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Balance Your Expectations with Grace
By Victoria Osteen - Apr 29, 2010
One thing I've learned is that in order to make the most of our relationships, we have to balance our expectations of others with God's grace. In other words, we have to allow others to be who they are, even if it's not the way we want them to be. You may think you have the perfect solution for someone else's issue, and because you only want the best for them, you feel justified in telling them so. However, don't fall into the trap of feeling that you need to get your point across or teach a life lesson in every conversation.

One of my friends, Katherine, was in her late twenties when her younger sister came to live with her fresh out of college. Katherine made some mistakes early in her life and wanted to make sure her younger sister didn't follow the same path. She wanted to help equip her baby sister for life as best she could, so she was constantly trying to show her the right way to go. The two had a great relationship, but the younger sister started feeling like she had a second mother. She felt like she couldn't do anything right because the older sister was constantly "showing her a better way."

One day Katherine came home to find her younger sister in tears. "What's wrong," asked Katherine. Her sister looked at her and through her sobs said, "I feel like I can't do anything right. My whole life is one big mistake!" At that moment, Katherine realized she had been too hard on her sister. She reached out and hugged her apologizing for trying so hard to "help" her. Years later, they were able to laugh about it because, ironically, the younger sister caught herself approaching her young niece the same way!

The truth is we have all been guilty of trying to fix those around us. In fact, my mother used to say, "If I could open up your head and pour my knowledge into it, I would." But she couldn't and neither can I … and neither can you! We have to learn to give others the grace and space to learn on their own. No one wants to hear "I told you so" or be reminded that "You could have done it better if only you had listened to me."

I encourage you today to balance grace and truth. Allow others to make their own choices, even if they're not what you would choose. Remember, the Bible tells us that love covers all; and in relationships, love and acceptance are what build the bridges between our hearts.
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