Throughout life we face many challenges and expectations.
As a baby we’re expected to start walking before our first birthday, as teenagers we’re expected to pass our GCSEs and pass our driving test – first time!
These can become some of the many difficult challenges we go through.
In adult life, we’re expected to play a key role in the upkeep of our family.
We’re challenged to give our children a better start in life than we had, remembering that we probably had a better start in life than our parents. It’s one of the ways that our society can continue to progress.
It all sounds very positive and encouraging and yet, at the same time, can create some enormous pressures on us to succeed – which can often be unrealistic.
We all face challenges in our lives and they can be healthy, helping us to gain experience and mature, it’s the criticisms that can be destructive and make us lose our self esteem.
In my athletics career, I was expected to win the Nottingham Marathon and the pressure to do so was really intense.
I didn’t win, in fact I only came fifth, which at the time was a failure, though in hindsight it wasn’t too bad.
But the expectations placed on me by my fellow athletes and the press made me think that I had failed.
So what is success and what is failure – who measures and determines it?
It might be our boss, our school teacher, our peers, our partners - they can have a direct influence on us whether it is a positive or a negative one.
I do believe that at times perhaps our biggest critic is ourselves and we can be guilty of placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves that might end up being very destructive.
It’s the desire to achieve, over achieve to become super humans. But I don’t think that God wants us to be super humans.
I believe that what God wants from us is to become the person that he created us to be, that we fulfil the potential he put into us and utilise the gifts that he has given us.