Thursday, November 1, 2012

Great Expectations

It never gets old seeing their puzzled expressions.

The doorbell rings, I open the door and smile, and then proceed to reach for a tray of the most random and seemingly awful treats imaginable. This year’s assortment included a rotten onion and baby food. It’s always a little awkward holding the tray while the kids look at me like I’m an alien.

Meanwhile, Avery comes around the corner smiling and holding a mountain of sugary goodness. The kids breathe a sigh of relief, their smiles return, and all is right with the world again.

It’s no surprise that when a child approaches a door on Halloween night, proudly sporting their new costume they’ve been waiting weeks to wear, they expect one thing—sugar.
Anything less is a huge disappointment. Their expectations are pretty clear, and their faces are quick to communicate disappointment and confusion when their expectations aren’t met.

We all have certain expectations, and it’s probably safe to say we’ve all experienced the feelings of disappointment when our expectations aren’t met. Disappointment can either pass quickly, or it can settle in and crash on your heart’s couch for months or even years at a time.

I’ve been in a season lately where God has been dealing with me regarding expectations. This is something that I had given very little thought to in the past, but I have since learned the importance of intentionality in this area of life.

If expectations go unchecked, they can lead to disappointment, anger, a hardening of the heart, and separation from God. I know how easy it is to blame God when something doesn’t turn out the way I expected. It’s almost as if I silently hold on to a belief that He must act in accordance with my expectations. Not good.
Think about it…How easy is it to have misguided expectations towards your spouse , job, financial situation, children, friendships, etc. ? As humans, we expect happiness to come when certain physical circumstances come to pass. I’ll be happy when I have the perfect job. I’ll be happy when I get married. I’ll be happy when I’m not married. I’ll be happy when I have more stuff. What happens when these circumstances don’t come to pass and expectations aren’t met? God, where are you?!?!

I’m not advocating a life free of expectations—that would be a miserable existence. Faith involves expecting. I’m simply encouraging each of us to invite God into the process of evaluating our current expectations. It’s powerful to ask God to shape and form our expectations according to His word and His purposes. It’s freeing to keep open hands and an open heart towards whatever God wants to do.  To start each day with a blank canvas and allow Him to paint the picture and tell the story.
Then, we find ourselves expecting the unexpected. We discover how active, mysterious, and deeply good God is. Life becomes refreshing as we watch our cups overflow with His faithfulness.

When we let go of misguided expectations, we see Him coming around the corner.
Smiling and holding a mountain of goodness.

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