i often feel that people limit themselves to the expectations of others. the idea of "taking the high road" or "being the better man" are good cliches, but not values that really strike a chord anymore. though they are easier said than done, as i was reminded by a friend last night, they are not impossible. that much i know for sure. as i've become a part of people's lives, of their stories, i've noticed a running theme: as much as people deny it, the expectations and approval of others drives each and every person's life. i know it's true for me, i know it's true for others. but that truth presents a choice: we can rise above those expectations, or we can hinder ourselves and settle into the person others believe us to be. therein lies the other truth: oftentimes others have given up on us, or have become so used to the person we are, that we are no longer self-motivated to become a "better man." we shortchange ourselves. we conform to the norm. we are who others dictate us to be. i've heard it often, time and time again..."well, that's what they expect." or we use it as an excuse...a thought process something like this, "well if that's who they believe i am, that's exactly who i'll be." if you've disappointed people enough, so much that they have almost zero expectations, then there's really no point in trying to be anything better is there?
yes. there is. that is a lame excuse, but one that society uses and abuses. since when do we let our shortcomings become us? since when do we allow others to hinder us, to tramp us down and limit everything we could become? and what does that say of you?
of course, as my mom always says, "we can't do it ourselves," and that's why we have One who can do it for us. i know, from experience (many experiences) that every time i try to "be a better person" in my own strength, i fail -- miserably. but when i let go, and when i surrender to His expectations instead of the hopeless eyes of others, and maybe even my own despair, i have placed myself in the best possible situation. honestly, i get so irritated when people gripe and complain, when people see themselves as a failure, and when they've given up because others have given up on them as well. it becomes a lame excuse to be the worst version of ourselves.
what happened to proving people wrong? where's that strength? that personal dignity? and since when do we sell ourselves to the opinion of others? what kind of person does that really make you?
"therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
1 cor 5:17