I caught a contradiction in my thinking the other day. So my top Love Language is “Acts of Service.” My particular variation of this aspect of the fab five is simply showing up. I don’t feel like I particularly need people to do things for me, but I have learned that people showing up in some capacity speaks volumes to me. Sal could care less, he is all about “Quality Time,” ranked #4 on my list. 🤷🏻♀️
As I continue to learn about myself, I can think back on so so many times that I have been hurt, frustrated or let down because someone did not show up. It’s amplified when they said they would, or for whatever reason, I have this expectation that they should show up. Now I am just as good at bailing or skipping out as the next person. I know things happen and I know what it feels like to just not want to do something. Just because this is how I am wired to receive love, does not mean I apply it perfectly, it just means it’s what I notice, or what, even when I don’t notice, communicates something to me. And this thing, this “showing-up-matters” thing pops up in nearly every angle of my life – friendships, God stuff, church stuff (intentional separation there), and absolutely in my work life. There are these rules I have in my head of how people should “show-up.” They aren’t fair rules. They are old-school rules, things that I’m not even sure where I learned them from, but they are ingrained in how I think life should look. I would wager that you have your own set of “rules,” whether you realize it or not. There is a separation between my natural reflex with these rules and my logical side. To be honest, my “rules,” cause way more needless drama than not, and I kinda even don’t like my rules.
This contradiction I mentioned was a recommended violation of my own rules. I was talking with a friend that has recently stepped into a new leadership rule. She was showing up for all the things. And a career mentor told her, “You can’t keep that pace and lead at this level. You have to delegate and not try to do everything. You can’t be at everything.” In the midst of my various amens to that thought, I caught myself…Wasn’t I just frustrated the other day by someone not showing up for something? How can I tell my friend she “can’t show up” while demanding other people show up when I want.
When I ask myself, “Why are you so bothered they didn’t show up?” and my response is, “Cause they just should.” Where is that coming from? Where did I get these “rules?” Is it a rule for me that I’m insisting others adopt?
The other day my mentor shared with me a thought, “Unmet expectations have the potential to breed bitterness.” Expectations can come wrapped in two types of packaging, hope or demands. One, I picture with an open hand. The other, I envision as a closed fist ready to “drop the expectation hammer.” One is a gift, the other is a weighty burden. I’m not sure expectations are avoidable. I think we all have our “rules” of some type, but some of us are more aware of our “rules” than others. Still, when people don’t play by our rules, as is typically the case, we have to decide how we are going to respond.
What are your “rules” for how people should behave?
When have your “rules” caused conflict in your friendships or workplace?
Have you given much thought to your “rules?” How did they get written?How are you about clearly communicating them? Is there room for grace in your rules?
And most importantly, how big is the gap between your rules and Jesus’ simplified hope for each of us?