Monday, January 19, 2009

Sabotaging Relationships with Expectations

     As I sat on my daughter’s bed listening I was struck with the simplicity of it all, yet the complexity of living it.  The only place we can receive our value is from God, period.  There is no other place.

     We just don’t get that.  Therefore, longing for approval and value we go seeking.    Every one of us longs to have something about us that is valuable.  But not many of us know where to find it.

     I didn’t have a clue what God thought about me.  All I had was my perceptions.  I didn’t believe I was wanted, or worth loving.  Would anyone choose to love me?  I latched onto relationships hoping I would find the answer.

      I remember counseling with some mentors 18 years ago.  One of them looked at me and said “what is it that David isn’t doing that he needs to do to make you feel loved?”  My response was “I don’t know, but whatever it is, he’s not doing it.”  I wanted my husband to destroy the lies I believed.  I wanted him to prove my value.

     The more I longed for it, the more I put unrealistic expectations on him.  Expectations became resentments that sabotaged our relationship.    I shudder to think of the damage I’ve done to my marriage through the years.  How much failure have I spoken to my husband?  It hurts to even consider it.  No matter what my husband did or did not do, he could never prove my value, or fill my need for love, therefore his efforts failed.  They weren't meant to succeed.


      My expectations through the years have weighed him down, encumbering him.  No matter how much he has loved I’ve said in my silent expectations,  “it’s not enough, do more.”  I have grabbed hold of David to rescue me and in the process I have almost drowned him.

       In the the movie, "The Guardian", Kevin Costner is a Coast Guard rescue swimmer.  In the opening scene of the movie, he’s on an assignment to rescue a husband and wife whose boat has capsized.  He goes after the wife first. The husband becomes overwhelmed and begins to grab hold of her, causing problems for her rescue.  The husband ends up getting taken up to the helicopter first.

      While he is getting settled in, a wave sweeps over his wife taking her under water. By the time the CG swimmer gets to her she’s stopped breathing.  He gets her into the copter, gives her mouth to mouth and she revives.   Her husband’s actions almost killed her.

      I see myself in the husband.  As I looked to David to rescue me, I not only weighed him down, but I endangered his rescue.   No matter how much he did for me there was something that I still needed that he couldn’t give me.  He continued to be plagued with the lies he has fought all his life, “I am a failure.”  No matter how much he tried to love me as I needed.  He failed.

      We endanger people when we look to them to meet our needs.  It’s not how it was supposed to work.  We were never meant to get love and value from them.  We were made for God.  Others were meant to display the love of God to us, not give it to us.  God gives us love.

     No one but God loves in the way we need.  He IS Love.  There is no person on this earth who can give my heart what it needs.  Only God can silence the lies I have believed with His truth.    Until I embrace that, I will grab hold of everyone around me to “save me” from my own insecurities.

     Insecurities are lies that still hold me captive.   The truth is if I know I am loved and see the value bestowed on me by the Creator of the Universe there is no need to be insecure.  He secures me in Him.  That is enough.     

      His amazing grace covers me and all the mistakes I have made in my relationships.  His love fills me in such a way that I am undone.  It is a fierce love that leaves me speechless.  Now I can let go of David.  He can be in his rightful place.

      My Rescuer has been there all along, waiting for me to let go.  His arms of love  gather me up and take me to that quiet place where He whispers to me how deeply, and intimately I loved.  Once I was blind, but now I see.  I have found my Rescuer but better yet,  He has found ME.

©copyrighted:  2009 Julie L. Todd


LisaShaw said... Reply to comment

This is powerfully transparent and bless your heart for sharing. You said it all when you said,

" No one but God loves in the way we need. He IS Love. There is no person on this earth who can give my heart what it needs. Only God can silence the lies I have believed with His truth. Until I embrace that, I will grab hold of everyone around me to “save me” from my own insecurities."

Lana said... Reply to comment

What a beautiful illustration of love replacing desperate need. This gives me much to think about. Thank you for your openness and for humility in sharing this part of your heart. Love you....

Stonefox (otherwise known as Heidi) said... Reply to comment

Such truth here, Julie! If only we could see ourselves as He does, then we wouldn't be so quick to seek other's approval. It takes diligence, though, and faith, to change our thinking and perceptions about ourselves.

Great post.

Desiree said... Reply to comment

You are speaking my language. I have spent the past week in the wallow of insecurity brought on by circumstances. My "self talk" was so much louder than God's voice or my husbands. I began seeing the Light today after finally "hearing"
that my purpose isn't defined by my circumstances but by the Blood of my Savoir and His eternal purposes. I have been following your blog now for a few months. May God bless you as you fufill your God purpose!

karin said... Reply to comment

Very interesting topic! I really appreciate the depth of your sharing. We've all got a story to tell, haven't we! Someone once said to me that they were so sorry that they didn't meet my expectations. All these years I have never understood that ---- and I still honestly don't know what that means and what expectations this person imagined that I had that were not met. Somehow I think that the real truth will never be told. We each have our own deep thoughts and imaginations.

Over the years I have learned to have great expectations of my Heavenly Father - He keeps His promises; He loves perfectly; He meets all my needs!

Thanks again for the honest way you have expressed everything. God bless you. He is definitely using you to minister to others in a powerful way!

Gretchen said... Reply to comment

Julie, once again, so eloquently expressed, and SO TRUE!

I have almost ruined my marriage and other friendships when I have looked to others to fulfill the God-sized hole in my heart.

Thank you, dear friend.

Sharon said... Reply to comment

This is a wonderful post, so well written, I felt your heart as you wrote this as well. Only God can fill my heart with what I need, no person, no objects. I will ponder this for the day.
Be Blessed my sister

Nancy said... Reply to comment

What a pleasure to find your blog and what a wonderful post. Great wisdom you shared. Thanks!

Amy said... Reply to comment


Every word you have written in this post is TRUTH.

May the Lord continue to pour out His AMAZING love into your life, and bless you ABUNDANTLY!

I love you, my sister in Christ!


Liz said... Reply to comment

I think we endanger ourselves when we look to others to meet our needs.
Why do you think so many women end up in abusive relationships, unable to break the cycle of violence against themselves and their children.
Because they're looking at it all wrong. They're looking at their man to be their savior. Maybe not this man, but the next.
Wrong answer. Big mistake.
Your words say it loud and clear.

Laura said... Reply to comment

Hello, my sweet friend! I love this post, and can so relate. When I look back, I am amazed at how God has so lovingly and patiently taught me what a healthy relationship is. I never knew. I have never watched the Guardian, but am familiar with it. Sounds like a powerful scene.

I am so grateful for His healing touch. You remind me of this, friend.

Jo Princess Warrior said... Reply to comment

Your wisdom is so simple and amazing. xo

ktwalden said... Reply to comment

This is truly a beautiful post and so well worded that you get right to the heart of the matter! I especially loved "Others were meant to display the love of God to us, not give it to us. God gives us love." Thank you for the reminder that even though people may disappoint and fail us, God never will.

Amy said... Reply to comment

What a beautiful post. I really needed this today. God bless you for your openness. I am in a situtation right now where running to God is the only option. I realize how much I need him alone in the storms of life. He has been my constant friend and guide. I am so glad I dropped by here. I am blessed every time. Blessings to you.

Lelia Chealey said... Reply to comment

Oh wow Julie, this is a really incredible post and you know me...I'm not just saying that! You don't even know how I needed to read that at this very moment.

We endanger people when we look to them to meet our needs.

love ya,

Gail W. said... Reply to comment

"I don't know but whatever it is, he's not doing it." That's an honest answer that rang all kinds of bells for me. I spent many years looking to a husband to undo the hurt done in my life. He passed away suddenly two years ago, but through the mighty grace of God, I saw my error before then and had made my amends to him. I am certain you speak a great truth when you say, "We endanger people when we look to them to meet our needs." Thanks for sharing your story.

Tiffany Stuart said... Reply to comment

Well, again, you've done it. I believe every bit of this truth. I've lived a parallel life in my marriage. Oh, how I've hurt Derek. I too have found I cannot have expectations and feel loved. When I do, I lose the free gift of love.

And you are so right on, God is our RESCUER and HE has been their all along. This movie spoke to me too deeply about the love of God.

We've talked about this truth and movie together. How freeing and refreshing to read this on your blog.

I believe, Lord, help me with my unbelief. Take the lies out to sea and rescue me with waves of Your amazing love. Ocean size love, wash over me. More of you. Less expectation from others. Less lies.

Bring on the waves, Jesus. Wash over us. Fill our hearts with truth!!

Okay, I'm getting excited because you continue to land with words of my heart. Passion for God's love. Finding ourselves in Him. Living in that secret place. His arms.

Love you,

Holli said... Reply to comment

Thank you for sharing your heart so openely. I know that as I have grown in the Lord and now begun to counsil young girls I have learned and try to share with them that we all want to be chosen and treasured. We think that means from a husband, but really that cherished feeling we are longing for comes from Our Savior. He chose me, He treasures me, He cherishs me. The more I grasp that, the more His love can move through me to others who need to experience that Love.