One joy stealer is placing expectations higher on yourself than what God is asking. Years ago, I remember the frustration and pain of that. When I was overwhelmed or uncertain about what to do, I thought that working harder, doing more, trying to fix it on my own — surely that is what I was supposed to do.

Except it didn’t work. Or maybe it did, but at the end of it the “thing” was done but so was I.

Another temptation is to simply hide. Isolate. Shut down. We feel like it’s so big that we’ve somehow failed, so we don’t even try.

Can I share something?

God’s expectations are different than yours.

Imagine Jesus with the disciples. They fumbled. They asked a lot of questions. Yet Jesus knew them. He called them for a reason. He was patient as they awkwardly figured it out. They grew because they walked closely with Jesus. He showed them what to do.

Why would he be any different with you?

You are stronger than you know, but your strength isn’t all you need

In this season that is so unfamiliar, it makes sense that we don’t have all the answers. That may seem like a weak place to be, but it’s a place of dependence on Him. You are strong, and that’s beautiful, but your strength isn’t all you need. Draw a little closer to him. Carve out a sweet spot in your hectic day (maybe 5 minutes alone in a car) where you can tell him how you feel. Don’t keep going. Keep doing. Keep juggling all those balls, without asking for his presence.

Because we need it. We need him. We need all the good things that walking with him bring to our lives, our homes, those anxious feelings.

So, let’s get practical.

To live free when you feel overwhelmed, be honest about your expectations.

  • Are they from God?
  • Are they practical?
  • Are they helpful?

If the answer to any of these questions is a solid no, then see yourself sitting with Jesus. Ask him to show you how to sort through expectations placed on you that have nothing to do with his. Hand them over, one by one.


Resources and a free gift for you

  • My new book, JoyKeeper: 6 Truths that Change Everything You Thought You Knew About Joy releases in a few days. If you pre-order, I’d love to give you a bonus gift — a custom-designed JoyKeeper Bible Journaling Kit. It was designed by Sweet to the Soul just for readers of JoyKeeper.

Simply pre-order the book and share that info at You’ll receive your free gift immediately! You can also download a free chapter of JoyKeeper at this same site. 

  • More Than Small Talk #podcast Episode #85 – Over. . . stimulated. Tune in to this episode where Holley, Jennifer, and I discuss what it looks like to be overstimulated, and what to do when we can’t do it anymore.