Have you ever thought things were going to go one way and they ended up another? For those of you who need a laugh, I wanted to share this picture:
The title: “Nightmare at Salon SoVain.” It was indeed a nightmare! I didn’t intend to bring John and Anna on this long-awaited hair appointment, but my sitter cancelled and little John faked sick, something he has done a handful of times since getting a train table for Christmas. So, there we were. All three of us in a tiny, fancy space.
At one point, John was pressing his tongue on the fragile, clean mirror while Anna was bouncing up and down on my lap screeching. I wanted to hide under my cape. Then, when I went to get shampooed, Anna crawled up on my chest and stuck her fingers in the water. As I wrestled her down, John had a meltdown because his movie ended and he wondered where his mommy went. He had to be escorted back by another stylist, and there I was with both children on top of my chest during the shampoo. I held them and looked around and thought, “this just doesn’t fit.”
My expectations for what the salon should be and the reality of my experience collided in two very different pictures. I had a clear image for how this was going to go, and this was not it. And, as I held tightly onto my expectations for the day, they were making me crazy and literally wanting to pull my hair out! So I had a choice to make; keep fighting for them or let them go. I gave up the fight, stepped the reality of the day and gave myself grace to take a nap after the salon.
As a mom of three young kids, my days rarely go as planned. And I often find myself in this battle with the formidable opponent of expectations. Ones I put on myself and ones I (probably falsely) believe others put on me.
There are expectations for how much I can do in a day, how many people I can serve outside my home, how fast I can run after having three kids, how my house should look, how a “good mom” should parent her children, how domestic I should be, how quickly I can cultivate friendships in this stage of life, the list goes on. And in all of these, my expectations and reality paint two different pictures. When I insist on the first, I miss the real life in the other.
Expectations have a way of inviting the intruders of entitlement and comparison into the territory of thanksgiving and joy that has been won for us. When we hold onto them, they put an ugly frame around the gift of the present. They push away the honesty that ushers in grace. Expectations of who and how we should be lead us to pretend…pretend with God, others and ourselves. And this pretending blinds us to the grace that’s available to us in the present.
Expectations can be a prison and I’m learning to break free of them! Rather than holding onto them tightly, I am learning to hold tightly onto grace. Because expectations are about striving, and grace is about surrender. Expectations say “I’ll be enough when,” but grace says “I’m enough in Him.” Expectations are often rooted in fear, but grace is always rooted in love.
Expectations see “imperfection.” Grace sees “I’m perfection.”
Expectations come from the world, but grace comes from God. And He is teaching me how to freely embrace my messy life as it is. Rather than strive to change it, I am inviting grace in to change me. And from that scandalous grace in the midst of chaos and unmet expectations comes a peace that surpasses even the quietest salon experience.