We live most of our life by standards that we create ourselves or others create for us.
These expectations apply in many situations such as work, home and school. Many of us have trouble with setting these standards and dealing with them because we create unreasonable goals.
Whether we make them too high or put them too low, not having the right standards can cause turmoil in our lives with ourselves and our peers. That is why we must let our faith influence where we place our expectations. That way they can be reasonably met, and we'll save ourselves and others needless trouble.
Many of us may find it easy to set our expectations for ourselves impossibly high. Personally, I know I have made that mistake many times before. It always led me to disappointment because I did not perform as well as I thought I would.
For example, I was speaking to the congregation about the diocesan youth retreat, Search, during Mass one day. I did not prepare as well as I should have even though I knew almost everything about it. So, I stumbled on some words when I was talking, lost my train of thought a few times and I felt like it was not great overall. I was down on myself for the rest of the day because I did not live up to the high expectations I set for myself, despite everyone saying I did a good job. I let myself down, and I thought I messed up my only opportunity. This one time stands out so much because I immediately knew I expected too much of myself, so I put a lot more pressure on myself before I started to speak. Many of us will find ourselves in these situations more often than we would like, but there are remedies for it.
First, trust yourself and trust God. There will be few times in life when we put ourselves out of our range of capability. We are meant to do what we are doing if it is God’s will.
A good saying among Christians goes, “God does not call the equipped; he equips the called.” Keeping this in our hearts will show us that he has called us to do what we can, so we need to trust that we are going to accomplish what he has planned for us.
This does not mean that we will excel at it on our first try or never have troubles. With patience, we can carry out his will. The Holy Spirit is always by our side as well, so it helps tremendously to ask him to guide us.
With our faith, we will have confidence in our work. That confidence will help us make our goals for ourselves more reasonable, which helps us do our work better. But more than ourselves, we also must use our faith to keep our expectations for others reasonable.
We are human. Therefore, we are not perfect, yet sometimes we can make the mistake of expecting others to be perfect. It can harm our relationships and ability to depend on other people. We can avoid setting those expectations too high by being patient and knowing where our peers’ limits are. Now, there is a difference between doing something wrong and making a mistake, but we must be ready to give second chances. Using our faith, we gain more patience with people and understanding of their abilities. Many have good intentions, so they are worthy to rely on.
In the end, we have to do our best when we are completing a task, but we all must remind ourselves that we are human, and we sin. We cannot be perfect, but we can strive for it. So, if we live every day like it is the day that Jesus is returning, we will make it.
As it says in 2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you abound in every good work.”
Knowing God gives us the ability to combine our faith and our work, which will naturally help us in every way. With the power of our faith, we can set the right standards for ourselves and others and we can work well within our limits.
Noah Koch is an incoming freshman at the University of Arkansas. His home parish is Sacred Heart Church in Morrilton.
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