I’ve been thinking about expectations lately. well, I’ve been thinking about expectations my whole life, maybe. because the statements “I need to” (see: I need to work out more) and “I should” (see: I should read my bible more) have been the primary voice in my head for as long as I can remember. I create boxes. and I live inside them. I take good advice. and I make it my ultimate standard to live up to. I fail and I beat myself up and then I get up and try to do the exact same thing. it’s circular and exhausting, is what it is.
but last week, I was talking with some friends who, in their endless patience and grace, have committed to walking through life with me and I realized that it’s been a little while since I tried to figure out what I should be doing. because the past two months have been a slow process of actually giving myself permission to discover what is good – for me. what is right – for me. maybe it’s not reading my bible every morning for 45 minutes (which is a really good idea). and maybe it’s not jillian michaels 30 day shred (which is also a really good idea…if you are not a little bit scared of jillian michaels like I am). maybe it’s just the realization that there are a million and one ways to press into life with the one who made it. and at the end of the day, whatever works for me is exactly what should be. it’s beautiful and life-changing, is what it is.
because there is so much freedom in that. I stop living in what I “need” to do and I live in the reality of what is. and the reality is that I am made perfectly flawed and beautifully broken. and despite my fluctuating emotions and illogical fear of overly energetic fitness instructors, my creator looks at me and is happy with how I turned out. the reality is that he wants me to bring life to the world in whatever way I can, even if it’s messy and disjointed and in ten-minute increments. so I look for ways to be kind to myself. to be patient with myself. I give myself permission to do what will bring me joy. and I finally understand that this is not a selfish act after all. it is a necessary act. it is good. because I am a cup. and when I walk in the love that was given to me at my most vulnerable and broken, I will overflow onto all of life around me.
and I spend my days looking for ribbons of light wherever and whenever they might show up. I recognize the ribbons of light. and I say “thank you” for them. and I move into them in bits and pieces as I eat dinner or talk with friends or get gas and buy groceries. I acknowledge that the ribbons of light come in the reality of a world that is broken, and in some ways, I even say “thank you” for that too. because it is through the darkness that I see the ribbons more clearly. it is through the darkness that I grasp onto them and celebrate them with more ferocity.