Holding on to our expectations can create a division. God wants us to go after the purpose He created us to be. But when we put pressure to compete with the rules and boundaries we create, it can exhaust us and push God aside.
Releasing Your Expectations into God’s Hands
Life always seems to give us lemons. Most say when lemons appear, it makes for a great opportunity to create lemonade. I often wish I could pivot my plans with quickness and clarity, like these expert lemonade makers.
There was a time when planning ruled my day-to-day. Okay, it still frequently runs my days if I am not careful. I love checking boxes off my to-do lists. But back then, if it wasn’t written down on my calendar, then… “Nope, sorry! It wasn’t happening.”
Coming from a career as an emergency room RN, one would think I would be energetic to pivot. Don’t get me wrong, in any state of an emergency, I could put any project, I mean patient, on pause and redirect my priorities. However, when life switched gears, instead of focusing my mind on a singular priority, I would place more things on my already crammed to-do list.
Hmmm. You tell me, overachiever or crazed lunatic?
I say yes, and yes!
My husband travels frequently for work. He places no pressure on me to accomplish tasks around the house when he is gone. Yet, somehow I create these huge and unobtainable expectations during the weeks he is gone.
Instead of just focusing on writing, website projects, and taking care of the kids, I will often pull stunts like doing the laundry (which we do on the weekends), stripping the beds, and deep cleaning things that don’t need it.
By the time my husband comes home, I am exhausted, spent, and no good to anyone. You may be raising your hand in agreement or you could be shaking your head in disbelief.
In the stress of his absences, or in fact any stressor, I take action. I extend my own expectations and believe they will help calm my soul. When they, in fact, cause more heartache.
Staying busy keeps my mind distracted from stress, yet it buries me deeper into creating expectations I can’t possibly meet. Here is to missing out on my original assignment – showing up without conclusions.
Expectations keep us away
If we look back to the Bible, we can find many people (uh, um the disciples) who tried often to impart their ideas of measuring up. Leading Jesus, to give them and us humbled advice.
The twelve who journeyed alongside Jesus The Christ, conjointly drew on their own expectations. In Mark 9:33-37, we find the disciples arguing with each other over who is the greatest. This argument, no doubt, may have stemmed from Peter, James, and John, who, a few paragraphs before, just witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration.
Secretively, if I had the pleasure of being part of Jesus’ magnificent reveal of His divine nature, I am pretty sure I would be singling myself out as special too.
From two thousand years ago, to the present day, we can certainly relate. Who wouldn’t want to be called “the best”, “the greatest”, or “loved by Christ more?” Even our expectations form from our internal model to be acknowledged for our personal works.
Now we know John, Peter, and James were closest to Jesus. Was John simply pointing out that he was loved more than the others, or was he exulting his identity as being loved by Christ?
I chuckle every time I come across John’s words. “Okay, we got it! You are loved by Christ.”
However, the Lord presents us with a different outcome
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)
How many times do we get caught up in a constant struggle for personal success? Sometimes we have our minds so fixed on what we’re expecting that we can’t see the truth of Jesus right in front of us.
Real leadership doesn’t come when we are self-serving to acknowledge our credentials, it comes from serving others.
Pride, fear, and worry can cause us to overvalue our position. Pushing to be the best, can effortlessly drive Jesus to the side. The sin in our hearts can innately rule over our vision if we are not careful.
Giving up our expectations
We can strive for our ideas of perfection, which by the way is subjective to every individual, or we can live for Christ today. What I may see as perfect you may see as incomplete. When we walk in accordance with the word of God, faithfully being obedient, He will lead the way.
King Solomon, the son of King David, and known for his gift of wisdom and wealth, said these profound words;
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”Proverbs 19:21
After striving to have it all, Solomon came to the conclusion (in the book Ecclesiastes) that going after goods and personal gain was meaningless. He was not trying to destroy our hope, but direct our hopes to the only one who could perfectly fulfill them.
LET’S PRAY TOGETHER
Dear Heavenly Father,
Please forgive us for striving for our ways and not yours. We thank you for your mercies are new every single day. Help us to acknowledge you first in everything we do. We want to be servants of your words and not slaves to self-promotion. Give us the ability to recognize when we are veering off course. Help us to be more like You, so that we may bring others to Christ.
All this we ask in your precious and Holy name, Jesus. – Amen!
Read More on Jen Schreiner
- How to Get Closer to God When You’re Feeling Distant
- God Rejoices When We Pray – The Power of Prayer
- When God’s Timing is Taking Too Long
- Finding Unshakable Hope in the Waiting
- Releasing Your Expectations into God’s Hands