Friday, September 18, 2015

SAND IN MY SHOES - by Heidi McLaughlin

The feeling of being barefoot and feeling sand squish between my toes evokes giddiness and freedom. When I flirt with the ocean I am a child experiencing the joy of the occasional splash of gorgeous, turquoise sea water and the sun warming my cheeks. I am free to frolic, run, laugh and giggle. Being barefoot in the sand unleashes a brazen abandon that I find in no other place.

When I wear shoes I do not enjoy the same freedom. It is blatantly unrealistic of me to think that I can frolic in the sand and not expect to get sand in my shoes. Those irritating grains of sand eventually find a little open crevice and rub at me until I either take off my shoes or leave the beach. Annoying, hurtful and disappointing!

An unrealistic expectation is like an irritating grain of sand-a silent thief that robs us of freedom and joy. When people do not meet our expectations we get mad, feel hurt, rejected, disappointed and blame them for letting us down.  Here is a paradigm shift to reality.

Everything in this life is a created thing and has the potential to disappoint us.  It’s a harsh statement, but once we get it, it will unleash the same kind of freedom as running barefoot on the
beach.  I have found my greatest freedom in this life by identifying and learning to let go of unrealistic expectations. How do we do that? Realize that:
1.     It is not other people’s job to make us happy.
2.     Everyone sees the world through a different set of lenses.
3.     People orchestrate their lives to make them feel loved and comfortable in the way that has been modeled for them.
4.     We can never assume anything-always check the facts.
5.     God has made us all unique, and we cannot expect people to climb into our life’s journey and be like us.
6.     God is shaping each person’s character in a distinctive manner. It is not our job to shape other people’s characters.
7.      It is unrealistic to think that granite countertops, a flashy career, a perfect spouse, a face lift, fitting into skinny jeans, or a diamond ring will bring us lasting, and fulfilling joy.
8.     Everything in this life ends up in a box…one way or the other.
9.     We need to treasure what God has placed in our hands and receive it as a gift to be held loosely while we are on this earth.
10.  When we buy into unrealistic expectations we are setting ourselves up to be robbed of our freedom.

God is so kind and gracious to us. He tells us in John 8:31, 32 “You are truly my disciples if you keep obeying my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

What truth? It’s all right there in the bible-every word and story is a realistic expectation and promise to set us free from the hooks of this world. People and things were not put on this earth to give us freedom, only Christ can do that. Once we recognize and believe it, we will be empowered to make choices that will be as freeing as running near the ocean barefoot. No chance of gritty, annoying sand in our shoes.

Heidi McLaughlin lives in the beautiful vineyards of the Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia. She is married to Pastor Jack and they have a wonderful, eclectic blended family of 5 children and 9 grandchildren. When Heidi is not working, she loves to curl up with a great book, or golf and laugh with her husband and special friends. You can reach her at:


Peter Black said...

A lovely, lively post - thanks Heidi. And there's a lot of wisdom in your ten pointers. In recent times my feet have seldom enjoyed the barefoot tactile freedom of walking on sand, although I've experienced it many times (I wrote somewhat along this line a few years back). Hmm, the nostalgia's stirring, even now! :) ~~+~~

Lux G. said...

I love walking barefoot in the beach. It's an instant foot scrub.
These are wise and wonderful realizations/lessons. :)

Susan said...

Thank you, Heidi. What an excellent checklist you give us on unrealistic expectations!

Glynis said...

Well said, Heidi. I had to read your post twice so that I could breathe in that wonderful message. I love your list and thought #8 - Everything in this life ends up in a box. . .one way or the other made me laugh out loud (twice). How very true. What a waste of time worrying about foolish things. Thanks for imparting such wisdom here! Love it.

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