Habit #6. Adjust your expectations.
When I first began preaching, my expectations of people were way too high! I was constantly disappointed in others. My assumptions on the front end were skewed. For example, I thought that everyone who was connected in some way with our church was trying to live right. It wasn’t everyone’s personal weakness that was the surprise but that we were not even united in our intentions.
Meanwhile, my expectations of God were far too small. I didn’t really believe that he might do amazing things through prayer. I didn’t expect God to do anything in my life. Consequently, I lived with a strange set of expectations for both the church and for God.
I began to grapple with this and lowered my expectations of people so that anything that a person did that was good was an act of grace. Meanwhile, I began to raise my expectations of God, thanking him for the grace that I experienced in him whether I witnessed his power or not.
Habit #7. Pay attention to people.
This particular habit is so important. It is a gift we can give to one another that can add energy. Basically, you follow two practices:
- You attempt to catch people doing what is right.
- You ask about what is very important to another person.
Habit #8. Empty your mind regularly.
In David Allen’s book Getting Things Done, I have learned the importance of emptying one’s mind (or doing a “mind sweep”). Basically, one takes everything that is going on in the mind and lists it on paper.
In his workshop, one of the exercises involved writing everything we were thinking about. I thought, “This won’t take long, I am only thinking about a couple of things right now.” We took about ten minutes for this exercise. I began my list and could not believe all that I wrote down. I wrote everything from “Get the tire fixed” to “Got to call Steve on the way home.” Each time I wrote something down, I then seemed to recall one more thing that I had stored in my mind.
Allen believes if we do not regularly empty our minds, then stress is the result. You must have a system in place by which you can empty your mind and know that you will come back to the things you have written down and deal with them.
What habits would you add to this list?