Monday, April 12, 2010

Expectations

God is not looking for perfection, and though I always knew this, in my mind, I think that it only began to sink into my heart not so long ago. It cost me a great many tears until I reached this realization, but the reward was infinitely wonderful, because it gives a sense of security and confidence each one of us, as His precious child, deserves.

He is not, and cannot be, looking for perfection, because he did not make me perfect. He left room for improvement, and he delights in, and appreciates the efforts I undertake to improve.

Yes, there is the standard (vast and challenging) set of commandments each practicing Jew sees him or herself committed to. But other than that, He watches and appreciates me according to my own abilities and limitations – not those of other people.

For example, even though I am dedicated to – and know my place is in – my home, with my family, caring for my child, even though I have never been happy and content anywhere the way I am in my home throughout each day, the practical truth is that I'm challenged when it comes to everyday domestic tasks. And I mean, really challenged, which is why, when I say "if I can do it, anyone can", I mean it most sincerely. I think the reason for this is a combination of natural clumsiness and forgetfulness (I'm prone to knocking things over, and I'd be lost without my notes and lists), and not being required to lend a hand around the house when I was a child, which could have formed helpful lifelong habits (but which undoubtedly would have been frustrating for whoever tried to engage me in helping).

So, if someone stops by one day and examines my house with a critical eye, perhaps some lingering undusted spots may be noticed, and some lack of order. But God doesn't see this. He knows what my house had been like before, and knows the effort I put in to achieve a certain measure of tidiness. He knows the long hours I spend working in my home every day, long after the baby goes to sleep, scrubbing floors, ironing and working in my kitchen. He knows I do it all with a joyful heart, thinking about how to make life more comfortable and orderly for my family. And he appreciates it, even though I might be forever and always lagging behind someone else's standards.

He doesn't want or expect us to be perfect. He wants our dedication, our faithfulness to the important tasks handed to us, our willingness to improve, our best efforts, our cheerfulness, our joy in being with Him, our appreciation of the blessings that adorn our lives. And he wants, appreciates and loves us, just the way we are, with our weaknesses, our misconceptions and our failings.

He sees us through eyes of compassion and love, which is how we are to be with our own children: to value and cherish them for what they are, never compare them with others, but celebrate their achievements as they make progress at their own pace. Who knows how many children's souls have been terribly wounded, not by lack of care or provision, but by constant remarks about some other child, who speaks three languages and plays the violin. Thankfully, God is beyond human failings. Yes, He will never fail us.  

We should know that each and every little thing is rewarded, even when it is seemingly noticed and appreciated by no one. He sees, He knows, and that is why pleasing people or measuring up to other people's standards is not supposed to be our primary goal. He looks at our heart, and may we ever and always be strengthened and comforted by this knowledge.   

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, Anna, you hit it on the head with the key word -- joy! I didn't get this either for a long time, when I finally realized tasks went by so much better when I took pride and joy in them for the glory of God (no matter how mundane). God does see what we do even if nobody else realizes we cleaned behind the refrigerator and the oven yesterday! And we don't have to be perfect. As long as we keep trying to improve ourselves (compared to our past selves and not other people) and put our own family's needs first, that is what counts.

Coming from lifelong slob habits, I know God sees my efforts have come a long way.

Have a great day :)

~ Z.

SweetPeaknits said...

A beautiful post and said most perfectly.

Mary M said...

This is a beautiful post Anna...thank you

:-)

Jenn said...

Anna,

I cannot tell you what this post has meant to me. This is something I've been struggling with privately for sometime and only just made it known to my husband last week. Its amazing how God uses people in our everyday lives to reinforce such simple yet critical points for our lives. You've been such a blessing to me. Thank you for sharing your heart and letting me (and I'm sure many others) know we're not alone in feeling inadequate at times.

momto9 said...

Amen! It's awesome you are learning/know this while you only have one child...it will make life so much easier for you when you have more!!

Neuropoet said...

Anna,
Thank you for the reminder... with my health issues i just haven't been able to keep the house the way "I want it" - in fact I can barely keep it hygienic. It's good to be reminded that trying my best is "good enough"...

~Jenny (Nonna)

Persuaded said...

Anna... you know I was just struck by this very thing, this very morning, as I was reading my daily chapter of Proverbs. Maybe I am odd, but sometimes I find that book a bit discouraging...I am constantly reminded by how very far I have to go to be anything anywhere near approaching wise. And this morning, I fully realized (maybe for the first time) that we will grow in wisdom and that we are not expected to have it all together- especially not on our own! He understands that we haven't "arrived"... whew, what a relief♥

Jordin said...

Beautiful, Anna.

My pastor preached a sermon a few months back, and I found it incredibly odd that I have NEVER thought of it this way before. He pointed out that God is never disappointed in us! He has NO expectations of us, because he doesn't *expect* anything: he already knows our future. And since disappointment is the result of expectations not being met, he's never disappointed. :) Incredible! Makes me look at this life in a whole different way.

Analytical Adam said...

Well Mrs. Anna I hope you have that same attitude towards in Israel others who may be imperfect or their parents imperfect and the adult feels he is being punished for the sin of his father or mother even though he or she doesn't agree with what his father or mother did but he or she can't that.

If your husband and you are critical and harsh to those who have done nothing to deserve it then G-d will be the same towards you and your husband. That is all I can honestly say. G-d treats us in the way we treat others. If we are dogmatic in how we treat others and can't see beyond a dogma (and this includes religious dogma that has little biblical support) then at the end of the G-d will not treat us with kindness.

At least that is my opinion since I have been treated horribly for things beyond my control I was a first born with a younger sister I was a bit on the shy side growing up and I have had issues with both of my parents and this goes against religious dogma. So rather then have compassion for me people blame me because they don't want to look past their dogma. At the end of the day I do believe G-d will be the same way towards them and G-d will punish them for something that was beyond their control and they will ask G-d, Well I tried my best and didn't know and G-d will say back well why were you unable to show any compassion to others who tried their best and were loyal and they will make some excuse or say well a Rabbi told me this and G-d will say well if you want to be dogmatic towards others then you should be judged the same way.

Amanda said...

What a terrific post - thank you for the great reminder. I too adore being in my home, teaching and loving on my children and would choose to be no other place... and yet, I was also not taught how to be a homemaker as a child. My mother worked full time and so the skills I've learned are self taught and not always up to other people's standards. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by this, and have to stop and take a deep breath and remember that as you say, it's our joy and desire to work each day to fulfill our role as mothers that is what God sees as pleasing.

Taking time to read books to my little ones and nature walks and teaching them about their loving Father in heaven is more important than a completely spotless home :)