Choosing How to Respond to Unrealistic Expectations

As we grow and develop as leaders, we’ve looked at understanding Whose we are, discerning who we are made to be,  and filling our minds with the right thoughts. Even knowing all of that, I sometimes forget, and give in to feelings of being overwhelmed or putting unrealistic expectations on myself. When that happens I beat myself up. Can you relate?

Unrealistic Expectations

My downward spiral usually starts with unrealistic expectations. If I am honest, most of the unrealistic expectations I have for myself are just in my head. For example, I typically expect that I can do things as quickly and easily as my friends without disabilities. This is rarely the case. I am at least 50–100% slower, in my mind, on many things. My wife often reminds me she and others without visible disabilities may not be as fast and together as I perceive them to be.  Once I  voice my unrealistic expectations , they have less “control” over me.

Overwhelmed By Life

Life rarely comes at us in small, bite-sized doses. In a perfect world, I could control project deadlines and client expectations. In fact, there are books and seminars advising how to do this. But sometimes the advice seems less doable when real life hits (a world that is not perfect).  

It is true with relationships too. Visits from family members rarely happen on our schedule. Feeling overwhelmed is part of life. When I voice out loud or in writing the things that are overwhelming me, they become less daunting.

Taking It Out on Me

When I don’t  deal with unrealistic expectations, or acknowledge feelings of being overwhelmed, it may  lead to beating myself up emotionally.  It begins a downward spiral. As I mentioned above, I take longer to do most things than I think I should. When I follow this thought pattern, I beat myself up, instead of accepting this as part of how God created me and allowing myself the time I need. In essence, I am telling God He did not create me right.

Recovery

Here’s the thing. When I beat myself up, I waste the energy I could have used on the project I need to get done. But before I can proceed with the project, I have to recover from the wounds I created by beating myself up. The lesson here is beating myself up does nothing of value.

If I am not careful,  beating myself up for beating myself up,  can become a never-ending cycle. Because I am not perfect, and neither are you, we’re all going to slip and fall.  The question then becomes–how quickly can we recover from the beating we give ourselves?

For me, recovering usually includes (at least) three parts.

1.  I need to voice my feelings to someone I trust and listen to their feedback to determine if I am being realistic or not. One counselor even told me I should never do self-reflection alone. My opinion of myself can be jaded.

2.  I need to identify the lie I am listening to and confess this to God.

3.  I need to remind myself of God’s truth about me. I shared some about this in an earlier post.

To help me keep my focus where it needs to be, I’ve put together a list of verses that remind me God has a plan and purpose for me, and He sees me.  If you’d like to receive a copy of the list, contact me at jerry@luke14exchange.org. I’m also posting one of these verses each day on Facebook and Twitter. Soon I’ll be sending them out daily by text. If you’d like to be on that list, send your number to me at jerry@luke14exchange.org.

Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

A Few More Questions from Jerry

Hi friends, It’s the question guy back! In my last post, I shared questions for you to think about in determining what you believe God is calling you to do.  I know life has been different for the last couple of months, but I hope you had some time to ponder those questions.

This month I have more questions to share with you.  In The Fifteen Invaluable Laws of Personal Growth, John Maxwell suggests asking one’s self these questions:

  • What would you like to do?  God wants us to enjoy the way He has created us.  His calling on your life is likely related in some way to the passions He’s given you.
  • What talents, skills, and opportunities do you possess?
  • What are your motives for what you want to do?  If what you want to do doesn’t glorify God or serve others, it may not be part of His plan for you.
  • Whose advice can you get to help you along the way?  Who believes in you?  Who points out what you do well?  Who challenges you?  Who holds you accountable? Who in your sphere of influence is doing something similar to what you want to do?
  • What price are you willing to pay?  What obstacles stand in your way?  What is your plan for overcoming those obstacles?

            Between my last post and this post you might be thinking, “You’re asking a lot of questions.”  You’re right!  Here’s the deal, the more you look at your calling from as many different directions as possible, the more information you will have to figure it out.  In other words, the more questions the better.  Here’s one more question, which question(s) from the last post and this one proved most beneficial?

            John Maxwell’s book The Fifteen Invaluable Laws of Personal Growth is excellent.  If you’re looking for a book on leadership and personal development, you definitely want to pick it up.  If you decide to listen to it or read it, let me know what you think.

How to Discover Your Unique Gifts and Calling

This is the fifth in a series by our co-founder Jerry Borton. To read the previous posts, click the month. February, January, DecemberNovemberOctober.

     What do you want to be when you grow up? This simple question gives permission to ignite a dream.  Could it really be that easy?  Very few of us work today in the career we first dreamed of as a child.   But it’s a good place to begin.  I read a study that children who grow up with disabilities are not asked that question until much later in life than typical kids.  Let’s change that factor and include all kids in setting the stage for the future.

     One of my earliest aspirations was to be a professional baseball player.  I grew up with cerebral palsy and have used a wheelchair for most of my life.  Eventually, I realized a career as a professional baseball player wasn’t going to happen; but I still liked being around the game.  I thought about being a baseball coach or sportswriter.  While I was in high school, I coached Little League baseball and wrote sports for my local newspaper.  In the process, I discovered I liked working with kids. 

I went to college to become a youth pastor.  I soon realized there weren’t a lot of churches ready to hire someone in a wheelchair as a pastor.  So, I started a ministry to help churches reach out to people with disabilities.  This eventually led to what I do now; helping people and families affected by disability to unleash their God-given potential.

And it all started with wanting to become a professional baseball player.  I believe the dream morphed because people did not tell me I couldn’t but let me explore options.

     I am convinced that we are wired to do things that bring us joy and serve others.  The following questions can help you think about what brings you joy and what you can do to meet the needs of others.  You do not need to answer them all at once.  This process works best when given time.

     Is there a career or job that you think you’d enjoy?  Maybe it’s a career that runs in your family, like law enforcement, a schoolteacher, a college professor or a professional athlete.  How about the military?  Whatever it is, name it.  There’s power in identification.  Voicing it makes it real and begins the adventure.

     Some people may use the information they glean from this activity to engage in a volunteer opportunity, while others may seek a paying job, career, or higher education.  For these questions, we use the words job, work, activity, employment, or calling to include all of these options.

     Some of these questions may seem repetitive.  The idea is to look from as many perspectives as possible.  People with disabilities have the same right to risk, fail, or succeed as anyone else. 

  • Describe a time in life when you felt accomplished, successful, or delighted.  What specific activity or experience created that feeling?
  • If you could set up your ideal work, describe what it would be like every day.  Give as much detail as you can.
  • What would an average day be like?
  • When would you get up?
  • Can you do this job or activity from home, or would you need to go to an office or other location?
  • If you have to go to another location how would you get there?  Do you drive?  Can you take a bus?  Would you need a driver?
  • If you got this job, what do you think a typical day would be like?
  • What would your supervisor be like?
  • Who are the people you’d be working with?  What are they doing?
  • Where can you learn more about this job?  Consider books, job fairs, magazine articles, podcasts, TV shows, YouTube videos, and personal contacts.
  • Who do you know who does this job?  Have you spoken to them?  Can you shadow them for a day, an hour?
  • What is it about this job that appeals to you?
  • What parts of this job do you think you could do extremely well?  Why?
  • What skills will you need to do this job?
  • Where could you get these skills?  Technical school, college, apprenticeship, on-the-job training?
  • Have you talked with your family and friends who know you well about this job?  How do they respond?  Do they encourage you or are they apprehensive?  What do they suggest you do next?
  • Who are the people others suggest you talk to?
  • Is there one part of this job or activity that excites you the most?  What other jobs or activities could offer that same joy or satisfaction?
  • What is one step you can take now to move toward this goal?

Another way some people learn more about themselves and their interests is to take a personality profile. We recommend the DISC profile and the CliftonStrengths 34 (formerly StrengthsFinders).  You can take either profile through Luke 14 Exchange, Inc and we can help you process the results.

If you’d like to talk with someone about these questions or profiles, please reach out to us. We’d love to hear about the dreams God is igniting in you.

I Want to Hear You, God!

This is the fourth in a series by our co-founder Jerry Borton. To read the previous posts, click the month. December, November, October.

Last month I shared the need to change the messages we allow to play in our minds. Our minds can get so crowded with input, even if we want to listen to “God’s tapes” we may struggle to hear them. So how do we make God’s truth louder?

First, if you haven’t already given your life to Jesus, that is where to begin. If you are unclear what it means to give your life to Jesus, please email me at Jerry@Luke14Exchange.org. I’d love to explain it to you.

Second, spend time daily reading God’s Word. Some days you may read several chapters, other times just a verse or two. You don’t have to turn the pages of a Bible to do that. I use YouVersion, it’s available online or as an app on your smartphone.

Set time aside each day to read the Bible. Find a way to get into God’s Word daily and get God’s Word into you. It may be beneficial to get up a little earlier, or go to bed a little later, or watch a little less TV. If your day is packed, look for space in your daily routine. I listen to the Bible as I get dressed each morning.  Experiment with what works best for you. And, remember there’s grace.

Third, memorize Scripture. Why not start with the passages we talked about last month.  You can write out the verses on index cards and place them where you will see them throughout the day.  You can record the Scripture and play them back on your smartphone.   Remember it is helpful to include the Bible reference (book name, chapter, and verse) when you are memorizing. It is also beneficial to find a partner who wants to memorize Scripture and share accountability.

Fourth, find a Bible-believing church, or a local Bible study to join. If you are new to the faith, ask a few friends where they attend. Ask them about accessible entrances and bathrooms if needed. You can also reach out to us at Luke 14 Exchange for more assistance.

Finally, monitor your self-talk.  For the next week, notice what you say to yourself.  When you catch yourself saying something derogatory, remind yourself of the truths in the verses you are memorizing or recently read.  If you can’t say something nice about yourself- why should others?  More importantly, God created you, adores you and has a good plan for your life. As the saying goes, “God don’t make no junk.” Don’t condemn or speak poorly of the handiwork of God.

“God has never looked into your mirror or mine and wished he saw something else.”  Bob Goff