What's something we can't see or touch but we can definitely feel? Expectations. Expectation is anything that is spoken or unspoken about what one person desires from someone else. Sometimes they can be good, sometimes they can be bad. However, if they aren't clearly communicated or received, can lead to some serious trouble.
I grew up in an Asian American home. Expectations. If you're Asian American or grew up in a home that had high expectations, then you know what I'm talking about. At six years old, I started taking violin lessons. I mean I barely started the 1st grade and here was my mom shoving a wooden thing on my neck with four strings and saying, "Oh Danny, you sound amazing!" It wasn't until I was nine (three years later!) that my mom admitted that I sounded horrible but could now finally bear to listen to me practice in my bedroom. But expectations. I was supposed to be the best. Why settle for second string when you could be first. Why be second chair when you could be first? Why would you just join your elementary school orchestra when you can join a city college's youth orchestra at the age of twelve?
For some of us (and I know for myself), we grew up with high expectations of what we could become or do. Doctors, lawyers, engineers... there's a list that goes on and on about what we deem as successful or important in our society. I don't blame my parents or grandparents. Honestly. They meant the best for me and saw potential in me before I could call it out for myself. But as I grew older I began to believe the lies that if I didn't live up to their expectations, then I wasn't valuable or lovable.
How did I get here? If my grades were good, I got to go shopping with my mom. Better yet, I got a car. If my grades were bad, I was grounded and had to practice more violin (more on this in another blog). But the implicit message I began to loop over and over in my head was that to be worthy was a direct correlation of my performance in anything I did.
That quickly became exhausting.
So then I gave up. I gave up trying to be the best. I gave up trying to do or be something for my parents. When I went to Cal Poly for my undergrad I initially set up to become a doctor. That didn't work out. My grades weren't good enough and I quickly learned that my greater passion was people. Every summer I would go on summer missions trips or get involved at my church. So then I realized, maybe my calling was to go into ministry... not medicine.
But for so many years, I was living under the expectations of other people. I couldn't decide who I wanted to become or what I liked about myself because my view of myself was tainted by everyone else's expectation of me. Rather than becoming who I was, I was putting on a show for everyone else to love and accept me.
So where are you today? Are you living with the lies of false expectations of everyone else? Or are you really living the way God made you to be? Ask yourself the question: What's my motivation? For everything! Because below the surface, if we can't answer the question with a response that says, "I'm living to become more of who God's made me to be..." then you might want to ask yourself, who are you really living for?