After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect in your own human effort? Galatians 3:3, NLT.
I thought today we could have a little talk about expectations. The great ones. The not-so-great ones. And the really wacky ones, too.
Because we all do it. Create some crazy expectations, I mean. Not only do we place them on ourselves, but we place them on others, too, even without their knowledge! Sometimes people put them on us, as well. And the end result just never is a good one when we do that, is it?
Holley Gerth writes about expectations in her book, You’re Already Amazing. She says,
“Expectations are laws we place on ourselves and each other. Yep. Laws. And expectation equals ‘You must do X or you will be punished in some way.’ Oh , the punishment might be subtle – rejection, guilt we lay on our shoulders, a look across the room that lets us know we didn’t measure up. No one is going to throw us in jail. But consequences of the heart can seem even more frightening.” Holley Gerth, You’re Already Amazing, copyright 2012.
You know what she’s talking about, right? It’s like expecting yourself to plan the perfect party and even though you just feel too burnt out to do it, you end up doing it anyway because you “always” have and you’re afraid of disappointing others if you don’t. And the sad result is that you miss a million little things at home and your family suffers because of it and you can see it in how they look at you…
Or you expect that your husband can read your mind and that this year, for your birthday, he’s going to get you that beautiful handbag you’ve been eyeing in a local boutique window. Only you never told him about it. So you get an umbrella and an iron instead because he thought that’s what you needed. And your heart hurts because you think he just doesn’t know you like you know him so you give him a little bit of the cold shoulder treatment…
I could go on and on here, but you get my point.
Thankfully, there are scriptures that gives me great hope in times of failed expectations. Check them out and see if they don’t just give you a little lift, too:
Jesus looked at them and said, “With human beings this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26, TNIV).
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13, NKJV).
You see, here’s the difference: YOU put those expectations on yourself and on others. God didn’t. We know from Matthew 11:28-30 that Jesus promises to never put anything “heavy” on us.
And we know from another scripture verse that God only expects three things from us: to do what’s right through self-control from the Holy Spirit, to treat others like we want to be treated, and to be humble as we walk with Him without taking ourselves so seriously! (Micah 6:8) That’s it!
Any expectation placed on us BY GOD always comes with the assurance that we are not expected to complete it alone, without His guidance and support. Scripture is very clear on that!
And, if He wants it to get done, it’s gonna get done, honey:
The LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.” (Isaiah 14:24, TNIV).
This TRUTH frees us up from the “expectation-chain-gang” and grants us peace. GOD’S peace, not just a little respite from the “chaos of daily life” kind of peace. We’re talking “everlasting life, secure-in-Him-no-matter-what-is-happening-around-us kind of peace”! Can you even imagine being so free to feel that?! Isn’t that what we crave?!
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV
He wants nothing more than to displace worry at the center of our lives (Philippians 4:6-7)! Because THEN, sisters, THEN we get down to the business of HIS expectations for our lives, not our own! And that’s a lot more life-giving than trying to live up to the expectations (real or perceived) of this world!
Life events will come and go whether they “live up to” all the expectations others associate with them or not. Why not spend the time enjoying the them as they happen instead of holding onto expectations out of the fear of not meeting up to your skewed sense of what ought to be?
Let. Them. Go. You have His permission.
Love all. Please One.
Let’s make that our new motto. Who’s with me?
Now THAT is a Best Yes Decision!
And speaking of The Best Yes, next week is a “catch up” week! So spend the next week making sure you’ve read through chapter 15 in the main book. If you are also doing the study guide, you should be through session 5 by this time next week!
I hope and pray you all have enjoyed a spring break of some kind or another, and that you had a most blessed Easter with those you love! See you here next week, sweet friends!
Peace, love, and joy!
Up Next Week: Word to the Wise (or NOT so wise) About Boundaries