When John arrives home from work, I expect him to help me. Never mind that he has just worked a long day himself and is late because he stopped by to pick up Sarah Beth or Daniel from soccer practice. Never mind that God designed wives as helpmeets, not the other way around. And never mind that I don't even have a clear idea of what kind of help I want. I just have a vague idea that I'm tired and want some help.
One of two things can happen when John walks through the door. First, he could get distracted by a package that came in the mail that day, something that he has been waiting to arrive. I'm irritated because he did not meet my expectations by helping me. Secondly, he could walk in the door, see that Hannah is fussing at my feet while I'm washing dishes, and pick her up. He just helped me, but I'm not grateful because I expected that help.
It's a lose-lose situation for both of us, and I have put my husband in the "cage of expectations."
Of course, this concept works with children as well. When I expect my child to do well on a math test and he does, well, I'm not happy or grateful because I expected it. If he does poorly, however, I'm upset because he did not meet my expectations. (I'm using the generic "he;" I'm not singling out poor Daniel.) I see this happening with chores, too, like setting the table. You get the idea.
It's hard to let go of our expectations. It's hard. But we need to. You can see from the examples above why it's called the "cage of expectations." I've put my husband and my children in cages, and only I can let them out.
I'm working on this, and I wrote this post to remind me to work on it.
Do you put your loved ones in "the cage of expectations"? If so, join me, and let's let them out!
First, I am a child of God, adopted into His family through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. Second, I am helpmeet to my husband John of sixteen years. Third, I am mother to Sarah Beth who is ten years old, to Daniel who turned nine in February, to Rachel who turned seven at the end of January, to Mary who turned five in December, and to Hannah who turned one in February.