I’m in a season in my life where I’m finally having to learn to lean on those around me. I’m having to vocalize my need for the people in my life. With this, I’ve discovered a new level of vulnerability-naturally, because I’m letting people in on my life where I have never had them before. I never found the need to lean on anybody for much. When I did, and someone would let me down in the past, the backfire wasn’t too harsh because I was always too jaded to lean and trust. But if we are honest with ourselves, there are times in ours lives when we need to lean on our circle. Sometimes we need to lean completely on them.
I’m also learning a new lesson. I’m learning that the backfire from leaning on someone completely is way worse than the backfire of how I used to lean on people in my life. I’m noticing that people come with the right intentions-but they aren’t always equipped to help. They don’t always have the right words. Or they don’t always receive something you did or said very well. People can leave us depleted when we looked to them to fill us. People can cause us disappointment when we were depending on them. People can leave us hopeless when we’ve placed so much faith in them. This is scary, but the truth when dealing with those in our lives.
I used to just shut those kind of people out of my life. Anyone who let me down, or would disappointment me-family, boyfriend, friends-it didn’t matter how close we were or how much we’ve shoveled through together-let me down and I’ll tune you out. That was me.
However, I started shutting out and muting some pretty significant people. People who were always there and people who genuinely cared for me. People who spoke encouragement and life over me. It got to a point where I was going to shut someone out who literally changed my life for the good-and that got me thinking: is it them? Or is it me?
Am I looking at this from the right perspective? I can say I am. And I have. I claim it. I have claimed it. But what is the underlying issue here?
The truth is people will let us down. We will trust. We will lean. We will have hope. We will expect. And people sometimes-they won’t deliver at our expectation. And at times we will be on the opposite end, letting someone down-not meeting their expectation.
That is the issue. It is where we are placing our expectation. We cannot expect things from people in any capacity. In no kind of condescending way do I write this. But if you’re anything like me, you realize your need for your circle-you realize that relationships are a huge part of this life and if we are going to move forward with those people, we have to stop expecting and start making exceptions for their mistakes.
The only person who is going to meet us at our expectation and fulfill our needs is Jesus. Plain and simple. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. But even for my own life I can say this is true. I’ve been through so much in my life-from abandonment to sexual mistreatment-that lead me to very broken places in my life. I’ve seen my dreams crumble before me. And there were other people who had a hand in these times in my life. However, the one thing I noticed is that humans-yeah, we are human! We are not God and we weren’t made to play him and fix issues the way we think they should be handled. We mess up. We fall down. We get offended and touchy. We are not capable of placing expectations on people. Our expectations don’t come from a very wide scope of life. Our expectation doesn’t always take the other person’s situation or heart into consideration. No, our expectations come from our very narrow scope on how we’ve experienced things.
That isn’t fair to the friend who didn’t say something quite right. Or the family member that didn’t call and check on us. Or the boyfriend or husband who didn’t do something quite right. We cannot expect these people to detect our level of need and filter or serve to it. That is a job only our Creator could take up. He is the only one who knows how precious and deep our expectations go. Therefore he is the only qualified One to carry that kind of weight.
Our expectations-they are fragile. We are a fickle people. Our emotions and faith get tied to our expectations-which is normal. Our hopes and dreams are tied to what we expect. We were made this way. But this is why only God can fulfill them. This is why we have to extend exceptions to people-and stop placing expectations on them and place them into the right hands.
This shift in perspective took effort. It took patience and kindness-not only with those around me-but with myself as well. I’m still working on it. But I got to a point in my life where I noticed I needed people and people were going to be a part of devastating situations that occur-but I had to realize why my circle was there. Yes- to lean on, but don’t expect fulfillment from them. Don’t place an expectation on them that you prescribed and approved of. That isn’t fair or realistic. We are entangled and infused with faith, vision, and passion that gauge the expectations we have-in any situation. Only God can understand our deep need to fulfill our expectations. Also, we are selling ourselves short by creating and imposing our own expectations. I know this because our expectations are only mere vibrations compared to what God has for us. He tells us that he “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3). Meaning what we want-or think we need-or what we expect is actually not much compared to what he has for us if we hand our expectations over to Him. If we turn to Him to fill us-not our jobs, not the people there. Not our husband or wife-but Him-he will be faithful to give us the grace to extend exceptions and to overflow our expectations.
“Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.”