Today, over one hundred women will gather at the “Unchained” retreat hosted by Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry. Vicky Courtney will talk to us about breaking free from our expectations. In preparation, I have been thinking about how my expectations have caused issues in my life…
Several years ago, we took a Spring break vacation to the Oregon coast. It was a six or seven hour drive from where we lived. I was itching to get out of town so we could start our vacation. (Although, I’m not sure how much vacation happens on a road trip with kids aged 3 months, 4 years, and 7 years!!) The night before we left, my husband reminded me that we were on VACATION and that he wanted to sleep in and get on the road at a leisurely pace. This rubbed my ”git-‘er-done” mindset the wrong way. In my mind, vacation didn’t start until we were out of town. In his mind, vacation started the night before when he got off work.
When my husband voiced his expectations, it gave me the chance to get my expectations readjusted. There was nothing wrong with getting on road leisurely. There was nothing wrong with getting on the road at the crack of dawn. However, the problems would have been HUGE if we had not aligned our expectations about the first morning of our vacation. He would have been mad at me for nagging him to get up and leave the house. I would have been mad at him for dragging his feet and stalling MY vacation. Now, that would have been a greatway to start our spring break…..sarcasm intended. Instead, we adjusted to each other’s expectations. He didn’t drag his feet in the morning, and I didn’t try to get him up too early. Crisis averted!!
How many times do find ourselves at odds with God because of our faulty expectations?
My expectations for life are:
· Health for our family
· Rewarding marriage
· Smart, hard-working, happy children
· Financial security
· Satisfaction with daily life
· Good friends
The Father’s expectations for my life look a bit different:
· Become more like Jesus
· Give up my “life” to find His LIFE
· Love God
· Love others
· Provide for the poor
· Bring God’s healing to others
Wow! The two lists look quite different!! Honestly, my list looks much more attractive, but if that is what I focus on, I only end up frustrated when my expectations don’t come to pass.
“And why worry about your clothes? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t he more surely care for you? You have so little faith!”
“So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” –Matthew 6:28-33 (NLT)
So…if I put aside MY expectations and focus on God’s expectations…I’ll get both? Maybe not, but focusing on God’s expectations will bring me peace and blessings I never could have imagined! We all want happiness, peace, and fulfillment, but most of us take the wrong road to get there. The road of our own design will only lead to heartache. Walking the narrow path with God might force us to give up some of the things we thought wanted, but we will get so much back in return.
“Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who despise their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” –John 12:25 (NLT)
How do we apply this? (I’m talking more to myself than to anyone else!)
Hold your expectations loosely. Release them into God’s hands.
Focus on what He wants. Devote yourself to His priorities.
He will take care of everything else. It will be hard to let go, but it is worth it.
The Father is completely trustworthy.