“God has no expectations.” These were the words I heard in the confessional last night, and I was surprised by them. God has no expectations. Doesn’t he have plans for me to be all these great things for the glory of his kingdom? I think the priest could tell I was a little confused, so he went on to explain to me that God has no expectations for me except for me to be the person he has created me to be. As mothers, we all place unhealthy expectations on ourselves about the kind of life we are supposed to be making for our families. We compare and analyze whether we are living up to those lofty goals on a daily basis. Often, we do this subconsciously.
For example, as we run down our Facebook page, we compare ourselves to the other moms around us―as we scroll past pictures of their beautifully prepared organic dinners and their children all sitting together on the couch reading books instead of fighting over whose turn it is to pick a TV show. I feel as though I have failed today because I made my kids peanut butter and jelly for dinner a third night in a row or because I did not have a chance to make it to daily Mass. In moments like this, humility is the place to turn. All God wanted of me this day was to serve him to the best of my ability and to live my life as me. The more I come to know myself through God’s eyes, the more I come to understand God’s love for me because he is my creator.
The priest concluded confession with telling me to turn to the Magnificat prayer for my penance. I learned a great deal by meditating on this beautiful prayer of Our Lady. The first thing Mary does in this prayer is acknowledge her lowliness and humble herself in front of our Lord. Because of her willingness to humble herself before God, he can raise her up so that she will be blessed by other generations. The prayer is all about what God has done and not what Mary did; she recognizes that without him she cannot do anything. Nothing is possible without our Lord, and if we were just willing to humble ourselves more before him, imagine the great things he could do in our lives. Until we stop placing expectations on ourselves and just try to know ourselves better in his sight, we will never know what he is capable of doing with us. I’m excited just to think about that!