The joke is told of the young couple who entered into their marriage looking for the ideal, discovered it was an ordeal and ended up wanting a new deal. Unfortunately whether it is a relationship, a job, a home, a purchase or some project, all too often our pursuit of the ideal can end up just like this marriage – becoming an ordeal in search of a new deal. It is this common pattern of regression, from ideal to ordeal, that produces so many unfulfilled expectations in our lives.
Sadly, unfulfilled expectations are toxic to faith and idealism. They tempt us to give up on our ideals and to stop dreaming. In the process they discourage us from hope and perseverance, in making a better life for ourselves and for those we love.
Here are three ways to keep your pursuit of the ideal from becoming an ordeal. They are based on biblical principles from the teachings of Jesus.