Expectations, Grace, Lisa Jordan

Expectations: Fear of Not Doing Enough

Inside of a small chapel sanctuary-peaceful

By Lisa Jordan

Once officials began putting precautions in place to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 virus, millions across the country found themselves working remotely from home, getting laid off, or sadly, losing their jobs all together, and becoming their children’s teachers. 

With many having unexpected time on their hands, people began making plans—projects around the house, losing weight, learning a new skill, or working toward making their dreams happen. And then they’d feel frustrated when they couldn’t get things accomplished. Time wasn’t an issue—emotional and mental cloudiness held them back.

A graph showing COVID19 facts and dates

I blame it on “pandemic brain.” 

Our thoughts have been consumed with conflicting news reports, rising statistics, and being thrust outside our comfort zones. So, it’s no wonder we haven’t been able to think and process clearly at times.

Recently, during a video chat with writers from my literary agency, one of my agency-mates, mentioned the phrase “pandemic fatigue.” As she talked about it, I nodded in understanding because I could see it happening with family and close friends.

Wooden stairs leading up a grassy hill

Pandemic fatigue is fueled by the fear of the unknown. If you’re suddenly unemployed, it may cause you to feel helpless. If you’re used to being around people and you’re suddenly in isolation, that can affect your emotional and mental health.

Fearing for your health or for loved ones can lead to anxiety. These are just a few factors that lead to a buildup in your mind and shift your thought processes into high gear. And all of those combined leads to a fatigued brain and body.

So, if you are struggling with pandemic fatigue, then it’s no wonder you’re struggling to get things done. And probably beating yourself up because you’re not getting as much done as you would like. Each of us processes these situations differently. 

A path with rocks and tree stumps that weaves between tall trees

I’m not a trained professional, and I don’t claim to have the answers, but I do have a few tips that could help.

  • Pray about it. There’s nothing too small or too great that we can lay at the foot of the cross. Jesus invites us to surrender our burdens to him. Not only will he carry them for us but he will help us get through them. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) reads,Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
  • Release your expectations to do more. Friends, we are living in difficult times. Why make your life even more difficult by adding more on your plate than your emotional and mental health can handle? Sure, you may have more time now and you may be able to handle it physically, but that doesn’t mean it is a requirement to get done. Focus on what you need to do for today. Keep it simple. Put away your growing to-do list of projects until you’re better equipped to handle them. 
  • Give yourself grace. This kind of goes along with my previous suggestion. You need to give yourself grace to be a “be-er” and not a doer. When your mind is consumed with what’s happening in the world today, it can affect you physically. We are entering a different kind of normal. Allow yourself to grieve the loss of your job, a loved one’s health, cancellation of summer and fall plans, and even the way things used to be. Be kind to yourself and know this season will pass.
A meme with the words: "Give yourself grace to be a 'be-er' and not a doer. ~Lisa Jordan" on a back drop with purple flowers and green grasses
  • Take baby steps forward. With states and counties releasing residents from our shelter-in-place orders, we need to be cautious but not fearful. But that looks different for every person. While I don’t mind a weekly in-store grocery run wearing my mask and using my hand sanitizer, others are continuing to order groceries online. Think about how your life will be affected by these changes and determine your best course of action. Take baby steps and focus on what works best for you and your family. If you’re continuing to struggle, seek professional help. God has gifted counselors with the skills to help you through these unprecedented times. 
  • Rest in God’s promises. No matter what we are going through in our lives, God is still in control. None of this has taken him by surprise so rest in his promises that he will see you through this difficult season. 
A small path leading between grasses and trees

As our country transitions into what may be a different kind of normal than what we are used to, breathe, keep your expectations in check, and lean into God. Find your rest in him and allow him to lead you through this dark valley and into the Sonshine.

What about you? How are you managing expectations during shelter-in-place? Are you struggling with pandemic fatigue? How are you working through it?

Click to Tweet: Why make your life even more difficult by adding more on your plate than your emotional and mental health can handle?

I’m linking up with #TellHisStory and #RaRaLinkup

Bio: Heart, home, and faith have always been important to Lisa Jordan, so writing stories with those elements come naturally. Represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary Management, Lisa is an award-winning author for Love Inspired, writing contemporary Christian romances that promise hope and happily ever after. Her latest book, Season of Hope, released in March 2019. She is the operations manager for Novel. Academy, powered by My Book Therapy. Happily married to her own real-life hero for over thirty years, Lisa and her husband have two grown sons. When she isn’t writing, Lisa enjoys family time, kayaking, good books, and being creative with words, fibers, and photos. Visit her at lisajordanbooks.com

32 thoughts on “Expectations: Fear of Not Doing Enough”

  1. Gettin’ on for goodbye. It’s been fun.

    I do not like to tell you,
    but you’ve got to hear this, friend;
    the battle will too soon be through,
    and I’m coming to the end.
    I’ve fought it all I damn well could,
    and further, yeah, than that,
    but things just now ain’t looking good
    and I must tell you flat
    that it has been privilege
    to know you through these vicious days,
    and now, upon this razor’s edge,
    I can but offer heartfelt praise
    to the God who’d not allow retreat
    so that, in this time, we could meet.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My situation may be different than most. I live in a small beach community which was decimated by Hurricane Michael. I was in the air on the way to a long anticipated trip to Israel when it hit. My sister stayed. No communication. Once I got word that they had survived it, my tour group found out that I was dealing with that, but being quiet about it, joined hands and prayed as we were coming into Jerusalem on the bus. Did an ugly cry that I had been holding back.

    I didn’t come back until a month later, as there was no power, water. My sister went through the worst of it. Her husband left. Abandoned at the worse possible time. Found another woman. After a year of blue tarps and deconstruction refuse liked along the roadsides, it is still decimated. Now it’s impossible to find an affordable place to live.

    My sister couldn’t stand another minute here, so she left and bought a house in our hometown in Georgia. She is happy and has a new beau, a sweet person who treats her well, as she always should have been. And she is 69 years old! There’s always someone for ya, I suppose, if you’re open to it!

    Don’t know exactly what I’m saying. I know our Lord is here. I appreciate every encouraging word.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Greetings… I seem to have been bumped off of the CTH site. Just trying to jump back in somewhere. I have a WordPress blog account that is not allowing me access. Help?

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  3. Thank you, Jeanne and Lisa, for sharing these thoughts which are wise and full of grace. I am so grateful that no matter what unfolds in the days ahead, our God is and always will be in control. In this I can rest and find my peace.

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  4. Thank you, Jeanne, for sharing Lisa’s thoughts with us.
    And we do need to give ourselves plenty of grace these days. My “pandemic brain” has lost its bearings in time, so I struggle to know the day of the week and things keep popping up on my calendar as a surprise!

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    1. Michelle, giving ourselves grace prevents the emotional bruising we may endure when we feel we have to do more and more but we have less and less to give. I hope things smooth out for you soon and your pandemic brain takes a break.

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  5. I’ve learned the importance of expectation fluidity 🤣. I’ve found the shelter-in-place time to be extremely productive, but what I expected my summer to look like has changed multiple times (and I struggle with having to change my expectations). I even had an ‘old lady tantrum’ last week when I discovered that the Canadian border wouldn’t open. But God is working with me and helping me through. I know his character is one thing that will never change!

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    1. Anita, I understand how you may be struggling with having to change your expectations. I, too, have had a couple of mental temper tantrums over closures and disappointments. But, through it all, God will help us work through those disappointments if we allow Him.

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    1. Jessica, thank you. Yes, we are dealing with so much already, so why subject ourselves to more stress when we did to show grace to ourselves during this time.

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  6. Jeanne, thank you for introducing us to Lisa. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. I am not familiar with the term “pandemic fatigue” but now that you have explained it, it sums up the feeling of fear and sadness mixed with confusion, anxiety, and even a little bit of boredom perfectly. God is with us, even in the midst of our pandemic fatigue. Thank you for the reminder.

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  7. I totally agree about “pandemic fatigue” and this is great advice! At the start of it all, I had all kinds of plans that I wanted to fulfil, but I’ve realised it’s not realistic just now. I’ve been working from home and I’ve found it much more tiring than usual and that I’ve not really had brain space for much else. Laying down my expectatons and just focussing on doing what I can has helped a lot.

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    1. Lesley, I’m so glad you were able to see you needed to lay down your expectations in order to focus on what you can. It’s so important to offer ourselves grace instead of stressing out about unmet expectations.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for this fresh insight, Lisa. I also had a hard time during many of these pandemic days finding it hard to focus, write, and complete tasks even with extra time to slow down and not be as busy in life as usual. So to label it “pandemic brain” and “pandemic fatigue” really registered with me. Resting in God’s promises and giving myself grace are the best ways I’ve overcome the struggle.

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    1. Karen, please forgive the very delayed response. I’ve grappled wtih the same things you describe…completing tasks even with “more time.” I’ve discovered it’s hard to complete things because I have many distractions around me all day long, normally in some form my sons bring. It’s essential to rest in God’ grace in this time, isn’t it?

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  9. Yes, please to releasing our perfectionistic over the top demands on ourselves. If we can’t lend ourselves grace and space, it’ll be hard to authentically offer this mercy to others.

    Super encouragement!

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    1. Amen, Linda. We must be able to give ourselves grace and space, especially when “life as we know it” has shifted beneath our feet. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom here!

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