Monday, March 30, 2015

Expectations Kill

Have you ever had expectations of how something would go...and it didn't?  At the very least, it can be frustrating because things didn't go the way you expected.  Or it can be disillusioning to the point of completely altering your life.

I recently heard some young mothers talking about their pregnancies.  They had expectations of how it was going to be.  They were going to be excited, chart each change with photos, love their expanding belly and feeling that baby move, and just filled with wonder.  Instead, they experienced morning sickness (all day) for nine months.  They felt sick, bloated, depressed, and wondered where the wonder was.

I've also counseled many young women who came into marriage with the expectation that their husband was supposed to do something and then were highly disappointed when they didn't.  It doesn't even matter what the "supposed to do" was, really.  When you have an expectation (which can even be taught at a marriage conference or retreat you're both attending), it can be a killer for your marriage.  The enemy knows how to set you up.

Expectations set us up for disappointment...and even failure.  But how do we avoid it?  It's like (most of) our hearts are set up and wired for success, hope, and fulfillment.  We want to believe everything is going to be perfect.  But David even instructed his soul in Psalm 62:5, "My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him."  David must have had the same problem, but he'd learned the solution--to put his expectations in God!  There's a fine line between faith and expectations.  Faith is taking God at His Word...believing He'll do what He's said He'll do.  Expectations are determining for yourself the way you think things should be...and expecting it to turn out that way.  And that can set you up for failure.

The people around Jesus had expectations.  They'd decided in their own minds that Jesus was coming as a King to deliver them politically--maybe even by a revolution.  But that didn't happen.  Instead, Jesus died.  And they were totally disillusioned, confused, disappointed--their hope was dead.  Was it because Jesus didn't tell them why he'd come?  No.  He'd told them over and over.  But their expectations didn't give them room to truly receive what he was saying.

It's imperative that we die to our expectations---of ourselves, of others, and especially of God.  Instead, we need to be listening.  Listen to what others are telling you about themselves--and believe them.  But we especially need to hear what God says--and put our faith in that.  Die to your expectations...instead of letting expectations kill your hope, your joy, your future.

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