Keeping Up with the Unrealistic

Lysa TerKeurst hurt my feelings. Oh yes she did.  And the Invisible Me actually slapped her. She didn't do it in a fifth-grade-mean-girl-way. But she stepped on every last nerve I had and now my heart is soft and I've cried most of the day. Thankyouverymuch, Lysa. I wasn't even wearing waterproof mascara. Way to go. 

On a recent family vacation I took along her book, The Best Yes, to read in the car. (I'd highly recommend it for any woman who is breathing.) It was a message I knew I needed to hear.  Skipping across her words about the dangers of saying yes to everything that comes my way, I received her gentle warnings and instruction with ease.  Then she did something that made me consider throwing that adorable book cover out the window to its destructive death along Interstate-70. 

She said "You won't ever be able to keep up with unrealistic." 

How dare she.   

The context was in regard to trying to please other people.  I read that section a couple of times until I felt the familiar, gentle nudge of the Spirit tell me "And Kim, YOU won't ever be able to keep with unrealistic either." That's when my perfectly applied mascara went awry.  I work very hard at keeping up with unrealistic. In fact, I wear myself out.

Boy, oh boy. That hurt. It hurt because I needed to hear it, in the same way an alcoholic needs to be told they need help.  I'm a pretty typical firstborn, complete with self-confidence, a love of structured routine, leadership and determination to get things done.  I also have a big need to please people and a huge fear of failure. Wow, don't I sound so laid back and relaxed?  Unfortunately, those things spin together to weave a tapestry of unrealistic expectations.  And I impose them on myself and others, albeit silently. Oh, and let me add...I sometimes offer little or no grace when a human falls short. Now, who wants to be my friend?! 

I have unrealistic expectations for my housekeeping, my cooking and my parenting.

I have unrealistic expectations for my husband, for my children, for my friends.

I have unrealistic expectations about what I can commit to, get done and emotionally handle.

Having high expectations is not the same as having unrealistic expectations. One gently pushes you toward greatness. The other pushes you toward insanity. I had ignored the difference

This familiar scripture comes to mind. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 

I’d like a little of His sufficient grace to fill in all the gaps left from me trying to be perfect, and consequently demanding this of others. Sign me up for some of Christ's power restin’ on me! 

It's a new season, and a good time to chill out on punishing people and myself for not living up to my unrealistic expectations.  How about you? Are you trying to keep up with unrealistic?  Like me, have you inadvertently punished the ones you love for not being perfect or berated yourself for not being super human?

I need to submit my sin of trying to keep up with unrealistic to God and let Him heal my heart.  For the sake of my call to Christ and for the ones I love.  And maybe so I can go back to liking Lysa Terkeurst again...

About Kim Heinecke   Read more by this author...

Kim Heinecke wants to live in a world where children listen to the advice of their mothers without question. As a former single mom she’s been encouraging women using her life experiences in parenting, growing in the Word of God and everything in between. When she’s not negotiating with a teenager or wrestling a pre-schooler, you can find her camping in the family RV or pretending to understand sports with her husband and four sons. Read more from Kim at

Recent Articles

5 Ways To Press On After Failure

There are moments in our life where we’ve all experienced the disappointment or pain from our poor choices or things we’ve done. Maybe we pursued our dreams, but they now lay shattered on the floor. When we mess up it’s hard to forgive ourselves and overcome the guilt or face the ones our actions impacted.

Read More

God, My Husband - Living Single

As single women we deal with a unique set of circumstances and challenges. Although there are pros to living single, the other side is overwhelming. It’s easy to list all the great benefits, but within singleness resides difficult situations that tend to wear on our daily life.

Read More

For Such A Time As This

Have you ever been a bit fearful about the kind of world your children are growing up in? Have you ever felt inadequate in how to parent them to set them up for success? “HAVING” kids is wonderful, but “RAISING” them is where it gets difficult.

Read More