I’ve heard it said that expectations are premeditated disappointments; or premeditated resentments. It wasn’t my intention when I set out, but I just proved that statement true!
We were Christmas shopping and I had a definite plan of what I wanted for someone, where I’d find it and how much it would cost. Although my ever patient husband suggested we look in other stores, I refused. I was so sure of myself that the other shopping was done first and this item left to the end.
I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this. When I came to the designated store, they didn’t have what I was looking for. I was frustrated and knew I’d have to start all over again. This meant going back to stores I’d passed by earlier. My expectations had caused unnecessary stress.
When I finally entered one store with an open mind, the number of options surprised me. My only difficulty was narrowing down the choices.
I’d like to tell you that this is the only time expectations have caused me trouble, but that wouldn’t be the truth. In all areas of my life when I set expectations on how something has to be done or how it needs to turn out, I’m facing the risk of disappointment. This is not to say that I should never have a plan, only that I need to remain flexible and open to other options. Sometimes the best solution is something I would never have thought of.
“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.” Michael J. Fox
Our church has started using two different bulletin covers each Sunday. I was greeting and handing out bulletins when one woman noticed the two covers. With confusion in her voice she asked, “Do we have more than one bulletin today?”
I explained that although the covers were different the insides were the same. Then I added, “Just like people.”
People come in all shapes, sizes and colours. No two are exactly the same. Even identical twins have subtle differences in their appearance.
On the inside we are basically the same. Each one of us wants love, acceptance and a feeling of belonging. Fear, loneliness and illness can alter our outward appearance. The face we present to the word is not always inviting.
When I am feeling ‘less than’ I tend to withdraw from contact with others. It may seem to you that I am aloof, hostile or grouchy. The truth is I want love and acceptance but don’t know how to ask for it. It’s easier to keep my distance than to be vulnerable and risk rejection. I end up creating the opposite of what I most desire.
Jesus knows my thoughts and needs even when I’m unable to express them. Before I call his name, he’s there for me. He doesn’t necessarily give me what I want but it is always what’s best for me. The everlasting love of Jesus means I am accepted unconditionally and never rejected or alone.
The LORD is near to those whose hearts are humble. He saves those whose spirits are crushed. (Psalm 34:18 GWT)
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! (Psalm 139:177-18 NLT)
The date was May 3rd. I was attending a weekend retreat. When I looked out of my window in the morning I was greeted by the beauty of snow-covered evergreen trees. The snow, soft and gentle, continued throughout the day.
While this is not typical weather for this time of year in Central Alberta, it was no use being upset. There was nothing I could do to change it, so instead I chose acceptance. Mid-afternoon I decided to embrace the weather and went for a walk in the beautiful surroundings, enjoying the peace as the snow covered everything under a blanket of white.
There was a deeper lesson for me here. My life does not always go the way I had envisioned it. Sometimes the sun I long for disappears for a time. I can grumble and complain but the only thing that will accomplish, is to make me feel worse. What I need to do is not only accept my situation, but to make the best of it. God is always watching over me. Nothing I go through is a surprise to him. When I willingly leave it all in God’s hands, acceptance comes easier. He is able to make everything work for his good.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV