i wonder how much labor and wasted time i have put and do put into this cruel little word. i even feel grief when i say it out loud.
lady gaga is an artist i never liked. her videos seemed to be nothing but works of visual overload from a young girl who has no clue who she is. she was annoying to say the least and conveyed a sense of desperation with every new song and music video she churned out. that is, until i let myself give her a chance and watched a few interviews on her.
in brief, i found her to be very down to earth and almost ADHD in a sense. she has little regard of what people think about her. and i like it. she is very direct with her thoughts and loving with her beliefs. from what i gathered, her vision is to help people celebrate what they hate most about themselves.
oh what a world this would be if we all ventured into such a flip.
however, i share my thoughts on her only to preface for what i want to say about expectations. i watched a performance of hers recently that, i believe, made a few jaws drop to say the least. it was her VMA performance last year of her song "Paparazzi". now, i could take this time to go into detail about how relevant the song is to the suffocating direction of our American culture, but maybe another blog. what got me after watching this performance, or should i say witnessing this performance, was her unanticipated and grotesque death in the end.
as i watched her bedazzled bloodied corps swing among those glorious stage lights, that bitch of a word, expectations, popped into my mind. and i thought to myself, "why did i just think that?!?" why would that word come to me so freely and fast? it was as if an old friend just stopped in to say hello. so familiar. so amiable. it sucked. and i didn't like it.
that's how expectations make me feel. murdered. and as i switched off the the TV, i was left in my comfortable warm-lite den, drinking my Sam Adams and eating my Nutella on wheat, and began to deliberate, for the first time, over what i had just realized about myself. as Brennan Manning says in his book The Ragamuffin Gospel, "something was radically wrong."
my sin is that i don't want anyone to think i don't have it all together. i'm pretty good at fooling myself and fooling others into believing that "i'm fine". and my issue doesn't stem from the expectations others put on me. for the most part i fool myself. i put such high expectations on my life that i deceive myself into thinking others hold their standard of me just as high. as if it's some sort of universal given that i should be a certain someone, dance at a certain level, create art at a certain pace, or have so much love in me to always have enough for a friend in need.
Donald Miller wrote once that if it weren't for God, we'd be more efficient. He says, "In the clarity of this morning, I’m thankful for sleep cycles that disrupt our progress, for children that stop your work and force you to keep someone you love alive, for the need to stop and eat, to stop and drink water, to stop and talk to friends. We buy billions of dollars in books that help us be more efficient, we praise the profit margin, and all the while, God is trying to slow us down, trying to remind us of what matters and what doesn’t, trying to stop our human progress, stop our creation of false Gods.
And he's right. Unless I slow down and connect with the Creator of All, i'll live in slavery to my expectations instead of His.
What a Freedom we are called to live in my friends.