In being a parent and being a child of a parent, a wife, and employee, a church member, and a friend, I have come to the conclusion that much of your happiness depends on what your expectations are.
If they are too high then you are unhappy when they are not met. If they are too low, you can't enjoy the fruit of the work put into it!
If you expect your children to make you look good, you will be miserable. In doing this, we are putting someone else's expectations on your children. How unfair! Like when we expect our children to stay still at the DMV because a stranger may give you a dirty look.
After Savannah was born, I couldn't believe how hard motherhood was! Yet we kept adding children and somehow we made it through. The fourth has been the easiest! Could it be that it is because I wasn't expecting to get adequate sleep, I was more content? I knew how messy they are? I didn't care if he walked at 10 months or talked by 14?
Being a recovering discouraged perfectionist, I can recognize how many times I have put unrealistic expectations on my family and friends. Every time...disappointment. I also thought God's expectations of me were more than I could do, and then I was disappointing God and was a failure. God's expectations would be too high for us if it weren't for Jesus. But thankfully we have Jesus!
Abraham and his family received a promise. God promised that Abraham would receive the world. It would not come to him because he obeyed the law. It would come because of his faith, which made him right with God.
Do those that obey the law receive the promise? If they do, faith would have no value. God’s promises would be worthless. The law brings God’s anger. Where there is no law, the law cannot be broken.
Romans 4:13-15 NIrV
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.
1 Corinthians 10:23 NKJV
From what I can see, God's plan is very simple! We are the ones that complicate it!! But he knew that we would so, through his servants, He wrote a very detailed Bible. One with stories to relate to, one with beautiful poetry and extraordinary wisdom. It was complete with drama, history, genealogy and prophecy. Interesting yet useful. But to put it simply, this is what it comes down to is this:
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, love your neighbor as yourself.
Mark 12:30-31 NKJV
With what I have experienced so far, I conclude that if these two commandments are made a sincere priority in all of life, everything else will fall into place.
As far as the expectations I have for other people, I think that it would be best if I only set expectations that are necessary. I expect the girls to be quiet at night because there are so many in such a small area, we need to be respectful of other's sleep. That makes sense. But they are children and they will need to be loud and crazy sometimes!
I expect and effort involving the time and quality when doing schoolwork, but I cannot expect that they will always be good at everything.
I expect that they treat each other with respect by talking out their arguments, knowing they will have arguments.
I expect that they care about their hygiene and appearance, fully aware that we might not share preferences in style.
God wants a relationship with us to show us what he made us to do. Only he can tell us that. Listening to unrealistic expectations of others may limit our potential. But when someone does, we have the freedom in Christ to look to Him for our plum line and give grace to those that judge unreasonably. For we are all human.