Freedom From Expectations

I’m a perfectionist. When I do something, I feel like I have to do it perfectly, otherwise I fail. And when I do “fail” at something, I beat myself up about it for days. I dwell on mistakes. It’s just how my mind works (anyone else?).

You can imagine the impact this has on my walk with the Lord. “Nope. God. I made a mistake. I am sorry. You probably hate me now. I’m a mistake. Way to go, Carrie.” I dwell on negatives rather than positives, failures rather than successes. Every mistake I make feels like the end of the world, every sin feels too big to be forgiven, and every disappointment feels incurable.

For some reason, we set ridiculous expectations for ourselves. The standard to have everything down perfectly. No sin, no mistakes. Just perfection. The standards are too many and too high. And when we don’t meet them, we declare ourselves failures.

In my women’s ministries class on Monday, my professor said this phrase: Freedom from expectations. And I immediately knew this is what I needed. Freedom. I need to let go of the silly standards I’ve set for myself and I needed to take hold of my freedom in Christ. When I mess up, it’s not the end of the world, it’s not going to define me for the rest of my life.

How beautiful is the thought that it’s not about my mistakes. It’s about Christ’s holiness.

Justification is such a churchy word, isn’t it? I usually hate churchy words, because they’re often misunderstood and used out of context and people who don’t understand it usually neglect to search for a good and true understanding. Justification can be defined as follows: making righteous in the sight of God.

In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”
Ephesians 3:12

You will make mistakes. I will make mistakes. We will make mistakes. But we get to approach Christ with freedom, with boldness, and with confidence because we are free from expectations. We are free from our expectations to have it all together.

Does this mean we can do whatever we want? No, definitely not. The Lord delights in an obedient heart. But it does give us the security then when we slip (yes, when. Not if.), we still have our sweet Jesus on our side.

I let God down daily. The other morning, I was journaling thoughts that were coming to my head as I was just quiet with the Lord, and I wrote to Him, “I will fail you today. I will fail you tomorrow. I will fail you next week, and even next year. But thank you for not failing me.” To be able to boldly speak that truth, to be able to rest in that, to be able to mess up and still have that promise is incredible to me.

Your worth is not in what you do. It is in the righteousness of Christ. You are free from expectations. 

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