it’s not always them


So Quinn doesn’t sleep as much as I’d like him too.

I suppose I may be expecting too much of a 5 week old. Is it too much to want him to sleep 8 hours at night? Or 4?

But expectations are a funny thing aren’t they.

I remember years ago I was helping with a discipleship weekend where we took a bunch of teenagers and had them stay up all night and engage with God in a bunch of different ways. Pray, reflection, art, music, the whole gambit. The idea was to create some kind of a right of passage. A mark to look back on.

It’s probably 3 in the morning and one of the guys comes and sits with all the leaders for a moment. We ask how he’s doing and in the twilight of the night he shares with us one of the most insightful things I’ve ever heard.

He says “I think I know why I’m so angry. You see I have the expectations of people. I want to them to be this or do that. But I don’t even tell them. I get mad at people for not meeting MY expectations that they don’t even know I have! I’m gonna stop doing that.”

And he got up and walked away.

The kids brilliant.

He understood so clearly that his actions were being dictated by himself and not others, despite feeling it was the other way round. How often do we do that?

How often do I get frustrated and upset with people stuck in their ways or going to church but not being church? The answer is roughly always. But that’s on me. That’s me not seeing where they are and helping them take the next step as opposed to trying rushing them to some arbiraty finish and being upset they don’t see everything the way I do.

Or as a father (if you’re not then a friend, co-worker, son, daughter, etc) how what I want my son to be will shape how I see him. What I wish for him will impact what I see as ‘success’ or ‘failure’. I have these hopes and dreams for Quinn that he’s had no say in. They aren’t even based on his personality or the man he is. They are just some things I hope for me.

And if he never becomes them?

Or what if I set out to change a person? A friend or a neighbour who become a project. What happens if the ‘project’ is never finished?

Relationships ruined by OUR expectations.

This all isn’t to say don’t’ have them but we do need to be mindful because more than we would like to admit the problem is with us and not them.


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