A little girl sits across the ice cream shop, an enormous sundae in front of her. It has sprinkles, cherries on top, and a hearty dose of hot fudge too. She dives in and says with enthusiasm, “This is the best sundae I ever ate!” Her Mom giggles a bit and replies with a smile, “That’s because it’s the only hot fudge sundae you’ve ever eaten!”
When we’re kids, enthusiasm comes easily to us. That’s in part because every experience is new. We don’t have anything to compare it to, which keeps us free from the “e” word that can spoil even a good day. Expectations.
Expectations keep our focus on what should be and distract us from what really is.
With that narrowed vision, we miss a lot of the sweetness in life. It seems odd but renewal can come from actually lowering our expectations. That might like we’re slacking off but the odds are we’re simply being more realistic.
Changing our expectations isn’t easy to do. They can become like walls we hide behind and lowering them really does feel like letting our guard down. As Gretchen Ruben says in The Happiness Project:
Enthusiasm is a form of social courage….Giving positive reviews requires humility.
It’s much easier to take a lofty stance where nothing is ever quite good enough. We keep ourselves safe that way, right? But the price is that we miss out on so much joy. We endure life rather than truly experiencing it.
Our expectations are, really, just our opinions about how things should be. Only God gets to truly say how things go. And we can trust Him to make things work out. It’s not our job to make the world perfect. Whew! Doesn’t that feel like a weight off your shoulders?
So let’s enjoy what’s in front of us–eat that hot fudge sundae like it’s the only one we’ve ever had. We might even hand someone else a spoon and let them dig in with us.
Yes, life is hard. No doubt about it.
But it can also be unexectedly sweet.
What’s one little thing that made you smile today?
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