As we go through life, we have expectations forced on us daily. As students, we have expectations set by teachers, classmates, and group members. At work, our expectations come from our bosses, coworkers, and supervisors. Not to mention all the expectations that are set by family members, friends, and roommates. AND, as if we didn’t have enough people setting standards for us, we still feel the need to put expectations on ourselves. We get so consumed with trying to fulfill this image of how people expect us to live, speak, and act that we lose sight of the image that really matters; the image of Christ. Genesis 1:27 says, “God created man in his own image.” We were created in the image of God himself. How cool is that?? What silly humans we are to think that any image that people of this earth expect us to live up to could be better than the image of God himself. Constantly being bombarded with “I need you act this way” or “You need to chose this thing over that thing,” etc. becomes nothing more than an overwhelming game of “how can I please everyone?” Our lives become filled with anxiety about how to make everyone happy, fear that we might disappoint someone because we didn’t live up to their standards, and this constant feeling of being judged by those around us. Other’s (sometimes unrealistic) standards for our lives soon become the standards we set for ourselves as an act to please the people around us.
"But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me." 1 Corinthians 4: 1-4
Paul makes it clear that the only expectations that he has for his life are those set by the Lord because, ultimately, His judgment is the only one that matters. So the judgment you may feel from your parents about certain life choices, from your friends about the way you act in some situation, your advisor about your career choice, or from complete strangers, none of that matters. But we continually take those judgments to heart and are so hard on ourselves. Paul says that he doesn’t care if any human judges him and doesn’t even judge himself. How many of us can say that?
So first of all, take a minute to remember whose image you were created in. You were made in the image Christ Jesus, our perfect and Holy Creator himself. What could be better than being created in the image of perfection? Nothing! That’s what. So stop allowing the world to define what your image is based on it’s expectations of you. Jesus alone defines who you are. We have so much freedom from the world’s expectations for our lives! Second of all, stop striving to live up to the expectations that others have set for you. You are never going to please everyone and someone will always be left feeling disappointed. Instead, turn to Jesus and ask Him, “What are your exceptions for me?”