Happy Thursday night! It’s our sixth installment of the Sisterhood Series: disappointment and expectations.
As Catholic women, we know that when we are in sisterhood with each other, we help one another reach in virtue, support each other in our hard times, and celebrate the small victories. Navigating how to have expectations with our friends, family, and relationships in general is tricky and often ends in disappointment or a sizzling out of the friendship.
Who has felt sisterhood sabotaged by expectations that went unmet? Me! Me!
I had a friend when I first had kids. She had older kids and was my only mom-friend. It was a relationship I thought would go on and go deeper and deeper. I thought we’d be Godparents to each other’s kids, double date to infinity, and maybe our kids would marry each other and we’d be in-laws. Looking back, I put a ton of expectations on the friendship–all my eggs were in this basket. You can guess what happened. Yes, over time she pulled away and I didn’t understand why. But now I do.
My expectation, my hope was to cling to her. And I was devastated and needed to talk . . . ahem . . . “process” . . . a lot with my husband about what could have happened.
Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say about hope (section 2090):
“Hope is the confident expectation of divine blessing and the beatific vision of God.”
My hope wasn’t in God. My expectations weren’t that God would meet my needs, send me friends, help me see how I needed to grow so I could be a good friend and keep them. Nope. I thought it was all in my control. I fell into the trap of thinking my expectations would be my reality. Maybe you have, too.
Disappointment is painful when someone doesn’t text you back, include you in their get together that’s well-documented on social media, or put the effort in to maintain a friendship. That pain is real and it can affect our interest in putting ourselves out there again (and again and again).
God wants us to accept the gift of hope He’s infused in us at Baptism. Loosen your grip and hope alongside me? (While being realistic with our expectations?)
Let’s practice today, sisters.
First Step: Repeat after me: our hope is in the Lord, not our relationships, for ultimate satisfaction.
Second Step: Examine your expectations of your sister-in-Christ. Are they realistic? Do you find yourself regularly disappointed? What adjustments can you make?
Third Step: Take your disappointments to God in prayer. Pour out your heart before Him in Adoration or at Mass or just in the shower. He’s listening.
Fourth Step: If someone in your life makes a good effort regularly in your relationship, take some mental notes. What do you have to learn about how they moderate their expectations?
Fifth Step: Give yourself permission to pause friendships that are regularly disappointing. God may be trying to help you figure out something that’s not healthy there.
Sixth Step: Tune into some deep meditation time with music like this to try to loosen your grip on your expectations and place your hoping heart in God’s trustful hands.
Never alone on this journey, sisters! We are always in this together. A number of you have reached out to say you’re going over the sisterhood series with a group of friends. We are working to make them all available after next week’s last installment in a free downloadable form. Any feedback is always so appreciated.