top of page

Life without Expectations

I have been working on letting go of expectations for the last few years. But nothing has forced me to enjoy the process like the journey of a home educator, co-founder of a progressive school, and a momma.

photo by Aaron Burden

This work stems from a space of realizing how deeply woven my joy and happiness were to outcomes. I realized that I was so driven by deadlines, expectations, and goals that I felt deflated when I didn't achieve them, regardless of the beauty of the journey and process. The problem in this season is that rarely is a task finished; most likely, it's an ongoing to-do (in one way or the other).

One of the happiness study leaders confirmed this for me in a discussion on the "Diaries of a CEO" (below).

But even before I listened to this, it was something that I knew deep in my heart I had to do. I had to get to a place where the work is a daily flow more about the experience and learning vs. the expectation and the outcome. The daily rhythm is about sustainability. And so, with that said, we still complete projects, and I still have to-do lists, but I focus on being present in the task in front of me. What comes out of the work isn't my focus.

This is where Hope and Faith play significant roles in my life. It's funny because I used to look at the elders in the church, who would hope for the sweet by-and-by. We went to a small Pentecost church in the middle of Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati, and so many old ladies would bus in or have a relative drop them off. And they'd walk and talk so slowly with their formal outfits from decorative hats, stockings, and Kitten Heels. I couldn't understand the concept of hope being so strong that it gave joy in the midst of hardships and a tough daily grind. I couldn't even understand enduring pain, hardship, and hard work with a smile on my face. But I'm coming to an understanding of how we can lean into the faith and hope that God will work it all out for the greater good. The idea of not growing weary in doing good is becoming more understandable.


The "Soft" Life Pit:

I don't want to exaggerate; I still enjoy pleasure, softness, and sweet moments on earth. But as I've gotten older, and in the last few seasons, I have realized that aiming for a comfortable or easy life often leads to disappointment.

I also have deep concerns with the appeal of a consistent easy life and what this means for the labor of others and the work of liberation. I mean, let's be clear: someone is working hard in order to provide for a person a "soft and easy" life.

(Can a fight for justice, equity, and ending oppression & bloodshed be easy? Can we lead "soft" lives and also minimize the exploitation of land, human labor + suffering, and animal cruelty?)

But as discussed in my healing series, I've concluded in prayer that I'm created to do consistent hard work. So, while I love looking at soft life imagery and daydreaming of an effortless day, that's not what's in store for me this season. And so the more I've accepted this, the more I enjoy the process and find ease within the work. The more I let go of expectations, the more I am becoming a more joyful person.

I find myself waking up in the morning excited about the day in front of me. Even though that day in front of me often does not include a large segment of time dedicated to things that I would find pure pleasure in past seasons. Sitting with a warm cuppa tea, curriculum planning, and dreaming of lessons have become a delight. When I know I have an hour in store for fiddling with a website without a due date but with a goal in mind, I don't find myself in dread.

I've discovered that doing the work daily is beneficial for a "process" mentality. I have a weekly and daily rhythm that includes working (outside of my Sabbath). Every morning, I pray and ask the Lord to guide me, show me what I need to do, and help me have the obedience and discipline to move. And then I march on. I try not to think too hard about what I wish I was doing or look at the lives of others (in comparison). I just slowly live my life.

by Aaron Burden


Rest & Deschooling:

Before this season, I saw rest as something that happens after you work. My dad's words were always clear: work hard so you can play hard. And he is right in so many ways. Once the day's work was completed, then you could play. But now, because it's all a "streaming process," my play or my rest can happen whenever needed. Sometimes, the rest comes within the work itself. And other times, I have to stop working and just sit quietly. I try not to stimulate myself during breaks, i.e., picking up my phone and mindlessly scrolling. But instead, when I need a break, I genuinely take one. Allowing myself a quiet respite; if all I need is that moment - I take it. If I need a phone call, a conversation, a moment out of the house, or a snack - I enjoy it. And then, when I've gotten what I need, I return to whatever task calls my name.

This process began permeating my educator and mothering journey in a very deschooling and reprogramming way. We are lifelong learners and wanderers. So, I create a curriculum that gives our boys the "best" education we can imagine and dream about. We work hard daily, and once we master a concept, we go deeper. We don't push through anything in a mad frenzy to get to a destination (a grade, grade level, or the next subject, etc.); we simply enjoy good books, answer deep questions, solve math riddles & puzzles, and learn about ourselves, the world, and others.

Clearly, this isn't a new theory or something I invented; this has been a way of life for the people before me. Heck, my business partner, Ashley & I joke about "the nonstop work" all the time. But it is a mind shift that has provided me with so much contentment and joy in this season, that I hope it blesses you.

Shalom & Polepole,



Recent Posts

See All


Feb 11

Amen!!!!! That scripture has been holding me down in this season and this morning I absolutely surrender to it! Thank you for your comment, mom ❤️


Shelby, there is a season for everything!! As I have matured, I've come to appreciate the great mysteries of living life!!!! One epiphany is you have to play the game everyday. Only after you have played (as best as you can ) will you understand it. Key is you have play!!!

Feb 11
Replying to

Amen! Love this, thank you for your comment, dad ❤️


Love this flow! What you are identifying is an order to your "freedom flow"! It sounds like you identified what a day looks like for you without the anxiety of "deadlines" and a "dictated" road map to success. "My burdens are light and my yoke is easy" thank you Lord!💝

bottom of page