles with helpful information about feeding and babycare, but even those often had references to diffusing mommy guilt or the general frustration of life as a mom.

I just want to say ENOUGH ALREADY!!! When did hardwork and difficulty become an anomaly in life?!! When did we come up with the idea that doing something so important should be easy?!!!

The church group I met with in college had a fascinating old fashioned hymnbook. At first I was surprised by the tone of the songs. I was used to praise choruses about God's goodness and our delight. These songs however often spoke of our sin, our brokenness, the total impossibility of happiness and success without the great and generous mercy of God. At first they seemed odd and sad. But then I began to discover that they were truth. They spoke too of the troubles of this world, they are everpresent and unavoidable. Only when we leave this world will we find perfection, only in God's presence.

I realize I was reading secular magazines. And sadly they don't even acknowledge God's existence. But I see Christians sucked in to the same mindset. If we just can figure out the right combination to make everything easy. The right psychology, the right invention, the right words, the right food, it goes on and on. The more we chase making things perfect the farther we seem to get away from it. Or maybe the more we despair about not achieving it.

Being a mom is a lot of work. So is not being a mom, I've been there too. Being alive in this world means facing difficulty, hardwork, fatigue, frustration, and confusion. That is what we should expect out of life on earth. Instead of fighting it, instead of striving for perfection here, why not embrace the imperfect. There are great blessing we receive even in this world. They are made all the more amazing and sweet when we have to work for them and yet realize we still don't deserve them. Of course we will fail in moments of pain and panic. But can we remember in the between times that pain, panic, and failure are to be expected this side of heaven.

Guess that was why I kept getting s0 frustrated with those magazines. Month after month trying to solve the same problems. Seeking success and happiness with the right combination of ideas and methods. OK, Maybe I shouldn't have read fifteen of them in one week. But then maybe I wouldn't have noticed the pattern I so easily get sucked into.

When I started writing I was thinking of how beneficial it was to have low expectations of this world. But I realized it is really having high expectations, high expectations of the next world. I'm reminded of this quote from C.S. Lewis' book Mere Christianity

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world"


glenda said...

Good morning.. thanks for sharing your blog. I will come back and browse some more.


Tonya said...

I agree, we do tend to expect things to be easy even when we were told it would never be easy. I wonder why that is, why do we think it should be easy? I know for a fact that it's not easy and I don't ever expect it to be however I wouldn't mind a little break once in a while.