Do you ever feel like you don’t measure up to someone else’s expectations? Your spouse? Your parents? Your employer? What about God’s expectations?
Until 2001, my father was a physical education instructor (gym teacher) in another district at the high school and junior high levels. I remember as a kid going to visit him at work (until I was in school myself) and tossing a basketball around with some of his students and such; I actually remember the smell of the gym, including the unique odors of the ball and the newly sealed floors. I bet you do, too.
What I also remember is years of attempts to take on various athletic activities and excelling at, well, none of them. Soccer (dad’s favorite), nope. Baseball, nope. Lacrosse, nope. Ice hockey, basketball, swimming, wrestling. Nope, nope, nope, and nope.
Golf, I was decent, but didn’t really excel. The nice thing about golf is, even at 40 years old, I still have the ability to play.
The thing is, I look back and saw sports as a way to get his attention – and, while he was “there” (pre-cell phones) I felt like I never measured up. I was a musician and academic, living a completely different life than what I thought he wanted for me to be doing. I think that happens and we may interpret messages that might not actually be communicated.
My sister, I quip on occasion, was the son my father never had. I feel like there is some legitimate truth to that. She excelled at her sports (gymnastics and then diving) and is following in Dad’s steps a bit as a teacher (elementary education). In fact, she lives two streets behind my parents’ house in the same neighborhood in which we were raised.
I don’t begrudge her that. In fact, there are times I wish Dad and I were closer.
A few years ago, he and Mom were in town visiting my family and he asked if he could take me out for a beer – neither of us drinks more than a case of beer annually, but my spidey-sense said yes.
He then proceeded to apologize (over two beers) to me for how I was treated (or not?) as a child and adolescent, no justification being made, just ownership for his part in it. And I forgave him.
The family situation isn’t all perfect, but we’ve got a better relationships through it.
All this to say that, while I don’t feel like I measure up to my earthly father, I’m not sure that’s a requirement on this side of glory. I measure up to Him and that’s all the difference in the world (and the next).
How might you not have measured up to someone else’s expectations? Perhaps you might want to consider forgiving someone else who presented some lofty expectations. Or perhaps the expectations weren’t communicated but risking the topic with the individual might be what your heart needs. What say you?