Un-word 2014: Expectations

paris cafe via kimberlyanncoyle.com

I wrote about my word for the year here, but a few days after posting it, I came across a few writers who decided to not only embrace a word, but give up a word for the year too. Receiving a word is great, but releasing a word is even better. My un-word for this year? Expectations.

I have great expectations, grand ones, expectations that pedestal people and churches and locations and writing communities and my own talents and gifts to such a high and lofty position, that they can do nothing but strive for perfection and inevitably fail. This year, I intend to give everyone, including myself, a break. I aim to settle for progress rather than perfection. This is where expectations and intentionality meet for coffee and hash this year out over a cuppa and a croissant.

I will never write the perfect sentence, or post, or book. But, I will write something. I will set aside time to practice this craft and this art because it is as vital to me as breathing air, whether ten people or ten thousand read it.

I will never find all of Jesus at church. But, I will find Him in the scriptures, in your prayers, and in my own. I will seek Him in every psalm and every hastily uttered prayer, and I shall find Him there too.

eiffel tower via kimberlyanncoyle.com

My husband’s job will not relocate us to Paris, and I won’t spend my days perfecting the classic red lip and rolling my r’s in conversation. I may not haunt the halls of the Louvre, but I will learn French and I will lavish myself with books on art. My photo of the Eiffel tower will grace the living room wall because honestly, that’s as close as I’m going to get.

And perhaps, most importantly, I will never have the perfect bikini body. Three kids, a penchant for cheese, and the soft ticks of time on my skin make sure of that. Can I release us all from that expectation today? However, I intend to make progress. I will run and practice pilates, and I’ll wear the bikini regardless because why the heck not?

Somewhere along the way, I gathered expectations for a life that doesn’t really resemble the one I currently live, and my goal is to make the ends meet, to decide how I want my life to look over the coming year, and make intentional decisions to bring that vision to life. I’ve never done this before, perhaps because I lived in a fantasy world in which the view outside my home resembled a post card, I pretended cheese didn’t really contain calories, and I never had to pay the mortgage (Oh, Switzerland, you with your mountain views and your ex-pat perks. I miss you.) This is real life, right here in suburban New Jersey with the mortgage and the slushy snow, the old friends and family nearby. The dog still curls at my feet and the shelves are still lined with my books and my family of five still need to eat dinner every night.  Some things will change, and others will stay the same. Expectations, I release you. Intentions, refill your cup. We’ve got imperfect, but important, work to do.


I’m linking up with Edie and friends to talk about Un-word 2014. Do you have a word you’re giving up?


  • Michael

    Love it! So true and well written… progress; not perfection.

  • Chance

    Oh my goodness. I love this! I too love Paris from afar…and I too need to embrace progress not perfection. We can do that together. 🙂

    • KimberlyCoyle

      It’s easy to love Paris from afar, loving NJ up close is the tricky bit;) Thanks so much for reading!

  • Anne

    Beautifully written! I, too, need to let all the expectations go and just enjoy what is right in front of me. I really enjoyed your un-word and your post! Blessings to you!

    • KimberlyCoyle

      Thanks, Anne. So glad you stopped by!

  • LOVE your word! With this un-word thing I cooked up, I am discovering that we all are struggling with the same things. SO refreshing! Thank you for joining the linky party!!

    • KimberlyCoyle

      It’s a brilliant idea! Life changing, really. Thanks so much for offering your idea to the rest of us:)

  • Lauren Lawrence

    This…this really makes me WANT to do this. My word for the year, my attempt at a word at least, is humble. And now, in the spirit of the un-word, I will not EXPECT myself to always be perfectly humble. Thank you for this!

  • Mick Silva

    Okay, now you’re talking. I can get with this idea. Thanks, Kimberly (and Darlene!). Love your “soft focus” too–full of grace.

    • KimberlyCoyle

      Such a great idea! What’s your un-word, Mick?

  • Andrea Frazer

    I LOVE your stuff. I just do! I was just talking about letting go of expectations myself. Can I ask you, though: Why let go of Paris? Can’t you plan a trip? Get a Pinterest account on it? Dream big! Meet some amazing christian bloggers there! Do it!

    • KimberlyCoyle

      Thanks so much for the encouragement, Andrea:) I’ve been to Paris many times when we lived abroad, but I suppose what I’m giving up on is the idea that I may someday live there (you never know!), or at the least, that I can pop over for a quick weekend. Sigh. Much easier when you live in Europe!

  • Guest

    That is a good idea of doing away with.

    In terms of expectations I think expectations often serve to trip up relationships too. Unmet expectations lead to discord and often they are not even known. They should be discussed to help each other build a better relationship.

    Your comments reminded of a song by Out of The Grey called So We Never Got To Paris I loved years ago that had a great message about not reaching your expectations and it was all ok. Here it is:

  • Guest

    I think that is a great idea about letting go of a word.

    Unmet expectations cause a lot of problems in our lives and in our relationships. In relationships expectations need to be discussed and often to help build the relationship.

    Your post reminded me of a song I loved years ago that talked about unmet expectations and it was ok. Interestingly it was called We May Never Get to Paris by Out of the Grey.

  • Mark Allman

    Great idea about doing away with a word and expectations is a great one to do away with.

    Unmet expectations hurt not only ourselves but our relationships as well. In relationships it is so valuable to talk to one another about expectations and to get understanding around them.

    You post reminded me of a song I loved years ago that was about unmet expectations but that was ok in terms of all the blessings they really had. Interestingly it was called So We Never Get To Paris by Out of The Grey.

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