Expectations, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Should: When We Have Expectations


+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—SHOULD. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!


Heat rising from the bubbling stew steamed her almost as much as her sister’s lack of helping. Martha stirred the pot again.

Why wasn’t Mary in here helping her? They were supposed to prepare the meal so the men could listen to Jesus, right? So what right did her sister have to sit at the Master’s feet and leave Martha to do all the work?

She should be in here, helping with dishes, and chopping vegetables and helping with  . . . . anything would be nice.

“Master, my sister should be helping me with the food prep.”

She was a brazen one when expectations weren’t met.

“Martha,” His gentle voice chastened. “Your sister has chosen the better thing. It will not be denied her.”


How would you have felt hearing those words from the One you were trying to please?

Isn’t it interesting how often we can get some great idea in our head, and it really is a good idea. But when we twist it up into what we think it should look like? We choke the life out of the inspiration the Master gives.

I’ve been guilty of this many times. I begin some grand endeavor, and then I get upset when others don’t go along with my plan (I might be hanging my head at this admission).

God challenges me to give up my expectations of what others should be doing to come alongside me in the great plan. Instead, He’s teaching me to turn to Him.

God has this amazing way of re-aligning my perspective when I begin to get out of sync with His plan.

When I take over the good plans He has, I always, always end up frustrated, discouraged, defeated. And then, I have to come back before Him, after His gentle (usually) chastening, and confess that I took His plan and morphed it into my less-than-great plan.


Instead of being the striving “do-er,” I need to become more like Mary and just be.

Be at the feet of Jesus.

Be attentive to His words and promptings.

Be open to His working in my heart.

What about you? When has God had to redirect you as you carried out a plan? What is one thing God has taught you when you chose to sit at His feet?

Click to Tweet: When we’re trying to “do our plan”

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—Should


22 thoughts on “Should: When We Have Expectations”

  1. Oh, I get you! I have that Martha complex going on all too often. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being a helper and helping–only if it gets in the way of spending time with Jesus!


    1. Anita, I’m glad I’m not alone, though I’m sorry you, too, suffer from the Martha Complex. And yes, in this crazy-busy season of my life, time with Jesus is what refreshes and renews perspectives, right? I hope you have a nice balance of helping and being still this weekend. 🙂


  2. Great post, Jeanne. And so very true – when we try to take over God’s plan, we inevitably mess it up.

    One bit of redirection I have learned with stunning clarity is that I have no right to be angry with myself for not accomplishing goals…my physical situation makes just getting through a day, facing the bare minimum necessary tasks, an accomplishment in itself. There’s no room for anything else.

    Do you happen to know Kipling’s poem, “The Sons Of Martha”? If perchance not, may I take the liberty of offering it below?

    The Sons Of Martha – by Rudyard Kipling

    The Sons of Mary seldom bother, for they have inherited that good part;
    But the Sons of Martha favour their Mother of the careful soul and the troubled heart.
    And because she lost her temper once, and because she was rude to the Lord her Guest,
    Her Sons must wait upon Mary’s Sons, world without end, reprieve, or rest.

    It is their care in all the ages to take the buffet and cushion the shock.
    It is their care that the gear engages; it is their care that the switches lock.
    It is their care that the wheels run truly; it is their care to embark and entrain,
    Tally, transport, and deliver duly the Sons of Mary by land and main.

    They say to mountains “Be ye removèd.” They say to the lesser floods “Be dry.”
    Under their rods are the rocks reprovèd—they are not afraid of that which is high.
    Then do the hill-tops shake to the summit—then is the bed of the deep laid bare,
    That the Sons of Mary may overcome it, pleasantly sleeping and unaware.

    They finger Death at their gloves’ end where they piece and repiece the living wires.
    He rears against the gates they tend: they feed him hungry behind their fires.
    Early at dawn, ere men see clear, they stumble into his terrible stall,
    And hale him forth like a haltered steer, and goad and turn him till evenfall.

    To these from birth is Belief forbidden; from these till death is Relief afar.
    They are concerned with matters hidden—under the earthline their altars are—
    The secret fountains to follow up, waters withdrawn to restore to the mouth,
    And gather the floods as in a cup, and pour them again at a city’s drouth.

    They do not preach that their God will rouse them a little before the nuts work loose.
    They do not preach that His Pity allows them to drop their job when they damn-well choose.
    As in the thronged and the lighted ways, so in the dark and the desert they stand,
    Wary and watchful all their days that their brethren’s ways may be long in the land.

    Raise ye the stone or cleave the wood to make a path more fair or flat;
    Lo, it is black already with the blood some Son of Martha spilled for that!
    Not as a ladder from earth to Heaven, not as a witness to any creed,
    But simple service simply given to his own kind in their common need.

    And the Sons of Mary smile and are blessèd—they know the Angels are on their side.
    They know in them is the Grace confessèd, and for them are the Mercies multiplied.
    They sit at the feet—they hear the Word—they see how truly the Promise runs.
    They have cast their burden upon the Lord, and—the Lord He lays it on Martha’s Sons!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andrew, I’ve never read that poem before! It’s thought-provoking. I’m going to have to read it a couple more times, at least. I don’t want to be of the lineage of Martha’s sons (or daughters).

      I’m glad you’re learning to give yourself grace as you walk out your days. I’m praying for you, my friend.


  3. Words of truth, Jeanne! — Too often we turn the “should” on others. You said it: “God challenges me to give up my expectations of what others should be doing to come alongside me in the great plan. Instead, He’s teaching me to turn to Him.” Have a glorious weekend! #18 at FMF


    1. It’s true, Alice. And I’ve done that “turning” just like Martha. May we both be intentional about following God’s plan and being in a place of leaning on Him as we walk it out. 🙂 I Hope you have a great weekend too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think we all need to learn to be more like Mary at times. Just to be still. I love where you went with this post, friend. So much THIS: “But when we twist it up into what we think it should look like? We choke the life out of the inspiration the Master gives.” I’m in the 30 spot this week.


    1. I agree, Tara. We live in a Martha-driven society. When we live like Mary, choosing stillness, we’re much healthier, aren’t we? I hope you have a wonderful weekend!


  5. I love Martha so much, probably because I identify with her far more than with Mary. But… I’m learning to just be. To listen. To breath. And to remember that all my “shoulds” are taken care of. Thanks for this beautiful retelling, Jeanne!


    1. Loved this, Annie. All of our “should” are taken care of. What a great reminder that God provides for and guides us, especially when we’re listening. 😉 Have a great weekend!


  6. Jeanne, Great example of “should.” We tend to “should” on a lot of people (yes, I know how that sounds-The President of my denomination once made this declaration to our ministerium). “Isn’t it interesting how often we can get some great idea in our head, and it really is a good idea. But when we twist it up into what we think it should look like? We choke the life out of the inspiration the Master gives.” Yes!”


    1. You’re right, Stephanie. We do tend to “should” on people. My hope is that I/we can grow close enough with Jesus that when He shares an idea with me, I’m quick to ask Him about how He wants it done instead of rushing off to make it happen in my own strength. 🙂


  7. I was late getting my post done this week, just didn’t come to me until I remembered the greatest should… we do need to remember to be attentive to what God truly wants don’t we? Hard to do… but it turns out so much better when we do. 🙂


    1. You’re right, Annette, the greatest should. I can’t wait to drop by your place. I’m glad God is patient with us as we learn how to love Him well by listening to what He wants. It is always the best thing for us. Have a great weekend!


    1. I like that, Lynn. I agree. Life does feel like a constant readjustment. Just when I think I have my kids figured out they go and change. And I have to readjust to how I respond to them. And it’s like that in other areas of life too. Thanks for stopping by, friend!


  8. This is a really insightful take on “should,” I think. It strikes me that expectations are at the heart of much of our unrest and frustration in life — the assumption that circumstances or people *should* line up when we have something in mind that seems so right. But we need to grant other people the freedom we would want for ourselves, and let go of those expectations. Everybody’s on their own journey, and it may not be the same as ours. Thanks for writing this, Jeanne — I always appreciate your posts.


    1. Jeannie, thank you for the encouragement. I am noticing the truth of your words. Expectations do seem to be at the heart of so much unrest and frustration. I’m learning to release expectations, but I’m not always successful. Your words about remembering to give people the opportunity to live their journey the way God directs them is key, isn’t it? I’m so glad you shared your insights. Thank you!


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